I stumbled upon another marvel, while browsing for photo galleries in London: the work of Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen. Sirkka Liisa is a Finnish photographer who has worked in the UK since the 1960s. After studying photography in London in the 1960s, she moved to Newcastle in 1969 and started photographing Byker, the part of town where she lived. After the posh England of Regent Street and Pimlico, a trip to the poor England of Byker was appropriate. Poverty exudes from each photograph. Humans making a living in a bleak environment, rows of houses, uniformity, greyness, gloom, misery. Striking images of a time, not too far away in the past, not far away from us. A reminder that sometimes poverty is at our doors and we fail to see it. A sobering moment looking at these images.

Byker, Kendal Street in snow, 1969, © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen
Byker, Byker rooftops, 1975, © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen
Byker, Mending the pavement, 1969, © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen
Byker, Lost Children, 1971, © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen