THE EMPTY CENTRE

Returning to Britain in 2017 for my first extended visit after several decades away, I see my native land to some extent with the eyes of a foreigner. This is also a time of national disquiet. While the country and its leaders wrestle with the absurdity of Brexit, the indelible burned-out Grenfell tower symbolizes a social fabric shredded by bonanza capitalism, de-industrialization, and the politics of division.

The brittle glitz of provincial British city centres, sadly pretentious and socially bereft, seems to me an image of - and a factor in - these discontents. U.K. cities have been dramatically shaped by industry, bomb damage, city planning, commercial development, and British social structures. Their formal and visual characteristics reflect this past - but also construct the present and future of the nation and its citizens. At night the emptiness of these spaces registers most clearly. Fragments of older city juxtapose with recent constructions. Night-club patrons and homeless people bedded-down in doorways often provide the only human presence.

The photographs are taken with a digital medium-format camera and printed large to show their texts (some are not readable at web size), which often supply the titles.

Full Statement

Clothed On With Chastity, Coventry

Medieval City Wall, Great Yarmouth

It Is An Offence, Manchester

Like A Thousand Other Cities, Liverpool

Paradise Square, Sheffield

I Am The Way, Manchester

Multi-story Car Park/Unisex Toilets, Norwich

2 Paradise Square/Action Antifasciste, Liverpool

A New Community For Norwich

East Anglian Bangladeshi Mosque And Community Centre/Flaunt, Norwich

Keep Your Bike Safe, Sheffield

M&S/Saint Stephens. Norwich

Junk Yard Golf/Minshull Street Crown Court. Manchester

Beauty, Manchester

Toys 'R' Us, Norwich

Britain's Ocean City, Plymouth

Orwell River Cruises, Ipswich

Selfridges, Birmingham

69, 70, 71, Bristol

Zebedee's Yard/Princes Quay, Kingston Upon Hull

Cultural Quarter 6 Min, Liverpool

05, 06, 07, Cardiff

Primark/The Bluecoat Arts Centre, Castle FIne Art, Liverpool