“I love that you can tell an entire story with a single shot.”
Eli London is a writer/journalist by trade and a street photographer by hobby. The Brooklynite (NYC) gets excited by photographic potential – the idea that beyond his four walls are countless moments to capture. Armed with a camera, he has the ability “to make something out of nothing”. Eli is someone who thrives off that feeling of immersion, being caught up in the throng. Like most photographers that trawl the sidewalks, there’s no method to his chosen paths. “I just take my camera out for long walks and shoot whatever tickles my fancy…I find it a meditative process.”
On what draws his eye, Eli mentions his fascination for wide shots. “I just love their aesthetic, the way they encompass full life scenes.” Often, it’s “subtle deviations from the norm” – the way a person carries themselves, their facial expression or the contrast of their clothes against a wall.
The shooter’s most recent stop: Mexico.
After bailing on an unfulfilling job, Eli decided nine months in Latin America would do the trick. Settling in Colombia for the first six weeks, he moved on to Mexico City and never left. If COVID wasn’t a thing he’d probably still be there, he tells me. The capital city is an endless hyperactive sprawl. With something always happening – it’s a street shooter’s delight. With his treasured Canon Rebel t5i and a 24mm pancake lens, Eli roamed the labyrinth for months, capturing the lives of people he’ll never know.
“The city goes on forever, you can’t really fathom it until you see it with your own eyes.”
There’s a pleasant air in his frames – what feels like watching the world go by. Look at one of Eli’s pictures long enough and you’ll soon start to feel like you took it. The American also enjoys sprinkling brands throughout his compositions. “I like to highlight the amount of subliminal messaging we’re constantly bombarded with.” Although striving to comment on the world through his frames, not every photograph needs to tell a story. “Some photos can just be nice to look at”.
When asked about one photo that stands out, Eli takes us back to Mexico’s Day Of The Dead – a 48-hour national holiday for the country to remember friends and family who have passed. “There’s this one frame of a couple dining with a skeleton…I just thought it was the weirdest thing. I actually doubled back to get the shot and took it sneakily from the hip.” It’s almost like the ghastly figure is invisible to other diners, with no one remotely phased by its presence. The frame seems spooky at first glance, yet feels oddly comforting when you sit with it.
Apart from the country being a photographer’s theme park, Eli is eager to share that Mexicans are some of the kindest and friendliest people going around. What’s more, “the food is absolutely incredible, from the tacos you buy from a cart to Michelin starred restaurants.” It’s no wonder he settled there.
Back in New York, Eli has recently been pointing his lens at vacant lots. “There are plenty of lots without anything on them and lots of overgrown grass, often with beat-up cars. I think they’re really cool…I might do a series.”
Travel is a high priority for this fellow and once it’s possible, Eli is set on central Asia. “It just seems like such a unique place, a crossroad of various cultures…everything is crazy wide open with opulent architecture. I love to shoot really wide stuff, capturing the old soviet architecture and monuments would be really sick!”
Get a glimpse through Eli’s viewfinder via his IG below.