Street life

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The Independent Culture
Street life

You can't be a Londoner and not bump into a busker. There they are on a street corner, at Underground exits, in piazzas. Playing anything from Mozart to Marley and in a baffling range of abilities, London's buskers are either loved or loathed. Barbara Chandler, writer and photographer, began noticing something more in their faces and actions than the usual passer-by - a kind of joy, tragedy, panic, calm, desperation and humour - and thought to capture some of these emotions on film. It is her contention that these illegal artists enrich the life of the capital and have much to offer. However they are harried and prosecuted by the law, especially, it seems, where London Transport is concerned. By drawing attention to their plight she hopes also to highlight the wealth of underused talent. Here we have the trumpeter in a cat costume, the Clouseau accordionist, manic Bond Street violinist and Bontempi babe. Chandler has recorded them almost incidentally as part of the street furniture - catching them mid- bow or in full diva flow.

Street Music is at Spitalfields Market, E1 from Sun 21 May to 3 June

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