Award-winning photographer Jenny Lewis has spent the last three years documenting the people who live in Hackney, London, covering every age from birth to 100 in chronological order. Now her tender series is being presented in a new book, One Hundred Years.

In the title, published by Hoxton Mini Press, her images are paired with revealing quotes and short stories from each of her subjects, giving us a rare insight into a vibrant pocket of east London, but also the many “vital moments of connection, contradiction, confusion, growth and reflection” that we all experience in life and as we age.

Although sometimes we might feel weighed down by the thought that our lives are meaningless and pretty mundane, given how many there are of us on this planet, these portraits remind us of quite the contrary, as Lucy Davies remarks in the book’s introduction: “Perhaps you think you have a typical, ordinary life. Most of us do. But read even a tenth of the 100 stories that are chattering and rustling away inside here, and you will grasp that there is no such thing.”

In fact, the portraits and accompanying stories reveal life’s universal moments of triumph, sorrow and humour. In one picture we meet Jack, aged seven: “People are always stereotypical to me. Just because I’m a boy they say you can’t like pink, but I love pink. One of the first times I wore a skirt, my mum bought me a tutu. I looked in the mirror and I loved it. It makes me feel happy when I’m glamorous.”

In another, there’s Mia, aged 16, who says: “I moved into this studio in the garden when I turned 16 and we’ve agreed that I can live here until I move out. My desire to leave home was so strong but impractical at my age, so this was the compromise we reached. Now I have this sanctuary.”

One Hundred Years by Jenny Lewis is published by Hoxton Mini Press.

Jack

Jack

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