100 Faces of London



Press resources

  1. 1.Images (photographs)

  2. 2.About the project & exhibition

  3. 3.About the photographer

  4. 4.Background & Technical

  5. 5.About the heritage book

  6. 6.Sponsorship

All photographs (including the 100 portraits) can be reproduced as per the conditions below.

Any of the text below can be used by publishers and may be edited and abbreviated, as necessary, but every effort must be made to avoid any alteration in meaning.   If you require additional information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  Further information can be also be found on the other pages of this website.

Contact details:

All photographs:  copyright © Milan Svanderlik - London - UK

Updated:  22nd April 2012

1.  Images (photographs)

All 100 portraits published on this website can be used, free, in any publicity material that relates to the ‘100 Faces of London’ project.   However, portraits are NOT PERMITTED to be reproduced in any form without the sitter’s name or without reference to ‘100 Faces of London’;  copyright details must be included.

All other photographs on this website can be used, free, in any publicity associated with the ‘100 Faces of London’ project but must include copyright details.

Images on the website are, of course, of a very low resolution;  to obtain a high-resolution image,   please send a request, indicating the required portrait’s unique number and name, or in the case of other photographs, the web page reference and image title to:


All photographs:  copyright © Milan Svanderlik - London - UK

2.  About the project & exhibition

100 FACES OF LONDON - Celebrating diversity through the photographer’s lens

by Milan Svanderlik

London is truly an extraordinary place and what perhaps makes it most extraordinary is the people who have been drawn here and who have made their home in the capital:  they have brought with them the most amazing diversity of traditions, cultures, and habits, of faiths, expectations and hopes, and these are reflected in the appearance of each and every one.

100 Faces of London features portraits of one hundred of these Londoners, reflecting the huge diversity of people who make up this great city of ours.   All photographed within a twelve-month period, mostly during 2010, the youngest sitter was 20 years old and the oldest 100, with every effort made to embrace a broad range of ethnic backgrounds.

From the very outset, the aim was to invite only ‘ordinary Londoners’ to join the project (ie Londoners who were not famous, who were not familiar personalities, politicians, or stars of stage and screen, all of whose faces would already have been frequently photographed and exhibited).   However, once the photography was completed, not one of the sitters, any of whom might have been seen in the capital’s streets, parks or theatre foyers, could have been accurately described as an ordinary Londoner;  they have all proved to be quite extraordinary people and personalities and, perhaps inevitably, a few of them do have significant profiles in the life of the capital.

It must also be emphasised that this was an artistic, not a commercial project.   To secure his 100 remarkable sitters, the photographer approached around 700 Londoners altogether (people whose faces he saw as striking in some regard) and, following a brief outline of the project, those who lived within the M25 were handed an envelope containing further information and an invitation to sit for a portrait.   Around one in ten responded positively and these were joined by another group of sitters identified through various networks, suggested by fellow sitters, or put forward via those organisations who were invited to identify the ‘uniformed sitters’.   Nevertheless, all the sitters were volunteers and kindly agreed to travel to a temporary studio in Chiswick, where they were photographed just as they were, or as they wished to present themselves.   Clothing, hairstyle, make-up, and jewellery were left entirely at the discretion of the sitter, with the least possible influence from the photographer.   The sittings often took several hours and the portraits were deliberately formal, designed to reveal the character and spirit of those who so richly illustrated the astonishing and delightful diversity which was the underlying inspiration for the project.

In addition to the prints displayed in this exhibition, a large-format ‘Heritage Book’ was also produced, comprising high-quality prints of all 100 portraits, printed by the photographer, using archival paper, printing inks that incorporate high-density pigments, and with a binding crafted for longevity.   In addition to the exhibition itself, Epson (UK) Ltd has generously part-sponsored the production of this ‘Heritage Book’, with the kind donation of the printing materials, and the volume has been accepted by the British Library at St Pancras, where it will be lodged within the photographic collections, to be retained for posterity.   For the duration of the exhibition, the ‘Heritage Book’ is on display in the main entrance foyer to the gallery.

This Crypt Gallery exhibition has only been made possible through the generosity of three principal sponsors:  St Martin-in-the-Fields has donated five weeks’ usage of the beautiful Crypt Gallery space; Epson (UK) Ltd has supplied all the printing materials at no charge; and Alvito Resource Ltd has printed all the images gratis and met many of the other exhibition costs.

3.  About the photographer

Milan Svanderlik – a botanist and later, a photographer – was born in Northern Bohemia, in 1948, and was educated partly in the former states of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, and partly in the UK.   He has lived and worked in Croatia, in Switzerland and for over 40 years in London.   A veteran observer of the extraordinary diversity and beauty of nature, people and life in general, Milan studied Botany abroad and Photography in London.   He has exhibited plant photographs in London’s Photographers’ Gallery.

Following his Photography studies in London, Milan went on to work for a number of years as a photographer for the British Government.   During this period, he progressed to manage a large media resources section within one of the nation’s most renowned academic and research establishments, with responsibility for graphic design, photography, imaging and associated services.   He moved the department into the digital age and, supported by a first-rate team, he also coordinated the production of scientific publications and books.

