Standing in the completed St John at Hackney today, it is difficult to imagine all that came before, during this building's almost 250 years standing in the heart of Hackney.
This new exhibition of work stands as an aide memoir to this past, these images representing a series of fleeting moments captured over almost two years by six volunteer photographers from our community, led by Katrina Lawson Johnston, as St John at Hackney was made new. These are moments that would otherwise stand to be lost or forgotten in the collective memory of our church and all the people that love this place.
In a state that for most of the world was hidden from view, these images forever capture our beloved building’s most fragile moments, as we see under the paint, behind the walls and into ‘The Space Between’.
Like the restoration project itself, which involved a team of hundreds of men and women, these images are the work of a collection of people, a team effort to document and interpret this building, conveying what it means to each individual.
The main focus of the images is most often the light, which makes a daily journey through the building’s spaces. Giant arcs of dappled light stretch across the floor through one of our big windows, marking the passage of time over the ever-shifting shapes of the building site.
Mainly, this work tries to say that there is something sacred in our moments of ‘in between’. All things are constantly being made, and re-made – and our journeys from one state to another are just as important as where we end up. Throughout this process we were constantly reminded that this was not just a building, but a place full of tangible sanctity, peace and ultimately – love.
This work is dedicated to everyone who made this project happen over so many years, and was generously supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Katrina Lawson Johnston