Celebrating Camden Road’s foodies
11th July 2019
Professional photographer Steve Fuller usually takes wedding and portrait pictures but lately he’s been inspired by the diverse and creative mix of businesses that populate Camden Road. Here he explains more about why he decided to capture the characters of this unique street…
Camden Road in my lovely home town of Tunbridge Wells is a place that is definitely worth exploring if you’re not already familiar with it. As a Tunbridge Wells-based photographer I wanted to create a little personal project about this unique road so I set about taking pictures of its many residents and sharing their personal stories with a wider audience.
Camden Road is pretty special in that you will find a veritable treasure trove of independent shops, run by some of the most dedicated and hard-working folk around. Friends of mine own and run their own stores, and so I hear first-hand about the sheer graft that goes into making a business successful.
As I know all too well, being self-employed is both incredibly rewarding and lots of hard work, but when you factor in elements like leasing a shop, big outgoings like business rates, paying staff and all the other things that go into a venture before you actually make a profit, then you begin to get an idea of what lengths owners go to in pursuing their dream.
Each store in Camden Road is distinctively different and has always interested me, so I’ve been planning this project for a while now. I wanted to choose a handful of stores at random and to shoot a single portrait of the characters who run them, whilst also discovering their personal story and the journey they’re currently on.
Plenty of coffee places adorn every town I visit, but strangely very few get it right. These boys, Lelio and Ami, get it right. Their café Gusta has been running now for four and a half years and Ami started it up originally with Leilo’s brother Mirlo.
The boys originally trained as baristas in their home town of Naples and now they bring their great culinary skills to Camden Road. It’s always great to see friends running a successful business together. Visitors will always be sure of a happy welcome and a superb cup of coffee! www.gusta.org.uk
Something that is a rare sight in a modern high street these days is a quality greengrocer, so when Locality started up six years ago by the folk at Dowingbury Farm it was a welcome addition to Camden Road.
Niall Clarke (pictured) started here 18 months ago and filled me in on the original ethos when Locality started up, which was primarily to source all their produce from Kent and Sussex – and they still do it today. A 3am visit three times a week to New Covent Garden market is the norm in order to ensure the shop stocks the best fresh produce and minimum wastage. www.localitytwells.co.uk
For more Camden Road Stories see Steve Fuller’s website
Steve Fuller also shoots children’s fine art portraiture and natural family photography which can be seen over on his other site www.gingercatstudios.co.uk