Turtlenecks, turbans, orange lipsticks, tattoos, freckles, long grey breads—all of these converge in “Beautiful Strangers”, London-based Peter Zelewski’s stunning series on the people of his city. Capturing a variety of individuals at their most natural and confident, the photographer has put together a collection that will particularly appeal to lovers of portraiture and social anthropology enthusiasts.
Peter writes: “Motivated by my love of London and its people, I spent over five years taking photographs of strangers throughout the city. This collection of 100 portraits is accompanied by intimate quotes and is a celebration of the diversity and spirit of one of the world’s most dynamic cities.”
Peter explored every corner of the capital, meeting Londoners from Holloway to Holland Park, from Brixton to Brick Lane and from Hackney to Hammersmith. The aim of the project is to challenge the concept of traditional beauty by showing real characters, from a mixture of ethnicities, cultures and styles who display a certain uniqueness, personality and individuality.
The eclectic mix of 100 portraits displayed in the book includes Buskers, Tailors, Artists, Musicians and Students all giving their intimate thoughts on London, on life and everything in-between. The project embodies the spirit of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s #LondonIsOpen campaign that was launched after the EU referendum. The mayor announced:
We don’t simply tolerate each other’s differences, we celebrate them. Many people from all over the globe live and work here, contributing to every aspect of life in our city. We now need to make sure that people across London, and the globe, hear that #LondonIsOpen. I urge everyone to get involved with this simple but powerful campaign to send a positive message to the world.
Peter Zelewski was born in Detroit, Michigan, and moved to London in the 1980s, where he studied at the London College of Communication (LCC). His work has been featured in The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Evening Standard, Huck, Time Out, Stylist, Vogue Living and We Heart. In 2015, he was awarded third prize in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Check out two other projects by Peter: ‘Alike But Not Alike’ and ‘People of Soho’.
Images used with permission.