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Photographer Minnie Weisz, the sister of actress Rachel, might share the creative gene with her elder sibling, but rather than inhabiting a world of red carpets and plush trailers, she has made tumbledown houses and disused railway platforms her stomping grounds. The 33-year-old takes haunting images of the dilapidated Victorian buildings around London’s Kings Cross railway station, many of which have been condemned as part of plans to regenerate the area. “It was a really desolate wasteland that felt undiscovered,” says Weisz, who is currently showing at London’s The Little Black Gallery through January. “You’d see prostitutes late at night, but now people are discovering it in the day. I came across all these buildings that were abandoned and empty and decaying and had the idea that my work could be a social history of them.”
FAMILY TIES: Though Weisz says that growing up she and her sister “were left to our own devices” to discover their respective vocations, she draws some parallels between their chosen careers. “[Rachel] tells stories, and I listen to people’s stories.”
This story first appeared in the December 16, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
FORMER LIFE: Before embarking on a career in photography, Weisz did a stint as picture editor of Cheap Date, Bay Garnett’s fashion zine that became a champion of thrifting. “It was very much lampooning the establishment,” says Weisz, who trained at the London College of Printing and the Royal College of Art.
DAY JOB: In addition to her photography, Weisz stays busy as the U.K. editor for the New York publishing house Rizzoli. She recently worked on a tome by her sister’s pal, Narciso Rodriguez.
IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK: Weisz uses a camera obscura technique, blacking out the rooms so the often eerie images of the uninhabited spaces appear to have the area’s gritty scenery projected onto their walls. But sometimes her subjects can prove chilling even before she applies her photographic aesthetic. While working in the Victorian Kings Cross area (artist Peter Doig was a former resident before the buildings were torn down earlier this year), she found a death certificate in one of the rooms of a rundown hotel. “It was really creepy,” she says. “[My work] is really about the building and what it dictates. What’s happened there…starts to create a narrative.”
UP NEXT: Weisz has books on Matthew Williamson and Norman Parkinson in the pipeline. She also has plans to create an art installation at a rundown north London house where poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul-Marie Verlaine once holed up for a summer. Meanwhile, her own studio will morph into a gallery space, called 123 Pancras Road. “It’s going to be about supporting young artists. It’s such a melting pot here,” she says.