London is truly unlike any other city on the planet, with a personality, charm and culture all of its own – and as night falls, it becomes yet another world entirely.
This is the idea that has inspired the creation of the debut book by Joshua K. Jackson, Sleepless In Soho, a collection of photographs capturing the unique allure of the city after dark.
Joshua, a London-based photographer whose work has often focused on city life, spent three years documenting the many scenes featured in the book. He began the project as a way to put his chronic insomnia to good use, spending the evenings exploring the streets of Soho with his camera.
Over that time, he was able to perfectly capture to mood and the atmosphere of the dimly-lit streets, retro neon signs, bijou dive bars and all-night cafes, each one populated by excitable revellers, exasperated taxi drivers, bouncers and impartial passers-by. Perhaps the collection even inadvertently features others who, like Joshua, simply couldn’t sleep and chose to make the most of their nocturnality by exploring the many scenes and sights around them – London does, after all, take on something of a new life once the sun has set.
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this photography collection is, surprisingly, something that Joshua could never have planned for. Taken between January 2017 and December 2019, the shots depict a version of Soho on the cusp of a global event that nobody saw coming. Even once things return to normal, London nightlife will, in many ways, never be the same – to think that Sleepless In Soho captures a city of revellers blissfully unaware of what’s to come makes the collection itself all the more intriguing. One entry – peering through the fogged-up window of a packed night bus – seems particularly strange to look at through the gaze of the previous year.
Each and every subject of the Sleepless In Soho collection appears to have an interesting story of their very own to tell. From the couple kissing passionately in a doorway, to the little boy running into a restaurant clutching a bunch of helium balloons – even the inanimate subjects of the series, including three half-empty wine glasses surrounding an overflowing ash tray – every scene leaves you pondering on the possible context behind the shots and just what part the setting of Soho itself plays within it.
Cinematic, often melancholic and always incredibly intriguing, Sleepless In Soho is a refreshingly intimate look at London Nightlife through the eyes of a man who simply wanted to observe his vibrant surroundings, rather than take part. In doing so, Joshua K. Jackson has been able to capture an insight into the thoughts and emotions of his subjects in a uniquely compelling way.
This is an incredible first published monograph from Joshua K. Jackson, one which is perfectly timed and makes for somewhat cathartic viewing in this difficult collective period. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!
SEE ALSO: The Soho Summer Street Festival