Portraits of Mama Jinx Collective for AnOther Magazine.
‘For the first time in London’s gritty, glamorous history, every pub and club is quiet. In the evenings and at the weekends, the streets are no longer filled with the sound of revellers; people talking, laughing, dropping glasses, and shouting at strangers. Not even the Blitz bombings of the Second World War put a stop to this; nor to the singers, dancers and vaudeville performers who faithfully put on their gladrags and found a low-lit stage on which to perform. But Covid-19 has brought London’s nightlife to its knees. For the performance collective Mama Jinx, who are photographed here, this has proved fatal.
Originally a collaboration between Ellie Walker, the group’s founder and creative director, and the photographer Katie Eleanor, this series of portraits was intended to be celebratory. But as pandemic continued to take its toll, and as the series’ title suggests, Ghosts of the Stage has become something of a theatrical in memoriam. “A funeral of our past lives,” as Walker puts it. Eleanor’s last project, The Sialia Marbles, explored the idea of the tableaux vivant by bringing human bodies as marble sculptures, performative and ephemeral, into a monumental space. “It was a study of sculptures in their own fictional isolation as well as interacting in our shared reality,” she says. For this project, she felt that the photograph could offer a similar performative frame. “I wanted the images to become an ode to these artists and the spaces they can no longer inhabit.”’