Thanks to Mark for allowing me to use this photo from the exhibition

Last night, I went with some of my fellow gorgeous Awesomestow Twitterati down to the Toksarka Gallery in Walthamstow on Forest Road, just near Blackhorse Road station.

It was the first full day showing of Mark Burton’s Guests and Volunteers photography exhibition which gives a glimpse into the world of the Crisis Rough Sleeper’s Centre in London which had only opened on Friday night.

Each portrait shows both a guest and a volunteer at the centre, and they’re so cleverly balanced and shot that in the majority of them, it’s impossible to be sure who is the guest and who is the volunteer.

There was also plenty of information around about Crisis, the centre and the work that they do and also some more in-depth interviews with some of the volunteers – why the do it, and what the highs and lows of their experiences have been.  These were very frank and created another level to the exhibition.

Prints of the photos are also available to buy. with 90% of profits going to Crisis.

We were then extremely lucky because Mark himself was in the gallery and came over to have a chat to us.  It was a brilliant opportunity to ask more about the ohotos and the subjects.  For example, all of the portraits were straight-faced, and rather sombre.  I had visions of there being another set of photos in a parallel gallery that showed them all smiling and laughing!

None of us had realised that Mark is actually a Walthamstow resident, and we got into a far more in-depth discussion (along with some cold drinks  cheers Mark!) about all of our love for the area, the sense of community, the E17 Art Trail, Mark’s radical thoughts on local politics and allotments amongst other things!

We had a fantastic time, Mark is very talented, and on top of that just a bloody nice bloke – really looking forward to his next project, and seeing what he does for the E17 Art Trail.

If you get a chance, please do go along and support the exhibition – it’s on til 18th June.  Even better, Mark and fellow photograpgher Katherine Green are giving a talk next Saturday (11th June) at 2pm – 4pm  along with subjects from the Guests & Volunteers exhibition which should be really interesting.

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