• ‘Everyone’s A Londoner’: An interview with Foto Ruta London’s Jessie Akin

    ‘Everyone’s A Londoner’: An interview with Foto Ruta London’s Jessie Akin

    It’s official, Foto Ruta is spreading it’s Latin American wings and taking a long awaited trip to London, with the aim of spreading some some urban photography enjoyment to Britain’s capital. Foto Ruta London will be continuing its mission of encouraging slow tourism and city exploration using creative street photography tours and making it sociable. Leading the mission will be the company’s brand new recruit, and head of London operations, Jessie Akin. Here’s what she had to say about Foto Ruta London photography tours…

    What do you have in store for London?

    The essence of Foto Ruta is working with photography to encourage people to see the place they’re in uniquely and creatively. That’s what Foto Ruta’s been doing in Buenos Aires and Chile and the same concept applies for London. I hope ‘Londoners’, wherever they’re from, however long they’re staying, will enjoy getting to see their city in this new way! Foto Ruta is going to be happening in several very different London neighbourhoods, there’s going to be some unique access into hidden London spaces and we’ll be incorporating clues into the guided tours. 

    What will the main differences be to Buenos Aires?

    London is an incredibly fast-paced city, with everyone rushing around, making plans, looking ahead. It’s the perfect place for Foto Ruta to encourage people to slow down and really look and think about the city’s streets. Almost everyone in London has a smart phone these days and I think that’s going to be significant too. I can’t think of anyone who doesnt have a camera in their back pocket, and there’s no reason you can’t get some great images using a smart phone. It’s all about what you can see.  For Foto Ruta that’s important. I believe everyone is creative and we all have a unique view of the world, Foto Ruta helps people use the cameras they have to express themselves.


    Tell us a bit about your background and how you came to be involved in Foto Ruta?

    I lived in Buenos Aires for 5 years and while I was there I started studying documentary photography and then worked as a freelance photographer. I heard about the Foto Ruta concept through a friend who was working with them and I was really interested to get involved. I felt like it really embraced lots of things I feel about photography. I came to London to start an MA course in documentary photography, and it just seemed like the perfect opportunity to set up Foto Ruta London. And here I am doing exactly that! 

    How did the first event go?

    I was a bit nervous, since it was going to the first time and I was hosting a clue event by myself, but was excited too. It was a great first event and people really got into it (despite the rain!). 

    Read more about Foto Ruta London’s Launch

    Why is London the perfect city for Foto Ruta?

    Well there’s just so much variety in London, so much to see, so much history, and so many people from all over the world. Everyone’s a Londoner, no matter where they might have lived before, everyone seems to just mix in together. I think the team element of Foto Ruta really compliments that. It’s an event where tourists, locals, and everyone in between can work together, share ideas, and support each other. Visually, London is incredible, and from one street to the next the landscape can change completely. One minute you’re in a cobbled alleyway looking at amazing street art, the next, watching barges on the canal, a few minutes later in the middle of a huge roundabout and on the other side you might bump into an urban farm!

    Street Art east london

    List your three favorite places to shoot in London

    I love Brixton market, Peckham’s a great neighbourhood for street shots, and I love the old textile houses around Brick Lane.

    Biggest challenges of shooting in london

    Convincing people that rain can make for really atmospheric and interesting pictures!

    Who are your London photographer inspirations?

    I love Joceyln Baine Hogg’s work on London Gangsters, David Moore, Leonie Hampton’s work about her mother’s OCD.. 

    Three pieces of advice you’d give a photographer visiting London?

    1. People are friendlier than you think… ask people if you can take their photograph, they might well say yes!
    2. Don’t worry about looking silly while you get the right composition, you could ride round the circle line dressed as a giant pineapple and no-one would blink an eyelid in this city, anything goes!
    3. Bear in mind that the light changes from one second to another!

    Foto Ruta London will be running photography tours and interactive events in Britain’s capital. The first event, Foto Ruta Clue, an interactive clue based exploration will take place on June 21st – visit the Foto Ruta London website for more information

    Jessie Akin will be hosting Foto Ruta London events and tours and can be contacted at jessie@foto-ruta.co.uk


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