Sanctum Ephemeral


These pictures are about seeking sanctuary in the ephemeral. 

The context is also ephemeral. Property developers have cast a shadow over the homes in these photographs. 

I have pressing conversations with neighbours. We shed frustration. The impositions are beyond our control. Proposals beyond comprehension.

There’s nothing wrong with my house. Why do they want to knock it down? 

Words fail us. We feel impotent and angry.

People let me into their homes. I hear stories; gather evidence. Some of it makes sense. Some of it troubling. The rooms, the memories and the inhabitants reflect each other. Empty rooms as full as those overflowing. We talk about making pictures. We shape inanimate tableaus. An ephemeral trust develops. 

An old Jamaican man tells me…

When you wake you should knock three times on your pillow to remember your dreams.

I ask people about their dreams…

I speak with children. The world is their dream.

I speak with adults. Some want to know what happened. 

Others know their dreams are behind them and are more concerned about being awake.

I learn that everything is ephemeral and that if there is such a thing as sanctuary, it lies within this understanding.


Mark Aitken


To view or order a copy of the Sanctum Ephemeral book please scroll to the bottom of this page.


Winner: National Open Art 2017, 1st prize Photography



Torroella de Montgrí, Girona, November 2020

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, Jan - March 2019

M2 Gallery, London, July - Sept 2018

Portrait Salon 2017, London, November 2017

Royal Photographic Society 160, London, October 2017

Portrait of Britain 2017, UK wide, September 2017

On-site installation, Cressingham Gardens, London, Permanent

Photofusion Gallery, Brixton, London - June/July 2017

Elsewhere group show, Peckham 24, May. Photo London.


Reviews & Interviews

John McDougall review in Photomonitor

Zelda Cheatle review in Photomonitor

Kim Shaw interview in Photomonitor



Featured in The Guardian, The BBC, The i, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Culture Trip,

Loupe Magazine, The BBC, Brixton Buzz, The Times,



Special feature on arts radio Resonance fm


For print sales please contact.


Permanent installation around Cressingham Gardens Estate, London, SW22NJ


Sanctum Ephemeral Book.

View and order HERE


Or available from:

Parallax Photo Co-op, Brixton, London

Bookmongers, Brixton, London

The Photographers Gallery, London