THE EMPTY CENTRE

My practice centers around challenges and burdens imposed by history. Last summer, during my first extended visit to Britain in several decades, I saw my land of origin with foreign eyes and also with a native’s concern. As the country and its leaders wrestle with the absurdity of Brexit, the burned-out Grenfell tower stands as an indelible symbol of a social fabric shredded by bonanza capitalism, de-industrialization, and the politics of division.

The brittle glitz of provincial British city-centres, pretentious and socially bereft, seems to factor into and at the same time image these discontents. After WW2, bomb damage was used as a pretext to replace organic communities with destinations: roads, parking structures, office blocks, and shopping-centres. At night the emptiness of these developments registers clearly. I photographed in a number of cities last summer.

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.

During a second visit recently I began to make night portraits of homeless people, whose rapidly increasing numbers in these spaces represents the interpenetration of affluence and desperation that is becoming, even in the wealthiest countries, the hallmark of our times.

Full Statement

Cultural Quarter 6 Min, Liverpool

Orwell River Cruises, Ipswich

Britain's Ocean City, Plymouth

Open Eye and Tate Gallery, Liverpool

Pig and Whistle, Norwich

Albion Place, Southampton

Western Esplanade, Southampton

Paradise Square, Sheffield

Multi-story Car Park/Unisex Toilets, Norwich

Sixth Form College, West Bromwich

Toys 'R' Us, Norwich

Medieval City Wall, Great Yarmouth

2 Paradise Square/Action Antifasciste, Liverpool

East Anglian Bangladeshi Mosque And Community Centre/Flaunt, Norwich

It Is An Offence, Manchester

Keep Your Bike Safe, Sheffield

Barrack Lane, Cardiff

Clothed On With Chastity, Coventry

Donna and Rogan, Exeter

Paul, Exeter

Anthony and Aaron, Leeds

Sue, Leeds