Ghosts of Christmas Past


The abandoned trees of Hackney and Islington


The dawn of a new year is a curious time in a city like London. The streets are unusually quiet, and the pace of life seems to slow to a degree otherwise unknown. Professionally, this time of year is unique for a photographer — often a dead zone between the race-to-the-finish deadlines of December, and the fresh tide of projects that arrive as winter recedes.

I took to walking the streets of Hackney and Islington a great deal in the first weeks of 2020, and was drawn to the huge numbers of Christmas Trees I would see appearing, daily, along my regular routes. In them I found no small amount of character — some carelessly abandoned, utterly adrift; others seeming to hide from onlookers, and yet more appeared to huddle together for warmth or companionship.

The photographs in this project are but a small taste of the trees I encountered, themselves barely a drop in the bucket of the some 8 million we buy as a nation each year. They are the dying embers of a season that builds for months and passes in days. They are faded memories. They are ghosts.

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