The photographer who stands out in my mind as main source of inspiration for my current project is Zed Nelson. Mainly because of his photo project 'Disappearing Britain, but also because of his entire body of work as a photographer. As a photographer he expertly turns his lens on Western society.
Disappearing Britain centres on ways of life that are practically extinct in the UK. Before researching my current project I had only head of Nelson's work in Hackney and his "beauty" portraits. My project centres around the changing class system in the UK, the way we have evolved as a society seemingly focused on class mobility, and the fact the working class has changed entirely.
"We are being forced out of existence by our own government and their policies. It's becoming impossible for us to survive."
Nelson takes portraits of coalminers in Yorkshire, Fishermen in Cornwall and fox hunters. The portraits are beautiful, they manage to capture the faces of the people who have endured massive change in lifestyles and industries. As a nation where the worker is and always has been an integral part of our society, this portrayal of the worker is particularly intriguing. Nelson captured the spirit of the working by setting up make shift studios outside the 'signing out' points, as soon as the worker had finished a gruelling ten hour day for example. This is the ordinary, the often overlooked and a kay aspect to documenting Britain as it evolves.
Image Credits: Zed Nelson