Sikhs on Seats

This has been a personal street photography project, mostly using my mobile phone to capture these groups of elders from the Sikh community of Gravesend town centre, and mostly without their knowledge.

Whilst walking around, i noticed they met in regular groups, most mornings, to chat, laugh and share stories together.

They became ‘My Boys’ and I became known for regularly posting their daily gatherings on my social media – this is a social documentary that has taken over a year to produce

Community Square

It wasnt always the same bench, but it was always the same group – some days they seemed to follow the sun but this wasn’t just a summer thing – they sat there throughout the year.

Some days, when they moved into town, the benches on New Road just weren’t big enough.

Some days it was a tiring waiting game for a seat!

This was a favourite bench outside B&M store – and sometimes they spread to the opposite bench too – or had they fallen out ?  It was always an interesting dynamic.

New Road – Gravesend

Some days, the benches were infiltrated by others . . I often wondered if these interlopers knew of my photographic documentary and sat there to ensure they’d be a part of it!

The groupings differed some days, as did the clothing, but still they gathered.

Some days I was convinced I’d been spotted taking the shot  . . .

He’s looking straight at me  . . .
Had he seen me?
Some days – the benches werent big enough – some even brought their own seats!!
Are they working out a rota for the bench?

The Aunties

Some days, I diversified as I found the ‘aunties’ were also not adverse to social gatherings around town

Event Days – on event days in town, ‘The Boys’ still featured and ultimately almost lead to the end of my little photo project – the image below with the hidden ‘Batman’ was one of the last photos I took, this was set up and I asked them to pose for me – though the boys were unaware that we had positioned Batman behind them – but i had identified myself, and this time with my proper camera.

2020 and Beyond

This photo project was done throughout 2018/2019 – before we knew the phrase “social distancing” and before the Covid19 Corona Virus changed us, and the way we are currently allowed to socialise; now in 2020 – with the over 70’s tasked with self isolation indoors to protect their vulnerability, I wonder will I get to see ‘The Boys’ back in town again?

This was their bench this week – 1st April 2020


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