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British Elections Become Public Photo Project

by Johnny Simon on May 5, 2010 · 7 comments

Simon Roberts, a fine art photographer with a documentary touch, has been commissioned by the British government to produce an “artistic reaction” to the upcoming British election.  Dubbed “The Election Project,” it’s a great undertaking, but don’t worry: he isn’t doing the whole election himself.

The Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art has previously selected two other artists in the last ten years to produce art related to the election, but this is the first time a photographer has been selected.  To sweeten the deal, Roberts, in good democratic fashion, has asked the entire British public to join him.  Looking for “an alternative photographic vision alongside my own,” Roberts has opened up the floodgates and people have been submitted hundreds of photos of political events.

This is all very interesting to see from across the pond as Americans, since our federal government has rarely commissioned an entire art project for a national event.   The closest thing that comes to mind is the Farm Security Administration’s photographic documentation of the Great Depression.  The work produced by FSA photographers like Dorthea Lange and Walker Evans served as a reaction to those difficult times, but also provided generations of the future with a compelling artifact.

Roberts intends to take a selection of photographs, both his and the publics’ and produce a gallery exhibition in the House of Commons.  For now, check out the Election Project’s website and view the public gallery.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Als Simmons May 6, 2010 at 10:28 pm

here's my election prediction. I took the picture today and it wa pretty symbolic. what do u think?…

Sam March 8, 2011 at 11:43 am

British based documentary photographer and film maker Pogus Caesar launches new book 'Sparkbrook Pride'.

The foreword has been specially written by poet, author and activist Benjamin Zephaniah

'Sparkbrook Pride' consists of 70 black-and-white photos of residents of Sparkbrook, Birmingham, Great Britain – where Pogus grew up – all taken with his trademark Canon Sureshot camera.

In the foreword Zephaniah says “I love the 'rawness' of these photos, they have a sense of place, yet nothing is staged, and the only information Pogus gives us about those featured is how they define themselves, nothing more. We need no more. So people – it is down to us to piece together the rest of this multicultural puzzle”.

Last Autumn Pogus visited Sparkbrook several times, and the striking images in 'Sparkbrook Pride' are the result. Documenting the diverse individuals who live and work in the area, the book features both the long-standing residents from the West Indies, Ireland, India and Pakistan and the more recent additions to the community from Somalia, Sudan, Malawi and Afghanistan, celebrating the rich cultural mix that defines the area.

Book details. Paperback, perfect bound, 160 pages, 70 black and white photographs, 11.6 x 8.2 x 0.8 inches. ISBN: 978-0-9566741-1-1

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