Métier, Small Businesses in London

Métier, Small Businesses in London is a lovely book by photographer Laura Braun published through her own Paper Tiger Books, about London-based small-scale independent and specialist businesses and the people who run them. In a time when the high streets of London are taking on a more and more corporate character, this book offers an unusual and interesting perspective on the city and an insight into the working lives of people who strongly identify with their occupation. In total Laura has photographed 26 people and their places of work, accompanied by a short text about each person and business and an afterword by sociologist Dawn Lyon.

Over six years, Laura Braun slowly added to this collection of portraits and interior photographs of very individual London businesses. Her subjects are people whose lives have been shaped by their long-term involvement with their line of work and business. And the photographs of the spaces they work in provide fascinating details about their everyday working routines.

Among the many shopkeepers and craftspeople featured in the book are Harry Moran, who has been working for Hornsey Automatic Transmissions Ltd. as a specialist mechanic since his teenage years, and Theo Argiriadis, who came to London from Greece in the 1970s and, through his involvement with music and musicians, ended up becoming a specialist in analogue music equipment.

There’s also Gary Arber, who sells stationery and does small print jobs, some of them still on his 1930s Heidelberg letter press. Emilio Allodi is the second generation of his Italian family to work with accordions in London, and Celia Mitchell, an actress, took her love of literature and books to another level when more than 30 years ago she opened the Ripping Yarns second-hand bookshop in Highgate. Salih Adalier, a photographer with a high-street photo studio in Newington Green, has seen the highs and lows of his trade in London since the 1950s, while Marylebone bespoke shoemaker Peter Schweiger of James Taylor & Son is as busy as ever.

For more information and to order the book see here.