An exhibition of photographic prints by photographer Freddie Bonfanti
In the epilogue to ‘Long Live The Boleyn’, Freddie Bonfanti writes of his feelings of grief and loss when the realisation of West Ham’s move to the London Stadium hit home.
Bonfanti is a London based photographer, West Ham supporter and season ticket holder. During the last year at Upton Park he decided to start documenting the match day routine inside and outside the ground, trying to archive as many photos as he could, knowing that it would all end very soon.
Published in late 2016, his photographic book ‘Long Live The Boleyn’ documents the culture of Upton Park and West Ham as a football club through the medium of black-and-white photographs taken inside and outside the old ground. While his photos capture hundreds of matchday rituals, mid-match moments and much of the character of the West Ham fanbase, they also present the local area at its most natural and unguarded. There are fans in cafes, servings of pie and mash, Pearly Kings and packed-out pubs. There are kids playing football in the shadow of tower blocks, tattooed fans selling fanzines and, all in all, thousands of details which express what it once was to be a West Ham fan, while illustrating the spirit of E13 as it was before the club moved on.
The project was a labour of love, self described as “from a fan, for the fans” taking a very personal and fan led approach to matchday photography. From the patches of grass on nearby estates to the local boozers, the intimate photographs document a true matchday routine that football fans from up and down the country can relate to.
In an era of crumbling stadiums and new homes, many creative fans are exploring new ways to document their personal experiences. It’s a difficult time for any fan to leave their historic home, but creative output such as Bonfanti’s are a collective and individual immortalisation of what shouldn’t be forgotten.
Opens Thursday 7th December, 7-10pm, free entry
Open daily 8th-24th December, 9am-5pm
AT Stour Space, 7 Roach Road, Hackney Wick, London, E3 2PA