So life has been hectic for me (and I’ve got writers block), so please enjoy my political photography from the past year – it’s all on my Instagram account (access from the sidebar), but I want to explore the hidden political messages and thoughts behind some of my photos from this summer and why I took them.
“I reposted a photo of the Notre Dame I took last year with a pink colour edit as a subtle down-with-the-patriarchy post.”
Notre Dame had gone up in flames and rich men around the world were willing to invest into its renovation in a heartbeat. At the same time, much was going on with our environment, Sudan was in political turmoil and Yemenis were dying of hunger. None of them batted an eyelash. But it’s not about that today – I wanted to talk about moving away from the “turning to the rich man” approach we use when disaster strikes. We know they won’t do anything. We know that they’ll watch the crisis go on until it crumbles to the ground. So lets do what we can do, even if our best doesn’t quite fit the cut. Saving one life is still saving one life.
Independent Businesses Make the World Go Around
“I was wandering through Leeds City Centre and I saw this opened gate.”
Look at the different people, doing different things – its like a system, running effortless like clockworks. They all look like they belong there, like pieces of a mosaic. To me, a city fuelled by community is art. I thought about the independent businesses that the security guard at my accommodation was talking about – how Leeds was once a city of family owned business, beaming with culture. Whilst gentrification might look like progress to you, it’s destroying legacies. It’s also erasing what may be the last memories people have of their loved ones. Can we just agree that it’s not all about money for once?
The Politics of Romance
“So I was taking a stroll around Leeds Dock when I first arrived and I saw everyone walking out of the bars and restaurants in couples.”
I started to think about the politics of romance – we’re taught to think that another human is what we need because it’s an economical advantage, both to ourselves and to society. When we share what we have with the one we love, we demand less from the world around us because we have it with them. But this always causes power imbalance within a relationship; a partner may share their wealth, but they are conscious that they contribute more. When an argument arises, their relationship becomes the Breadwinner World Championships. When the relationship ends, they soothe their ego by saying that the other was a parasite. To me, to maintain good relationship is to be power-blind. Are you willing to love in the dark?
Just One Drink
“I was actually sat at a small pizza bar in Trinity Kitchen when this was taken.”
I noticed the many glasses in neat rows above my head and thought about the drinking culture at university. “It can never be just one drink, eh?” I thought to myself, and it’s true. Students say they’ll come out but they’re not drinking and boom – you wake up covered in your own vomit. There has been a clamp down on drinking games and peer pressure at universities, which is definitely a step in the right direction. But it isn’t just students – there’s so much pressure all around us to destroy our livers. Alcoholism is so deeply engrained in British culture that drinking has become as natural as crying to us. When we’re sad, we cry (but we also drink). When we’re happy, out come the tears of joy (and the bottles of champagne).
The Heroes at Home
“This photo was birthed out of an elaborate process of creativity (wait for it): I saw a plane. I thought the plane was cool. I took a photo of the plane.”
The World Wars will never slip through the cracks of history, because we will forever continue to remember the fallen, and we should continue to remember them. Whilst I don’t support patriotism, I do respect that young, unsuspecting men were being manipulated into the army to handle matters that they had no business in. Patriotism to me, is an ugly concept – it demands human life for meaningless constructs such as the nation state. But I colour edited this photo pink to celebrate the women, who were left to pick up the pieces back home. They had to take on roles they had no experience in and be mothers, sisters, daughters to folk at the same time. They were living double lives – a lot like superheroes (not to romanticise war, of course.)
Everything I see brings out the political in me.