Liquid City documents the collaboration between Iain Sinclair and photographer Marc Atkins and their eccentric, manic, often moving explorations of London’s hidden streets, cemeteries, canals, parks, pubs and personalities. Consisting of striking, atmospheric photographs by Atkins, including many new additions, and with a new introduction by Sinclair, the book focuses on London’s eastern and southeastern quadrants. An array of famous and lesser-known writers, booksellers and film-makers slip in and out of Sinclair’s annotations, as do memories and remnants of the East End’s criminal mobs, as well as physical landmarks as diverse as the Thames Barrier and Karl Marx’s grave in Highgate Cemetery.
‘Stunning photographs . . . Atkins's use of eye, paper and chemicals is an alchemical homage to the mystery of light and dark.’ – Jah Wobble, Independent on Sunday
‘Liquid City is . . . Alice in Wonderland for urban intellectuals, a book that just gets curiouser and curiouser. Which is what makes it so particular, of course, and so utterly alluring.’ – Melanie McGrath, London Evening Standard
‘In their previous collaboration Lights Out For The Territory Marc Atkins’ few dark, brooding photographs added focus to Iain Sinclair’s dense, impressionistic, psychogeographical formulations about the city in which he loves to drift. Here Atkins’ penetrating black and white portraits and his beautiful, troubling shots of a London we forget we know dominate. Sinclair adds occasional pieces in a lighter, more journalistic prose than readers of his wonderful, overwrought novels might expect, discussing Atkins, or one of his photographs, and their mutual project of attempting to pin down the story that is London. And he writes about other scribes (Peter Ackroyd, Michael Moorcock, John Healy) who share his fascination with one of the world’s great cities. This attempt to articulate a truth about a space is an impossible project, and it is impossible to hold a fixed position on it – as the title Liquid City suggests. Sinclair and Atkins know this (Sinclair praises his friend for creating flux whereas his writing tries to “mould wriggling chaos”) but the project proves worthwhile as it has produced words and some remarkable pictures that only such a troubled engagement could engender. This is a visual feast of contemporary photojournalism, in which Atkins’ visions and Sinclair’s words help the reader perceive a London that can easily be walked past daily.’ – Mark Thwaite, Amazon.co.uk
'The London landscape that Atkins and Sinclair conjure up is a haunted one, and I suspect their imagery will continue to haunt readers long after they close this book. I have no doubt that this will become accepted as one of the most essential texts for anyone who cares for London.’ – Joe Kerr, Blueprint Magazine
Marc Atkins is a freelance photographer whose work has been exhibited across Europe and North America, and published in books and magazines worldwide. Iain Sinclair is known for his ‘dense, impressionistic, psychogeographical formulations’ of London in books such as London Overground: A Day’s Walk around the Ginger Line (2015), and London Orbital (2002).