Simon Roberts travelled across England in a motorhome between 2007 and 2008 for this portfolio of large-format tableaux photographs of the English at leisure. We English builds on his first major body of work, Motherland (2005), with the same themes of identity, memory and belonging resonating throughout. Photographing ordinary people engaged in diverse pastimes, Roberts aims to show a populace with a profound attachment to its local environment and homeland. He explores the notion that nationhood – that what it means to be English – is to be found on the surface of contemporary life, encapsulated by banal pastimes and everyday leisure activities. The resulting images are an intentionally lyrical rendering of a pastoral England, where Roberts finds beauty in the mundane and in the exploration of the relationship between people and place, and of our connections to the landscapes around us.
Simon Roberts (b.1974) is a British photographer whose work deals with our relationship to landscape and notions of identity and belonging. His large format photographs are taken with great technical precision, often from elevated positions. The distanced vantage point allows the relationship of individual bodies and groups to the landscape to be clearly observed, and echoes the visual language of history painting.
He has exhibited widely and his photographs reside in major public and private collections, including the George Eastman House, Deutsche Börse Art Collection and Wilson Centre for Photography. In 2010 he was commissioned as the official Election Artist by the House of Commons Works of Art Committee to produce a record of the General Election on behalf of the UK Parliamentary Art Collection. In 2012 he was granted access by the International Olympic Committee to photograph the London Olympics and most recently was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.
He has published three critically acclaimed monographs, Motherland (Chris Boot, 2007), We English (Chris Boot, 2009) – voted as one of the best photography books of the past decade – and Pierdom (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2013).
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