The Painted Lady of Soho

May 4, 2011

Back in 2009, there was a little lady nicknamed Soho Pam who walked around Soho most nights asking for change. If you gave her some, she’d often ask if you wanted to buy a picture of her for a bit extra. I did. She told me that someone had come up to her in the street, asked if he could paint her and she agreed. When it was done, she took a photo of the finished result, and ordered loads of reprints from the negative.

If you give her a couple of quid, you get a picture of the lady you just gave it to.

Everyone should do this – if someone does you a favour, give them a painting someone’s done of you. That way, over time, they’d end up with a visual record of all the people they’d ever been nice to, and when they’re old, they can warm their cockles looking over their gallery.

Update: It was reported in early January 2013 that Soho Pam, the lady who handed out these photos, had died. Over the years, she had become one of Soho’s most familiar street faces – anyone stepping outside for a smoke on a night out would almost be guaranteed to have Pam bobble over at some point to cadge some change. The photo below comes from a Twitter account in her name.


Here’s the Telegraph’s obituary of Pam from January 2013.

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