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Sean Bulson LRPS
'BROKEN BRITAIN' - Photographs capturing aspects of the UK, post financial crises.
Britain is one of the worlds wealthiest nations, but also one of the hardest hit by the financial crises of 2008, and (since the 1980s) one of the most unequal. 'Broken Britain' reflects this social and economic malaise, and documents specific examples.
The project is ongoing, and currently divided into three main themes:
1) Many In High Water - life under pressure in the capital. For many 'Londoners', the recession has heightened the pressure often associated with life in the capital (e.g. via unemployment, job or financial insecurity). Documenting travellers on the London Underground presents a unique opportunity to capture this ‘anxiety’, and to photograph across age, class, gender and ethnic barriers. The viewer is invited to consider whether these individuals are just temporarily, or even momentarily, in 'high water'. Or, moreover, if the images reflect something more permanent; providing evidence of what maybe termed ‘the anxiety of modernity - that mix of inner autonomy and outer heteronomy’.*
2) Portas Pilot - Croydon. Documents the need for town centre renewal and the failure (thus far) to implement the recommendations of Mary Portas. Croydon was one of the epicentres of the 2011 riots and subsequently selected as one of UK's town centres most in need of regeneration. Twelve main pilot projects were set up by the government (i.e. Portas Pilots) each allocated £100,000. As revealed in a recent BBC Newsnight feature (02/13), less than 15% of this money has yet to be invested.
3) What goes around comes around… the decline of high rise housing and the out of town megastore. For different reasons, both these fixtures of twentieth century modernity are increasingly seen as outmoded. The irony is clear: the demolition of dysfuntional tower blocks, mirrors the post war demolition of 'slum housing' that helped create them; while online shopping undermines out of town stores, as large retail parks had earlier undermined town centres.
'Everything that is solid melts into air'. Although a project reflecting hard times, potential renewal maybe found in the dynamic, or transitory, nature of the subjects.
Sean Bulson MA
Photographer & Sociologist
© Sean Bulson. All image rights reserved.
*Gillian Rose (1993) ‘Judaism & Modernity’ (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers) p254