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.