Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Challenging Times

Student demonstration in Westminster, London - photograph via The Guardian: Photographer uncredited

This is an interesting and slightly disturbing time that we find ourselves currently living through, and with the distraction of the constant, ever growing showbiz hype of the Royal wedding next year, it's easy to forget that the British public are facing cuts that will really start to hurt. Today saw more disruption as angry students took to the streets to demonstrate about growing debts, tuition fees and cuts to education.

While i don't support any of the violent action, I do feel for the students who face rising debts as they try to get an education. My time at college/university helped me become who i am today, but is an education just about better future earning potential? I feel that it's important for the UK to keep investing in education so that it can maintain at least some foothold on the international scene. That needs to span across the divides from business to the arts. A country needs artists just as much as it needs bankers.

Today saw the last Harrier Jump Jets fly from the Ark Royal. The UK will now have NO carrier based strike capability for ten years. With these stories and others, it's no wonder that people have started to question the dubious direction Britain is heading. It reminds me of the early 1980's when Britain faced a similar economic problem. Massive social and economic change was underway, but the pain for certain areas of Britain took years to heal... if indeed it ever fully did. It feels like we are heading there again.

Next year i intend to do far more documentary work. I'm going back to my photographic roots. The change needs to be documented. Back in 1981, i was just a boy - now I'm a guy, in his late thirties with a camera. The country that is emerging from the swathe of cuts, enforced by increasingly unpopular politicians who are partly responsible for this mess, will be one that faces more protests and disruption. To photograph is to understand, or at least try and understand.

Next year i intend to do just that... photograph to understand.

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