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Nina Manandhar Photographs the People of East London

Not just the ones who've invaded it from the Home Counties.

by Amelia Phillips
10 July 2013, 9:20am

Nina Manandhar has been photographing the people of East London for the past five years. Luckily, for those of you who don't care about more photos of Home Counties kids in vastly marked-up vintage sportswear and brothel creepers, she managed to largely siphon out the Dalston crowd and find some people who've probably never had to pick the remnants of a £10 burger out of their ironic facial hair. 

Nina has put some of those photos in her new book, Money On My Oyster, which she launched with an exhibition last week. I caught up with her after the launch party for a chat.  

VICE: Hey Nina. So, this is your first book. Was there anything specific that compelled you to make it?
Nina Manandhar: Not really. I take a lot of photographs, so I have all these images of London – mostly East London – that I've collected over the past five years. I decided to make a sort of scrapbook to bring it all together before I moved on to the next thing.

How do you take photos of people in the street without them thinking you're a creep?
I’ve done a lot of youth work, and it's not difficult to build up a mutual understanding with people in London. People say there isn’t a sense of community in this city, but there is – just not in a wet way.Also, I regularly shoot on my iPhone – it’s not intimidating. I like the quality of film and using large format cameras, but with an iPhone or Instagram you can get closer.

The fact you're small, pretty and look about 16 might help you get by, too?
I’d say so. If I was an old fat man I don’t think I’d get as many pictures. Imagine if I did this exhibition but I was an old fat man – they’d think I was a fucking paedophile.

Speaking of small children, who’s the little lady in all your press shots?
She’s a mini Michael Jackson girl in Shepherd’s Bush. It was actually Halloween when I took that, but her parents dress her up all the time. She kind of reminds me of me.

Do you regularly dress up as Michael Jackson?
No, today I’m wearing some purple wallabies that I bought at Walthamstow market and a stripy playsuit. It’s about 30 degrees; I look like a lairy, sweaty toddler.

Strong. Any plans to take your work global?
Yeah, I’d love to travel more with my work and take it in a different direction. I want to get the bus from Birmingham to Pakistan. Apparently it’s a bit dodgy – I’ve been speaking to the embassy about it.

Good luck. Thanks, Nina!

The exhibition of images from Nina's book will be showing at the Eternal Youth gallery, 378 Kingsland Road, East London, until Friday the 19th of July. To buy a copy go here, visit her website here and follow her on Instagram here.

Follow Amelia on Twitter: @ameliaephillips

More photos that you might enjoy looking at:

London Is a Paradise

Did You Grow Up in British Suburbia?

East End Girls