In­vis­i­ble Bri­tain

Por­traits of Hope and Re­silience

Amateur Photographer - - 7 Days -

Fea­tur­ing the work of many dif­fer­ent award-win­ning and ac­com­plished doc­u­men­tary pho­tog­ra­phers, In­vis­i­ble Bri­tain is a hard-hit­ting look at life in mod­ern Bri­tain.

Against a back­drop of Brexit, aus­ter­ity and a coun­try ar­guably ever more di­vided, these are the tales of those tra­di­tion­ally marginalised by the main­stream me­dia, ne­glected by politi­cians and ig­nored by so­ci­ety. In fact, it’s a shame a book like this needed to be made in the first place.

The brain­child of film­maker Paul Sng, it also fea­tures a fore­word by the ac­tor and po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist Michael Sheen. It is, as is so of­ten the case these days, the re­sult of a suc­cess­ful crowd­fund­ing cam­paign. Writ­ing in the book, Sng says, ‘I started to think about how a book of por­traits and sto­ries might serve as a ve­hi­cle for peo­ple whose lives have been blighted by gov­ern­ment fail­ures and ne­glect to have their say. The idea was de­vel­oped to fo­cus on peo­ple af­fected by so­cial is­sues in­clud­ing aus­ter­ity, dein­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion, hous­ing, wel­fare cuts, and the rise in na­tion­al­ism and xeno­pho­bia.

Needless to say, In­vis­i­ble Bri­tain is not an easy read. Nor should it be – what it gives the reader is an im­por­tant look at a life that we’d of­ten rather not think about. The work of the pho­tog­ra­phers in this book high­lights some of the very best con­tem­po­rary doc­u­men­tary pho­tog­ra­phers work­ing in Bri­tain to­day. As such, each of the por­traits is sen­si­tively shot, never turn­ing the sub­ject into ‘poverty porn’. The book’s sub­ti­tle Por­traits of Hope and Re­silience does a per­fect job of sum­ming the work up.

If you have any in­ter­est in doc­u­men­tary pho­tog­ra­phy, the state of the na­tion, or in­deed the way other hu­man be­ings live their lives, In­vis­i­ble Bri­tain can­not be rec­om­mended highly enough.

You can or­der the book with a 20% dis­count at pol­icy.bris­tol­u­ni­ver­si­ty­press. co.uk/in­vis­i­ble-bri­tain. ★★★★★ Amy Davies

‘Mag­nus and Emily, Long Melford’ by Polly Alder­ton

‘Will, Cum­bria’ by Laura Dicken

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