You Are Deptford... So are We!: Portraits of local traders and businesses, as part of ‘We are Lewisham’ – London Borough of Culture 2022 - Group Show

Think globally, act locally

MMX Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition: YOU are Deptford… So are WE! - photographic portraits featuring local traders and business, as part of 'We are Lewisham' - London Borough of Culture 2022.

The call-out has been looking for the projects to help increase footfall to the local highstreets (post-pandemic times), as well as responding to main themes including; 'environment awareness', 'diversity of the area' as well as 'protecting the place we love'.


Deptford's existence was first mentioned in 1293 - when it was called Depeford. The 'deep ford' crossed what is now Deptford Creek, at the mouth of the River Ravensbourne.

Henry VIII founded a naval dockyard here in 1513, had a full English Breakfast just off the Deptford High Street and within a century Deptford had become one of the country's leading ports and a major industrial hub.

Deptford has been sailing though it's glorious days and storms. In 1593 the dramatist Christopher Marlowe was killed here, reputedly in a tavern brawl over an unpaid bar tab.

The diarist John Evelyn came to Deptford in 1652 to live at Sayes Court - a house belonging to his wife's family - which he rented to Peter the Great of Russia when he visited London in 1698 to study the art of shipbuilding.

Another illustrious diarist, Samuel Pepys, worked in Deptford as an admiralty official as well as the sculptor Grinling Gibbons had his workshop here.

Some more contemporary familiar faces of popular culture coming from Deptford and the area are for instance former Squeeze star Jules Holland, who hosts the long-running Later… with Jools Holland music show on BBC2, was brought up in Blackheath and his family came from Greenwich and Deptford. The Oscar winning actor Gary Oldman was born in New Cross and attended West Greenwich School in Deptford and the frontman of 'Cockney Rebels' - Steve Harley was born in Deptford and attended school in New Cross.


As every space in London, also Deptford produced some famous creatives to the world and has its own history. What is like to live in Deptford now?

As one of the areas in South East London, Deptford has been 'up and coming' forever and seen quite a transformation.

Everyone has got their view, opinion and story to tell...

As a local independent gallery and the locals who live and work here, we are presenting many other fellow independent businesses and reminding where one can go and shop, eat, drink and relax.

Some old businesses that gave the high street a lot of character such as The Egg Shop and AJ Goddard pie and mash shop or one of all-time favourite Wellbeloved Butchers at nearby Tanners Hill have sadly closed, there's still plenty of south-east London charm alongside old and new shops, café, restaurants and boozers.


We couldn't fit them all in this show so there is more to explore and be surprised by, but here are over 60 images of the local places on the Deptford High Street and in close proximity of it to enjoy. So, go and support your local business, eat and shop locally and reduce your carbon footprint. Go and protect your vibrant community, meet new people and discover your favourite place you never knew existed.


We would like to thank to all the businesses who participated in this project and specially our local photographers who helped making this show possible by supplying their images or taking some new shots: Anita Strasser, Patrycja Borecka and Sander Vos. As a gallery (Mark and Magda), we are pleased to say, it gave us also great pleasure to go and take more photographs for this project and meet with some old and new local entrepreneurs and traders.

Some historical facts about Deptford taken from; and

Project supported by 'We are Lewisham High Street Business Fund'


Exhibition dates: 24 November - 10 December

Exhibiting artists include:

Anita Strasser, was born and brought up in Austria. She has been based in Deptford since 2009. Anita is a photographer/ visual sociologist. She studied Photography at the London Institute, College of Printing (now London College of Communication), completed a Masters in Photography and Urban Cultures at the Sociology Department of Goldsmiths College, University of London, and she is currently doing an AHRC-funded PhD in Visual Sociology also in Goldsmiths. Her main research interests are urban communities, the regeneration and gentrification of London, the representation of class, visual research methods and participatory photographic practice. 

This exhibition has been inspired by Anita's research and photo book 'Deptford High Street', published 2010-2011. Her recent publication (2020); Deptford is Changing: a creative exploration of the impact of gentrification - also influenced by Deptford area - is  the outcome of a 2-year community arts project which worked with over 160 residents. In October 2020, she also published her first mono­graph in German Erzäh­lungen aus dem Steinernen Meer (Tales from the Stone Sea), a visual ethnography and oral history of a mountain range in the Austrian/Bavarian Alps.


Patrycja Borecka was born in Poland and has been living and working in UK for nearly 15 years. She has BA in photography and now studying for her MA in Social Media and Digital Communication at University of Westminster, London. She is a documentary and community photographer who uses cameras to communicate with the wider audience her observations of the world. From painting with light to portraits of demonstrators, her style adapts to the need of visual image. She takes photographs to memorise events, to create something from nothing and to record people as they are. She uses photography as a tool to open the dialogue about the current global problems.

The story behind her images is simple. Photography should be a record of the present, a mirror, portraits are an evidence of existentialism of many humans. Patrycja tries to express her worries and uneasy times which we are living in. She goes to many political demonstrations and protests connected to global issues, war in Syria, riots in Hong Kong, Women's rights, youth strikes and climate change. She photographs emotions, anger and she interviews the people to let them be heard. Her work has been published on political online platforms such as Novara Media and Freedom News.


Sander Vos is a Dutch photographer and has been working in the UK and abroad as an Art Director for a range of advertising agencies over the last 9 years, creating international campaigns and award winning work for a wide array of brands such as Google, Facebook and Johnnie Walker amongst others.

He has developed an eye for Art and Design from an early age.

His work blends fine art and portraiture photography. It often has an element of mystery and an interplay between shadows and close ups, aiming to capture an unmanicured beauty.
He has been recipient of numerous photographic awards including, Monochrome Photo Awards 2021, Fine Art Photography awards 2021/2022 and shortlisted to Portrait of Britain 2021/ Vol.4

He has been living in Deptford for nearly two years.