For Lewisham photographer Luke Agbaimoni, finding “the beauty in the mundane” is a way of life.
His current mission is to showcase Lewisham’s most beautiful places with his camera, a Sony A7R II.
Agbaimoni, a resident of Catford, is known for the Tube Mapper project, the intention of which was to find the spectacle in places we pass through every day.
When it was revealed that Lewisham would be London’s Borough of Culture 2022, he was inspired to take photos of the area: “When the borough of culture came up, I realised I could do something similar for Lewisham.”
“I looked online to see if there was anywhere that showcased the sites, landmarks, and locations of Lewisham, and of course there isn’t, and I thought it’d be really nice to showcase parts of the area, because not only is it interesting for people outside the borough, but also for people who live here – something to be proud of.”
He described his idea of lesser-known landmarks, giving the examples of the Catford cat and the Crystal Palace Park dinosaur statues and said: “You don’t really know them if you’re from outside the area, we’re not like the West End or Greenwich, we don’t have a centre that people visit, and if we’re trying to showcase ourselves as the borough of culture, it’s nice to be able to say ‘we’ve got all these wonderful parks, we’ve got all of these nice buildings… and being the borough of culture, it’s the best time to show it … that’s what launched the project.”
Through the Lewisham Lens project so far, Luke has found art in familiar areas: “There is art if you just stop to look around, the area is beautiful, and embracing the area that we’re in gives us a sense of belonging, you know, ‘this is our area, and we can rejoice in it.”
Also, despite having lived in Lewisham his entire life, he’s found some places that he had never been to before: “For example, Blythe Hill Fields, it’s probably one of the best views in the area, the uninterrupted views, you can see the sunrise and the buildings, and it’s probably the best way to view fireworks … I knew of it, but I hadn’t gone up there until I started this project – we don’t necessarily enjoy the things around us, until someone makes us look at them.”
When asked how he first got into photography, Luke said: “I was an art student at Camberwell College of Arts, and I went on to do a degree in Communication Design, and then I became a graphic designer.”
He began taking photos of London scenery during his lunch breaks while he was working at the ExCeL Centre.
“I took the camera and I’d walk around the docks taking pictures, and TfL were running a competition at the time to take a picture of the ‘real views of the Docklands’, so I entered it and luckily I won, and that was the catalyst for me to become a photographer, and also then the Tube Mapper project.”
Agbaimoni started Lewisham Lens late last year and hopes to continue the project throughout the rest of 2022 to capture different parts of Lewisham during the different seasons.
“The idea was to start it at the dawn of the year, and then to sort of chase the seasons, capturing the things that shine through at different parts of the year,” he said.
The photographer struggled to pick a favourite photo he’d taken so far, but said it had to be one he’d taken of the iconic Catford cat “I always considered myself the ‘unofficial-official’ photographer of the Catford cat.” Luke has taken many photos of the cat, in all weather conditions – including snow – but “The one I haven’t got yet is during fog, so I’d like to get that.”
Agbaimoni currently uses a Sony A7R II camera for Lewisham Lens, but he plans to upgrade to an A7R III soon.