We’re so excited to introduce you to one of our talented tutors Ion Paciu who is currently engaged on a Portrait photography project of capturing portraits of strangers he meets on the streets of London, a project he calls People I didn’t know.

His pictures are so surprising: photos taken with natural light and no trickery. Portraits of people with whom Ion has no relationship. People who have trusted him enough to expose themselves to his lens…

Here’s some of his portraits:

“I was cueing for a meal at a restaurant on the south-bank when I saw Thomas with his mum, he was standing on a high kerb watching the people, he looked thoughtful. I asked his mum to allow me to take a photograph of him and she kindly agreed. I sent her a copy of the image and she was very happy with the results!

A big Thank you to Thomas and to his mum. Image made on the street using only natural light.

Thomas’ story that evening was a trip out to the Southbank for his mum’s birthday meal with friends. At the ripe old age of 10, these get togethers (where he is always the oldest child)can be tedious. He’d rather be playing football, but anything for mum’s birthday  hence he was quite grumpy that afternoon. Well, a good opportunity for me to snap an interesting portrait.”

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“Roisin is a primary school teacher and I photographed her on the south bank in central London. Image made using only natural light.”

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“James is a graphic designer and I photographed him on the south bank in central London. Image made using only natural light. ”

Putting Ion’s Portrait Photography work alongside the infamous Fayum portraits they make lovely companion pieces the pictures of his with their 100-yard stares have much in common with those Egyptian paintings executed so long ago. In Ion’s words, ‘People I didn’t know is a homage to human nature, the art of photography and a quest to bring together our solitary London souls.’ Ancient and modern, these are extraordinary portraits, whether they have been created with paint and beeswax or paper and pixels, with the vast distance of over 1700 years between them.

Here’s a selection of Fayum Portraits…

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John Berger wrote an essay on the Fayum portraits. Here is an extract: ‘I’ve got a portrait out my pocket. There’s a silence in her face. She appeals for nothing. They appeal for nothing, the Fayum faces, they ask for nothing. They look at us and their look says, ‘We know we are alive. And you are alive because you are looking at us.’