Wednesday, 28 May 2008

We English

Is a new long term project by Simon Roberts. Simon's last book "Motherland" which was a extensive look at Russia carried out over a year beginning in 2004, was well received and has no doubt helped in finding funders (including Arts Council England, Fujifilm O2 The Caravan Club) for this, another long term study. This time though he is pointing his camera's at England. This then should be a whole different kettle of fish. I found this quote over on his blog for the project. “We must live in a country and work there in order to understand its ways and customs – to travel through as a tourist is to see only clichés.” It came from Tony Ray-Jones and in some ways goes to contradict Robert's work in Russia, but also heaps much responsibility on his shoulders for this latest work, being the view of a native.
Another quote found on Simon's blog was this by Jeremy Paxman, “The English have not devoted a lot of energy discussing who they are. It is a mark of self-confidence: the English have not spent a great deal of time defining themselves because they haven’t needed to.”
Now in fairness to Mr Paxman that quote was made in 1999 but I don't think it could, in 2008 be any further from the truth. Not since the 60's has this nation been in such a state of flux, or in the throws of such an Identity crises. So Simon Roberts you have set yourself a difficult but noble challenge. Looking at your "Motherland" work I think it's in safe hands. I wish you well.
"Cry God for Simon, England & St George"

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