Inzajeano Latif’s photography of Tottenham show a resilient community struggling against displacement

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This article is imprinted in the latest issue associated with British Journal of Picture taking magazine, Activism & Demonstration, delivered direct to you with an 1854 Subscription.

One 10 years since the Tottenham riots that will shook the city, the London-based photographer captures the marginalised groups that call it home, finding parallels between his experiences and theirs

“This project had been [initially] the revolt against Tottenham, ” says British-Pakistani photographer Inzajeano Latif of his continuing series, This is Tottenham. “There was a period of time when I resented it, and I was really unable mentally. ” Latif, who was born in Bradford, moved to the north London borough of Haringey with his mom when he was a child. Growing up in Tottenham in the late 1980s and 90s – shortly after the Broadwater Farm riots – Latif was subject to the types of formative, life-altering experiences that are commonplace for inner-city youngsters: muggings, violence and – for children belonging to cultural minority communities – racism in abundance.

But there was furthermore positivity to be found: a creative hype, and the growing influence associated with music genres such as bush, resonated with Latif like a teenager. “The creative vibe in Tottenham was strong, and me and my bro had a show on Rude FM and then upon Kool FM, ” he admits that. “Eventually, I found my ground and found myself. Now that I’m older I understand that what seemed dark in those days was important in making myself who I am, and has assisted shape the way I method life and my interest for photography. ”

This is Tottenham © Inzajeano Latif.

This is Tottenham © Inzajeano Latif.

This is Tottenham is Latif’s attempt to present the area like a place of both hardship and resilience. “I used the digital camera to open up to Tottenham plus hoped this would open Tottenham up to me, ” he explains. He visited areas from his childhood, and spoke to the people he or she met there, drawing parallels between their stories and his. The process brought many of the problems – such as gentrification, course struggle, systemic racism plus cuts to youth services – that have long affected Tottenham and other similarly ignored places, into sharp concentrate.  

This is Tottenham © Inzajeano Latif.

This is Tottenham © Inzajeano Latif.

Latif was confronted by the animosity of the locals and their own understandable and continued distrust of the government. This year marks a decade since the 2011 England riots, sparked by the passing away of Mark Duggan, who was shot and killed with the police. But Latif seemed to be touched by the community’s power. “The hunger of people to help keep going, no matter their age, was beautiful and sad. A few take their dreams for their graves – and that is painful, ” he says.

His pictures are a nod to Tottenham’s past and present, showing the area in its true gentle before it is swallowed by “regeneration” – a change that will residents fear could erase its history. The pictures are a tribute to the individuals who have fought to stay afloat within a city with daily difficulties, reminding them that the battle is worth it. “As long as we keep striving, studying and educating ourselves, we can burn down Babylon and see better days for potential generations, ” says Latif. “I want to send my love to all those in the battle – This is Tottenham will always be a testament to that battle. ”

This is Tottenham © Inzajeano Latif.

Daniel Milroy Maher

Daniel Milroy Maher is a London-based writer and editor specialising in photographic journalism. His work has been published with the New York Times, Magnum Photos, Paper Journal, GUP Newspaper, and VICE, among others. This individual also co-founded SWIM Mag, an annual art and photography publication.

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