Photography Exhibition | Simon Roberts
PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION DATES
10 APRIL – 22 MAY 2015
Tuesday 12 May, 19:00
To coincide with the upcoming General Election, Photofusion are pleased to present a photography exhibition of the series The Election Project by photographer Simon Roberts.
In 2010, Roberts was selected as the official British Election Artist, an appointment made by the House of Commons and commissioned by the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art, to create an historic record of the UK General Election. Simon was the first photographic artist to be chosen.
Traversing the length and breadth of the country in a motorhome during the official 24 days of electioneering, Roberts aimed to capture as many political parties, in as wide a variety of constituencies as possible.
In the spirit of We English he continued to use a tripod-mounted, large format plate camera, often shooting from the top of his vehicle. This allowed him a wide field of view, far removed from the up close and personal shots that are familiar from news media.
Greg Hobson, Curator of Photographs at the National Media Museum, shares the loaded moment of a single image in his exhibition essay:
“Roberts serendipitously captured Gordon Brown encountering Gillian Duffy in Rochdale. All the elements of a theatrical play are here in one photograph: the grinning man in the red tie at the bottom of the photograph clearly finds the confrontation amusing; the security service officials are alert and aware; Brown’s personal press aides are looking out for a potentially damaging intervention; bored ex-offenders go about their business of cleaning the bridleway, a media opportunity arranged for the Labour leader’s visit to the town. Meanwhile, centre stage, Gordon Brown is harangued by Duffy, whom, moments later, he would describe as a “bigoted woman.”
Roberts’ exhibition at Photofusion will feature a selection of the large-format colour tableaux photographs from the final 25 images that form the project in its entirety, each having represented a day spent on the campaign (plus a final image capturing an extra day focused on the coalition talks).
As an antithetic yet complementary accompaniment to the work, Roberts also encouraged public participation in the project. He invited people to visually express their opinions on the campaign by uploading their own photographs to a special website created for the purpose (www.theelectionproject.co.uk).
A selection of the 1,696 images submitted will be presented on a monitor within the gallery and Photofusion will set up a live twitter feed for the public to add their 2015 election photographs under the hashtag #theelectionproject.
Reflecting on the public’s contributions to the project, Sean O’Hagan, critic at The Guardian, wrote in his essay:
“Amid the humour and the simmering anger, a definable kind of English eccentricity still seems to be the order of the day. Where else would you find a Del Boy look-alike on the campaign trail? (He was wandering around Barking and Dagenham on behalf of UKIP, and S Anderson caught him sharing a joke with some Sikh shopkeepers.) Where else, too, would you find a photograph of a street named Crooked Usage? It’s in Finchley and local, Julia Hines, posted the street sign with the caption, “Expenses are still a big topic on our street.”
The Election Project is not only an important snapshot and archive of a particular time in British UK politics, but also offers a wider survey of British people and the landscapes they inhabit, a theme that permeates much of Roberts’ work.
Photofusion is grateful to the Parliamentary Art Collection who kindly loaned the works for exhibition.
Artist talk & in-conversation with Paul Halliday
Tuesday 12 May, 19.00
Free for Members (£5.00 non-members)
Simon Roberts will be in-conversation with Goldsmiths MA Photography and Urban Cultures course leader Paul Halliday, discussing The Election Project photographs and reflecting on the general election results.