England already has one extremely well-known Sherlock. The legendary Holmes himself. So it is worth asking, are we ready for another?
Turns out – yes. Meet Meredith Sherlock. She differs from the original Sherlock in many ways; she’s female for one. She’s alive, and she’s is not a work of literary fiction. Oh and she’s not actually from London. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, she says to me with contagious delight, “London was always the dream!” Living and working as a photographer for a year in the Big Smoke has been an electrifying experience. “London was terrifying to move to at first, you’re alone in this big city, you know no one… It was really a shocker!”
The polar contrasts between her native, new world Canada and our historical and handsome London come across in her work in a way that will light up even the most cynical of Londoners. Her photography makes me double take the city around me. I sit up and begin to peer at everything I thought I knew. Oxford Street springs to life like a real circus. Notting Hill houses feel like they’ve popped out of story books. Double-decker buses and black cabs spin red and black through streets like a roulette wheel.
Her art lies in pouncing upon the pedestrian; sniffing out then seizing a subject we thought we knew; then capturing it in such a way that it lifts you once again. The colours pop. The lighting is gentle. The details are sublime. Meredith’s pictures carry a soft femininity which gift-wraps our wily mistress London, and makes her welcoming, peachier and more pliable.
“I’m a very nostalgic person. I love the 1960s, the 1970s and 1980s, that’s my music taste; that’s what has always driven me and what I’m inspired by. I’m a big Beatles fan! It was just all very exciting, seeing the buses, the Big Ben, all the quintessentially English stuff. When you first get here you’re so wide-eyed and so amazed by everything! And I still feel that way sometimes! I’ll walk past Abbey Road and I’ll be getting chills!”
She retains the wide-eyed glory of seeing our churches and steeples, big city people, for the first time; London is like nothing else and nothing is like London. The intrigue, the hidey-holes – from the bits and bobs to the pomposity and grandiosity – it’s all delivered to us by Meredith with equal respect and excitement. It makes you want to run out of the door and become part of it. That’s her magic.
“Photography for me started when I was 13 years old, when I received a camera for my birthday. It’s sort of a tradition in Canada to have a cottage in the Northern part, so I always used to go there in the summer and I would photograph the landscapes. That was my first subject as a photographer. I’d be shooting sunsets and flowers, frolicking around with the camera, essentially. It wasn’t until I got my first wedding, (I think it was a wedding!) and I was paid for it. That sort of made me realise that I could pursue it as a career and do something I really did love for the rest of my life. From there I got recognised by Rolling Stone Magazine online, as well as National Geographic and I’ve recently been working with Boden.”
Completely self-taught so far, Meredith gets booked for weddings, portrait shoots and by companies with a lot of gravitas such as National Geographic (I feel I need to repeat this because hell, that’s the big-time!). A lot of her contacts she makes through social media, which she admits she loves. “I’ve found so many people through it, people have found me through it, companies that I work with have found me through it, I’m a bit of an Instagram addict! All of my friends here in London I’ve met through Instagram. There’s something so surreal about meeting someone who you only know through the internet. Social media has really set my social life out here.”
“I’d love to do travel photography.” She says, then shyly adds, “I don’t think I’d ever pursue fashion photography”. I look her over, and I know why. She’s far too sweet. A composed, charming and chatty girl in very red lipstick. She’s also startlingly bright; the first time we meet we mosey off the subject of photography and drift onto economics, politics, culture, trends… She’s well-informed. She’s eloquent. She’s got her finger on the pulse.
“I’m going to leave New York if Trump wins,” she laughs to me; “That’s where I’m going next. I’m starting my BA at Parsons School of New York this fall.”
“Wait,” I double-take, “How old are you?”
“18,” she says.
We look at each other. I don’t know whether to shrivel up and die, or jump up and shake her hand. To all the Sherlocks who raised this talented girl; I tip my cap to you. To Meredith Sherlock herself; you don’t need me to do anything, you’re on a winning streak already.
Please follow Meredith’s photographic residency at Londnr; or for more please visit her website.