Anyone who has spent time in London will recognise Craig Taylor’s Londoners. Taylor interviewed around 200 people who live, or lived, in the great metropolis – those who love it, those who hate it, those who were born there, those who chose it, those that stayed and those who ran away screaming and never looked back…

London can be a hard city to crack yet it accommodates an extraordinary diversity of people across class and ethnicity – a recent census revealed that over 300 languages are spoken in London and 37% of the population are foreign born. Cutting through the city like the famed Underground Taylor encounters real live examples of this diversity – from professional squatters and Big Ben loving drug addicts to idealistic bee keepers, bewildered refugees, jaded policemen, and even the voice behind the Tube announcements (‘Mind the Gap’).

Each of these interviews reveal a different viewpoint of the city – from these fleeing encounters and disparate fragments a portrait is created of contemporary London. While Taylor does not attempt to be definitive,  his portrait of the city in all its density, contradiction and flux captures the essence of the place – finally London makes sense. Amusing, poignant, inspiring and disturbing, Taylor’s Londoners decodes the city like nobody else and is as essential for would-be migrants as the Oyster card.

Londoners by Craig Taylor, published by Granta.