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.
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
Anthony and Aaron, Leeds