Meet Joseph Markovic. Apart from going to Brighton once, Joseph never left London. For 86 and a half years. He loved Nicolas Cage, had his tea with five sugars, and if it ever came to that, he would have married a six-foot Hispanic woman.
Now meet Martin Usborne. A professional photographer and founder of Hoxton Mini Press. After an unlikely, and accidental meeting with John, he spent 2 years documenting his life – recording Joe’s wonderful world filled with imagination. A series of his portraits, his thoughts & experiences was born.
‘I’ve lived in London for 86½ years’ was published by Hoxton Mini Press, which is an independent East London publisher of collectible photography books, in 2014 and instantly became a local cult classic. As Mr Markvic never left the area, each photograph from the book was taken around popular East London locations.
In 2017, on the year that Joseph would’ve turned 90 years old, Clubhouse, an independent creative studio delivering insight-led campaigns, interactive platforms and content for brands, set out to create an immersive experience that invites its visitors to step into Joseph’s world which he revealed to Martin Usborne. 86andahalfyears.com captures the purity and authenticity of the original book; shown through the eyes of both of the protagonists in a modern and immersive way – through a digital, multisensory website.
Inspired by the format of the book, 86½ Years uses a double narrative, taking the user on a digital journey through Joe’s life whilst getting to know how he played a key role in changing Martin Usborne’s. Each chapter split into two parts uses an unusual way of progressing forward: an eye-tracking technology. You control the story either by holding a spacebar, or if you have a webcam, by opening and closing your eyes. When you decide to use your eyes, you will get a full taste of the intuitive technology which is quietly working in the background and enhancing not only the narrative but the unusual feeling of being really there.
Simply close your eyes and step fully into the world of Joe’s imagination. Once you are ready and without any distractions, Joe begins to share his thoughts and feelings from an eclectic mix of topics ranging from money to relationships and the Universe. Try it out by yourselves or scroll below for more interesting information about the sound and user interface, which were designed to provide a frictionless browsing experience. Moreover, they only fade into the background as the viewer focuses on the important parts of the story; the sound, the words and the photographs.
As the original photographs from the book have been brought to life for the first time, through moving image. Martin Usborne describes their uniqueness: “An element of my own loneliness exists in the photos of Joseph. A good photographic portrait always captures two people: the subject & the person taking the picture.”
In addition to bringing the photography to life, Foley sounds were captured at each of the East-London locations where the original photographs were taken. Together they complete a full-sensory experience that honours the authenticity and spirit of the original journal.
Bring an evocative soundtrack to the mix and you get a wonderful experience worth spending more time on. The soundtrack was selected to fit alongside the photographer’s memories of the day. It was recorded on a local, open-back stand-up piano and the music was composed to represent the conversation that took place between Joe & Martin.
From concept through to release the project took Clubhouse 11 weeks to complete, but it’s a story that’s been 90 years in the making…
Dan Coppock, the Co-founder at Clubhouse Studios, perfectly sums up the unique project about Joseph’s (extra)ordinary life: “Every single element of the ‘86 ½ Years’ experience was designed, written, built, recorded, shot and composed in East London, where Joseph was born, raised and lived his whole life. As an East London studio alongside Hoxton Mini Press, it was important for Clubhouse that the project honoured the authenticity of the original story, and Joseph’s clear love for the area and the people within it.”
Client: Hoxton Mini Press
Agency: Club House