There were 210 homicides in London between 2011 and 2012, and Antonio Olmos has photographed the site of each one. Seventy-nine of those scenes are featured in the photographer's new book, The Landscape of Murder.
He began the project when a woman near his house was killed by her boyfriend. The story never made it onto the local news; it hardly registered with Olmos's neighbors. This made the photographer realize that other unreported tragedies were happening all the time. He took to the streets to document each one himself.
First, he visited the local police for reports of homicides. He'd wait a couple of days (Olmos wasn't interested in dead bodies or gruesome scenes) before visiting each site. That delay also meant not having to worry about crowds or police telling him to stand behind yellow tape.
When Olmos encountered mourners, he'd ask them permission to photograph the scene. "It was very hard approaching people who were going through that," Olmos says. "Surprisingly, most said yes after I explained myself and my project." Some did say no, leaving him to come back a few days later.
Olmos figured his collection would end up looking rather dramatic. "I am surprised how quiet the majority of photographs are," he says.
Spending so much time absorbed in London's day-to-day tragedies gave Olmos a much better sense of how the city looks at its own problems. "Domestic violence is a greater problem in London than gang violence but gang violence gets way more attention," he says, adding that if you ask a typical Londoner, "they will attribute most murders to drugs and gang violence. But those are the murders the media highlights."
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