mailing out UK now /Europe from 22nd sept 2021
This is my new book about all of England, with 750 different titles!
Each book is hand finished and has an original painted cover..
i was inspired to return from Lisbon in 2016 by the Brexit referendum result, i spent three years travelling up, down and across England. i also bring together some older images and writing about the country of my birth. A few of the images go back 20 years, somehow stuck to me like limpets.
It's as messy as the subject, though i've made something that has pushed my writing to the fore to be more precise, to use the picture book to make clearer political/social responses.
This has challenged me creatively enormously, both in the scope of the pictures and in the necessity of doing the design, edit, writing and artworks myself. i never want to sit on my arse for as long again..
In making sense of such a subject; so big and small at the same time .. i've enjoyed and been tortured in turn. The subject is imagined and yet physical , a political concept and yet a binding unit, a set of conventions and codes, shared and debated histories. Those states themselves mirror the ambiguity that England as any country feels about its self, also our individual egos know these self-love/hate tensions.
An unfashionable photographic subject, something so grand;
But i made this because the left has shirked from these questions of nationhood and identity, producing a vacuum which the right has exploited so ruthlessly and left us here, declining and now isolated.
I made this too because the formative moments of my life were here during rave culture and i have never felt so optimistic and proud to be English. It was a country where the social codes and order could be re-written and shown by example to work through music and drugs.
Did we lose the DIY spirit, how did we commercially assimilate all this and yet remove its socially transformative power?
why do i still care? this became a journey to find out about my country, so i could say stuff ..even the historic narratives of England's roles in the world that i always believed have been unravelling in my head this past five years.
i had no choice basically ...
theres a great essay by Johny Pitts too, where he says all his stuff far more eloquently than i ..