‘I’ve lived in London for 86½ years’ was published by Hoxton Mini Press in 2014, where it quickly became a local cult classic. The first photography book to be published by the company documented the 3 year friendship between it’s founder and photographer Martin Usborne, and Joseph Markovitch, an East London pensioner who’d lived in the area for his whole life, and who’d seen the city transform around him.
Joseph sadly passed away in 2013, and on the year that he would’ve turned 90 years old, Hoxton Mini Press recognised an opportunity to celebrate the relationship he and Martin shared, and pay homage to the man behind the imaginative words and quirky portraits that had captured the hearts of so many.
“An element of my own loneliness exists in the photos of Joseph. A good photographic portrait always captures two people: the subject & the person taking the picture.”
– Martin Usborne
We set out to create an experience that captured the purity and authenticity of the original book; brought to life in a new and immersive way that would allow Joseph’s story to reach a much wider audience.
As a natural successor to the heartbreakingly beautiful photography book, 86½ years follows a unique dual narrative; inviting you to step into the world that Joseph & Martin both shared, by experiencing it through both of their eyes.
Each chapter is split into two parts, and navigated intuitively with eye-tracking technology quietly working in the background to enhance the narrative. The simple closing of the eyes is all that’s needed to step fully into the world of Joe’s imagination. Once closed and with the distractions of life removed, Joe begins to share this thoughts and feelings from an eclectic mix of topics ranging from money, to relationships and the Universe.
As Joe finishes, the opening of your eyes reveals the original still photograph Martin took to accompany joe’s words; brought to life for the first time through moving image, alongside the photographer’s memories of the day and the time they spent together.
As a final enhancement to accompany the words and photography, foley recordings were captured at each of the locations where the original photographs were taken, completing a full-sensory digital experience that honours the authenticity and spirit of the original journal.
Every single element of the experience was designed, written, built, recorded, shot and composed in East London, where Joseph was born, raised and lived his whole life. As an East London studio alongside Hoxton Mini Press, it was important that the project honoured the authenticity of the original story, and Joseph’s clear love for the area and the people within it.
The dual-narrative offered a perspective the original book couldn’t provide. Martin’s notes offer a human insight into the character of Joseph, the moments he shared with him, and how it impacted both of their lives, until Joseph sadly passed away.
From concept through to release the project took Clubhouse 11 weeks to complete, but it’s a story that’s been 90 years in the making…