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East London 2012: Diego Indraccolo

In Dazed & Confused's May issue we speak to local creatives as shot by Jamie Hawkesworth about their opinions and thoughts on the future of east London

As part of Dazed & Confused's 'Is East London Dead?' issue this April and Dazed Digital's 'A Secret History of East London' project, we spoke to a few of the local creatives who have seen the area change over the last 15 years. Here we present the full interview with photographer Diego Indraccolo about his life living in east London and thoughts on the future of the area. Get involved with our memory timeline HERE.

Dazed Digital: Who are you and what do you do for a living?
Diego Indraccolo: I am a refugee from Naples, Italy. I'm also a fashion photographer.

DD: Where in east London are you based? 
Diego Indraccolo: I live on the ‘murder mile’ in Clapton.

DD: What first attracted you to the area and how long have you been working here?
Diego Indraccolo: The appeal when I first got here three years ago was how much more space I could get for the same amount I used to pay for my studio in Camden. But that was it really! All I knew back then was how rough and dangerous East London could get. I guess I had a pretty warped idea of the place. I had no idea it was to be one of the trendiest areas of London.

DD: How has east London changed the most since you've been here? Why do you think that is?
Diego Indraccolo: Well... Now there's more vegan cafes around. You can normally find them next to the fried chicken shops... I guess a lot of the new crowd really like vegetables.

DD: What is the most exciting part of your local creative community? 
Diego Indraccolo: It's got to be the mix of people from different social, racial, religious and economic backgrounds. It creates this almost surreal atmosphere in which everything is possible. 

DD: Has the area informed your creative work at all and if so, how?
Diego Indraccolo: The most obvious manifestation of how the area has effected my work is shown in the locations I've been able to find and use for my shoots, but I think it goes deeper then that. I suppose east London is such a unique place that, once it's under your skin, it affects anything you do. Innit?

DD: Is it possible to say ‘Silicon Roundabout’ aloud without laughing?
Diego Indraccolo: So long as we get to have an equivalent of Porn Valley as well, then I can live with that. How about ‘Porn Estate’? Obviously it would be government-subsidised.

DD: What's your favourite East End hangout?
Diego Indraccolo: Anything in and around Netil House, where I work. There's a great cafe on the second floor, with nice events and live music on the weekends. Netil House also organises parties occasionally on the roof and in their event space on the ground floor. There's a lot of chilled places on Broadway Market just a minute away and, in the summer, the all time favorites: the park and the canal!

DD: Does anything annoy you about the area? If so, what? 
Diego Indraccolo: I'm sure no one is pleased about the way rents are massively increasing in the area. Of course prices go up everywhere in London, but around here, you can tell it is disproportionate. It means all the people who made the area so interesting and buzzy will have to move further out if they don't have a lucrative business running. I guess Stratford will soon be the next place to be. Oh God!  

DD: What are you going to do during the Olympics – stay or flee? Why?
Diego Indraccolo: Flee. I can't afford to lose any more weight and just thinking about sport makes me sweat. 

DD: Is east London dead?
Diego Indraccolo: If anything, it's undead.

Dazed Digital invites you to map your east London memories on our timeline, 'A Secret History of East London'. Get involved HERE!

Photo by Jamie Hawkesworth