In addition to portraiture and plant studies, Milan’s photographic work encompasses travel photography, landscape, still life and photo-reportage. 

Though a lifelong observer of people in general, this is Milan’s first serious exploration of the diversity of the human face – in this instance, he has selected 100 sitters from amongst the inhabitants of his adopted city.  Though a photographic art form practised nowadays by only the few, formal studio portraiture was chosen quite deliberately, as Milan firmly believes that such portraits are as much the creation of the sitter as they are of the photographer.   His studio-based technique, with generous time allowed for each portrait, has engendered a closeness between sitter and photographer which is almost tangible in these images of Londoners.   Echoing a remark of the great Irving Penn, Milan says that a photographer working in this way cannot but help ‘fall in love a little’ with each of the sitters he observes through the lens.   Inner beauty and spirit are released, allowed to surface, and instantly captured, to be frozen for all time.

4.  Background & Technical

100 Faces of London was conceived only after many years of observation and reflection and, once adequate funds and time had been identified, it took some further months to explore what might be called the most suitable ‘photographic paradigm’ (lighting, lens, background etc) which would accommodate a very wide range of skin tones, yet maintain the coherence and uniformity required for a large sequence of images.  The project was finally launched at the beginning of 2010, with photography commencing in February of that year;  it was completed within twelve months, with the last image having been captured in January 2011.

The intention, realised through the now determined paradigm, was to create images of Londoners, quite formal portraits, where nothing, especially not the photographic technique, would detract from, or interfere with, the actual face itself.   Thus, all 100 images were captured using a Canon EOS 5D Digital camera, one simple light source, a single fixed-focus lens (a rather special Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II) and a neutral uniform background.   Quite deliberately, the lens was set at a wide aperture (f 4.0) creating a very shallow depth of field;  this allowed the eyes to be kept pin sharp with the rest of the face drifting softy out of focus.  The images were taken in maximum-resolution ‘RAW’ format.  They were then subject to only minimal digital intervention via Apple Aperture and Adobe Photoshop software.

All the images in the exhibition were printed by the photographer on an Epson Stylus Pro 3880, using advanced Epson ink-jet technology and UltraChome K3 inks with Vivid Magenta.   These inks incorporate high-density pigments, providing exceptional stability and longevity of the final image.  The paper used was Epson ‘Cold Press Natural’, which is an acid-free, 100% cotton rag paper, ideal for archival usage.   This combination of Epson ink and paper gives an exceptionally wide colour gamut, making it ideal for portraiture.

5.  About the heritage book

This ‘Heritage Book’ is an extraordinary production of archival quality.  It was conceived as a permanent record of the 100 Faces of London project, to be kept for posterity.   (One copy of this book can be viewed in the Crypt foyer, as part of the current St Martin’s Journeys exposition.)

Larger than A2 (450x620mm or 17x25 inches) the volume has been beautifully bound for longevity by a specialist company of bespoke bookbinders in Reading – Masters Bookbinding – who have employed traditional bookbinding techniques and acid-free materials wherever practicable, so as to impair as little as possible the archival quality of the images.   In its own protective ‘library case’ and with 110 pages, including high-quality prints of all 100 portraits, the tome weighs a hefty 20 kg, or around 44 lbs.   Only two copies have been produced, one of which is a gift to this great city, from the photographer and from all the Londoners who participated.

The images contained in this Heritage Book were printed by the photographer on an Epson ‘Stylus Pro 3880’ printer, using advanced Epson ink-jet technology and UltraChome K3 inks with Vivid Magenta.   These inks incorporate high-density pigments, providing exceptional stability and longevity of the final image.  The paper used was Epson ‘Cold Press Natural’, which is an acid-free, 100% cotton rag paper, ideal for archival usage. This combination of Epson ink and paper gives an exceptionally wide colour gamut, making it ideal for portraiture.

The 100 Faces of London Heritage Book will be officially presented to the British Library’s Lead Curator for Visual Arts, Mr John Falconer, during the exhibition’s opening ceremony on 12th June 2012 and will be permanently lodged within the Library’s photographic collections.

Epson (UK) Ltd very kindly agreed to be associated with the production of the Heritage Book and generously donated both the paper and the inks for printing;  this was undertaken by Alvito Resource Ltd at no charge.  Alvito Resource also paid for the binding and finishing of both the books.

6.  Sponsorship

The 100 Faces of London project is deeply indebted to:

St Martin-in-the-Fields, for making available, at no charge, the Crypt Gallery space for
a period of five weeks, for including the project as part of its major Journeys exposition, and for all the help and guidance so freely contributed by several key members of staff.

Epson (UK) Ltd, for their handsome sponsorship of both the exhibition and the production
of the two Heritage Books through the generous donation of all the printing inks and paper stock required.

Alvito Resource Ltd, for sponsoring the project in a variety of ways and particularly for making available all the photographic, lighting and associated studio equipment;  the hardware and software used for image processing;  and for the contribution of associated consumables.   All the images on display were printed on the company’s Epson Stylus Pro 3880, as were those contained in the Heritage Books.  The costs of binding and finishing these Books were also generously met by Alvito Resource, as were all the costs related to the mounting of the exhibition, graphic design, publicity and all associated costs.