I live only a stone’s throw from the boundary of the borough of Croydon, but until recently was largely ignorant of its charms, and unaware of its variety and interest. Sure, I’ve caught trains at East Croydon station, and made trips where necessary to its pedestrianised shopping centre, the retail sheds strung along the Purley Way, and the twin towers of Ikea, but mostly it’s been somewhere I pass through on the A23, while admittedly turning my nose up at the surroundings. All that changed earlier this year, when I was commissioned by the house builder, Brick by Brick, a development partner of Croydon Borough Council, to photograph various corners of the district for their marketing material. And what surprises were in store. Who knew that Croydon has its own palace? Or that it contains rolling green countryside, and pretty village greens, complete with ponds and resident herons? Not the image that most of us have of a much mocked and maligned part of London.
My shoots took me from urban Thornton Heath and South Norwood in the north, through Croydon’s hip town centre, to the rustic Old Coulsdon and beyond.