It is rare to find a working photographer who thoroughly discusses the role that identity plays in our lives. It is even more rare for that photographer to explore the delicate relationship that modern political and economic turmoil has on formulating an even more complex identity. How did the credit crunch change human behaviour in England? In Britain? Were the protesters at St. Pauls effective? What does unemployment actually look like? It appears like a whirl wind of unanswerable questions that even the best economists and sociologists can only begin to apprehend, let alone attempt to solve. These are just a few questions raised by Simon Roberts’ new exhibition opening today at Swiss Cottage Gallery called ‘Let This Be A Sign’. It is refreshing to see a photographer dedicated to following the course of the global economic shifts. Even though Roberts’ work examines the affects these shifts have on a domestic level, his work reflects a larger international consciousness of uncertainty and chaos.
By promoting this exhibition by Roberts as one of the first for the London Festival of Photography a high precedence is set. This show will most certainly be a powerful introspective look at how individual lives are changed by seemingly distant and unpredictable forces within the political and economic spheres. Even more importantly, this show provides a platform for many more talented photographers included in this years lineup to explore similar issues throughout the time of the festival.
The beginnings of the London Festival of Photography are rooted in the development and exploration of street photography. This year the world has changed, crisis and economic challenges have presented and the festival will also change by taking a new look at how these elements have influenced the world of photography. The organization aims to look more closely at conceptual and documentary photography while maintaining a strong connection to investigate street photographic practices. For artists like Roberts and many others this provides an ideal opportunity to delve into a deeper realm of possibilities and explore the intricacies of how images are created and perhaps present work that can more acutely portray the challenges of the modern era. The London Festival of Photography is this months ticket. The exhibitions on offer are so extensive that many of them will be running through July and into August. Alongside many great shows displaying the best in British and International Photography events are scheduled throughout with festival with a chance to engage with many of the photographers presenting through lectures, portfolio reviews and masterclasses. See the London Festival of Photography website for more information and continue to follow updates on Artlyst as the exciting events unfold.
Words : by: Portia Pettersen Image by: Simon Roberts