Gianluca Calise

Gianluca Calise is an Italian documentary photographer. He developed his passion for photography during the ‘70s when his grandfather gifted him with his own old Kodak camera. Following a Master Degree in Economics he turned to photography in 2013, after moving to London, where he took a foundation diploma. He refined his studies at the International Center of Photography in New York and at Central Saint Martins in London and in a number of workshops and seminars around Europe. He developed a personal narrative style by mixing landscape and street photography and applying a fine art approach. He loves representing social issues in long-term projects. Some of his work has been published and exhibited internationally and he currently lives and works in London.

The City view from Primorose Hill, Camden, September 2016

Newbury Park, Redbridge, April 2016

Cunning Town, Newham, March 2017

Utopia ending

I came back to live in London after many years. Despite the uncertainty of the Brexit, the City is changing. Cranes, indicating a new real estate development, are everywhere. A repetitive architecture denotes new residential districts ready to show. It is hard for me to recognize the places where I spent my youth, with the typical bricks and mortar houses and the tall social housing buildings, symbolizing the ideal, or, better, the utopia, of an egalitarian city, assuring home to the working class and integration to immigrants. This ideal was the founding principle of the London expansion occurred after the war and terminated during the ‘70s, when, after the war destructions, housing was the main issue to cope with to receive the growing immigration coming to work in London.

The City is currently experiencing a significant expansion comparable with that after the war, but, differently from the past, new homes are for investors’ trading and not for people. Global investors fund new developments, often leaving them vacant, and wait for the price rising in order to sell to other investors. In this way pushing housing cost to incredibly high levels, and preventing the working class from buying a house. Since investments in social housing have been almost eradicated London, is the city where it is most difficult to find a house at an affordable price.

The rising housing cost is pushing “Londoners”, with a normal earning, out of London, and more than 2.5 million people are traveling every day two hours a day to come to work in London. Social insecurity is growing and, consequently, the number of crimes.

Exploring deserted new developments and traditional areas I explore how the utopia of an egalitarian city has been definitively buried.

Kilburn, Brent, October 2016

Queen Elisabeth Park, Newham, April 2018

Chalkhill Estate, Brent, June 2016

King’s Cross, Camden, June 2017

Grenfell Tower, Kensington and Chelsea, October 2017

New developments in the City, April 2017

Aylesbury Estate, Southwark, October 2017

A ready to show new building in Bankside, Southwark, January 2018

Big Mother, a Stik’s mural on a council estate in South Acton, Ealing, April 2016

Nine Elms view from Riverwalk, City of Westminster, July 2017

Collingwood, Sutton, June 2017

Shoreditch, Hackney, February 2018

To view more of Gianluca Calise’s work please visit his website.