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From my early childhood I have been fascinated by photography. The first camera I ever used was an old box camera with a hole at the front for the exposure of the roll of film which slipped along the back of the box. It was simplicity itself, but it had the capacity to mesmerise me. The facility to capture a moment in time was like magic for a young boy. As the years went by, my fascination changed to a passion that drew me to other photographers, and I began to explore the world and humanity through the hundreds of pictures that were waiting to be discovered in books in my local library.

Inspired by all these extraordinary images from around the world, it was during my teenage years that I began to take my own photographs. My small bedroom was no longer simply a place to retreat to and sleep, now it became a makeshift darkroom. In those days, the chemicals really smelled and caused eczema on my hands, but it was a small inconvenience compared to the miracle of watching a print appear in the developing dish!

My camera became my notebook, artistic mentor and friend.

I am fortunate to be one of the generation that has been granted greater opportunity to travel, and during my life in Whitechapel I have been introduced to a wide variety of cultures and friends, which in turn have inspired me to travel. I have photographed in Bangladesh and other parts of Asia many times, although the centre of gravity in my work has always been the East End of London.

For many years my home was a tower block neatly sandwiched between Vallance Rd and Brick Lane in Whitechapel. Over the years, from my flat on the eleventh floor, I watched as the skyline of the city resonated with growth and demolition. In the early eighties, Canary Wharf emerged in the East as a solitary foot soldier for Capitalism, and then, not to be eclipsed by this upstart, the City of London itself began to expand. Yet whilst the corporate development gathered speed, the lives of people on my side of Brick Lane carried on as usual. Whitechapel Market flourished as Brick Lane slowly transformed into a playground for those who could afford the lottery of restaurants, bars, galleries and coffee shops.

In 2015 I moved to Liverpool. I still photograph the East End regularly but my camera now also records Liverpool (which I first photographed for 10 years in 1972).  My aim now is to open the door on the East End of London and Liverpool by showing archival and contemporary images from the canon of my life’s work that will be published here daily.

I hope you enjoy it.

Phil Maxwell

My work sites

6 Responses leave one →
  1. Hannah permalink
    December 1, 2010

    Beautifully compelling x

  2. February 16, 2011

    Phil, what a beautiful gem of a website. I have subscribed, and look forward to getting a daily taste of your wonderful images and words xx

  3. Lucy Johnson permalink
    December 11, 2012


  4. Terry Smyth permalink
    September 4, 2016


    I love your street photography. You seem to take many of your photos from the waist. Have I got that right? Do people realise they are being photographed?


    • Phil Maxwell permalink*
      September 7, 2016

      Hi Terry. My spine collapsed 6 years ago & now I’m very short! However you are right; I often take photographs from the waist – along with photographs from eye level. I use a variety of techniques …

    • Phil Maxwell permalink*
      September 7, 2016

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