Good Bye Joseph Markovitch

December 30, 2013

Joseph Markovitch, the man who inspired Hoxton Mini Press, has sadly passed away a few days shy of his 87th birthday.

He was born on new year's day, he died on boxing day. He was jewish but visited the church because he liked the people there. I don't know what that makes him but he was, in a slightly dilapidated way, a saint to me.

We met eight years ago on a hot day in Hoxton square and our friendship should never have happened. He carried a tattered plastic bag and an ill fitting jacket, I had a shiny camera and tight jeans. I was drawn to his face and through my camera and then our conversation I got to know him...and love him dearly.

I discovered that he never had a girlfriend, that he had lived in Hoxton all his life, that he had dreamt of being a ballet dancer but had to settle for making suitcases, that he was fascinated by Nicolas Cage, that he loved cinema more than anything but had not been to see a movie for over twenty years ...

So we went to many movies together. When an actor came onto the screen wearing a hat, even it was during a tense scene, he laughed loudly. He laughed during the stunts in James Bond. He adored Piranha 3DD - which he went to see with his elderly Christian friends from the church.

I would sometimes call Joe from far away places, once from the deserts of Jordan when I was on a shoot. He would laugh at my travels, finding my life vaguely ridiculous, and then tell me about a new coffee shop on Brick Lane or suchlike. This was far more interesting than a camel.

When he put down the phone he would say 'bye-bye' and then say it again a little more softly, and then once more as if he wanted to make sure he made a proper farewell.

I visited him in hospital a number of times over the last few months and his decline was painful but we said our goodbyes as well as we could.

I am grateful to all of you for taking an interest in this unique and wonderful man.

I shall miss him dearly.