Time moves in one direction, memory in another.

—William Gibson

Born in the east end of London, Antony Cairns has been taking photographs since the age of 15. From the first days that he learned his trade—in the darkroom, hands plunged in chemistry—until today, he continues to find himself fascinated by the mysteries of the physical, material process of the art form. Whether using black-and-white film or a forgotten, antiquated analog process, he regularly finds himself engrossed in the oddities and imperfections of each distinctive technique.

In his own words, “I have never felt ready to move on from chemical-based photography. I still have lots of methods and techniques that I have yet to try out in the darkroom before I take the step into digital experimentation.”

Despite his propensity for older techniques, Cairns is also “quite a big science fiction fan,” particularly admiring the work of William Gibson, Philip K. Dick and J.G Ballard. But technology is not what draws Cairns towards these writers, but rather an aesthetic sympathy, “I often try and think of the descriptive language they use in their sci-fi novels when I am taking photographs on the streets.”

But at the core of his artistic explorations is his home, London. Given his long history with the city, Cairns is thrilled to watch the local photography scene blossom and proud to be showing his work at Photo London. Here, he will have the chance to share his insider’s vision with a global audience.

But even an insider’s view is not so privileged any more: “London is a modern metropolis that wants grow and grow, which means that it is always changing.” Despite its transforming nature, Cairns continues to believe that “this change needs to be documented.” And despite the altered character of his home, Cairns maintains, “London is my city, so all the images I make speak to my own personal connection with this megalopolis.”

—Alexander Strecker

Editors’ Note: This work was shown at Photo London 2016, which ran from May 19-22, 2016. Antony Cairns’ work was exhibited at Roman Road’s booth alongside the work of many other talented artists.