an exhibition curated by Vanda Lengyel
photographed by The Orbital Strangers Project
They say birds of a feather flock together, just as people who click tend to stick together. With this in mind, perhaps the best way to introduce someone is through their portraits of close friends. This exhibition not only tells a story about Vanda but about London and the people the city has given her. When she first arrived, London represented both the unknown and a brand new start. She has lived in many places and travelled all over the world. All of these cities enriched her life in their own way but were unable to offer everything her soul craved.
London is a different case entirely. It is complex, layered and vast in every sense and immediately puts a newcomer’s openness to the test. It probes your ability to dive into its interconnected layers and experience the hidden insights. It is the lens of the outsider that determines the extent to which they can let the experiences humble them and broaden their horizons.
"I clearly recall a long walk during my first week in the city. I was heading from Dalston to Clapham on a sunny afternoon when I was suddenly hit by the vastness of London, the extent of the unknown and the level of my isolation. The city seemed like a glossy bubble with coloured layers clinging together in front of my eyes in the sunshine. Dazzled, I was determined to become an insider. I dived in..."
Although London is not always an obvious beauty, it readily gives up its secrets over time if approached with an open heart and mind. Over the past six years, this melting pot has revealed itself to her through people and their life stories and has given her real friends. When she looks at them, she sees the stories they shared and the journey that she took, both physically and emotionally, that led her to become a Londoner.