City High Streets have become a homogeneous smear of corporate branding. The same names on the same lightbox signs, and the same things inside. The same services and products at the same price delivered by people in the same uniforms. The same. Of course there are the neighbourhoods that have benefited from the rise of the hipster. If you need a hand-knitted beard-warmer in East London, there are no shortage of artisanal workshops to chose from, but on the whole, old school craftsmen with decades of nous are an endangered species, as are independent businesses who have been going since before the Millennium.
Métier – Small businesses in London by photographer Laura Braun proves they are still out there if you know where to look, and each one has an interesting tale to tell. Published by Paper Tigers Books, the book is the product of 6 years investigating London’s independents. It features 25 businesses, their owners and long-serving staff, and as well as portraits and interior photographic shots, there are texts on each one, and an afterword on their value from sociologist Dawn Lyon. We meet the likes of Celia Mitchell, actress and wife of the playwright Adrian Mitchell, who has run a second hand bookshop for 30 years, and Harry Moran, whose expertise is focused on automatic transmissions.
Métier – Small businesses in London is available directly from the publisher as a numbered edition of 500 for £18.