The concrete curves of London’s Barbican Estate have fuelled many a photo essay but few as personal as the work of Anton Rodriguez. A resident himself for the last three years, he was intrigued by the diverse mix of cultures, occupations and personalities around him so began knocking on doors to photograph his neighbours.
‘This project could open up some dividers and will also allow the public to get a glimpse of what goes on within the Barbican Estate,’ says the photographer, who hails from Liverpool and also works as a web and marketing manager at Folk Clothing. ‘You don’t often get to see it from the inside.’
Rodriguez got the backing of VSCO’s Artist Initiative project – which gives grants and advice to young photographers – and has now shot the first part of what will be an ongoing series uploaded to his website, Barbicanresidents.co.uk.
With an estimated 4,000 people living in the Brutalist buildings in over 2,000 flats, with no less than 140 different layouts, it’s a project that could last a lifetime. So far, his subjects range from a voiceover artist to an architect and a business development manager.
To each of the residents, he puts a set of questions. So we decided to turn the tables and direct them to Rodriguez himself…
What drew you to move to the Barbican?
It was kind of an accident. My letting agent told me about a property that was about to come on the market but didn’t mention where. As soon as I viewed the flat, I immediately took it. I have moved around different blocks and flats within the Barbican Estate in that time.
What is your favourite feature of the barbican flats?
The full height windows and bright airy spaces. I love the Twyford Barbican sink with the hidden toilet roll holder. I live in a penthouse so the barrel vaulted ceilings give an amazing sense of space. Collection of rubbish via a storage unit in the door is also a hidden benefit…
How have you found it living here?
Amazing. I don’t think I could live anywhere else in London. It’s a great community. My project about Barbican residents also has allowed me to make new friends and meet liked minded individuals.
Update: This photo essay has now been turned into a book – Residents: Inside the iconic Barbican estate.