21st Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People
The Observer

I had been living in Stoke Newington for five years, just next to the Haredi Jewish area Stamford Hill. I ran a lot in this neighbourhood and every time I was so curious to know more about these men and women. I wanted to take their portrait and have them tell their story - I never did as I thought that would violate their privacy. It was Purim, a holiday I never heard of before (it’s mental, full of life and blasting techno!) and it gave me the chance to finally take out my camera and document some of the festivities. And the best part? They didn’t mind at all, only happiness was present For this portrait, I realised I had to try and find the boy’s parents to get approval of having the photograph published. Once again terrified, I went back to Stamford Hill to see if I could find them. Third person we asked, just outside one of the synagogue’s, laughed and said he knew the boy’s father. He took out his burner phone, called the dad and one minute later I was talking to him explaining the project. Best part? Him saying: “if I can help another human, I’d be very happy to”.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 03.2022
Date Uploaded: 11.2023
Photo Location: London, United Kingdom
Copyright: © Christoffer Ahlen