Dazed called for their readers to submit photographs of a divided UK, and then asked leading UK figures to pick their favourites. The Present Tense, at LNCC in London, showcases the medley of images, exhibiting the compelling aesthetics of an open dialogue.
“Between Vote Leave’s overspending crimes and Cambridge Analytica’s data harvesting campaign, Brexit is a corrupt movement that has played out in the hands of a small elite. The Present Tense was a democratic gesture that opened up a dialogue between amateur photographers and experts, all of whom understand Britishness in their own way. Asking journalists like Carole Cadwalladr to judge pictures that convey a ‘feeling’ of uncertainty on the streets speaks to her work as well as the photographer’s. It was nice, as well, to invite people from a variety of disciplines to judge the entries. Having said that, people took the concept really seriously and weren’t afraid to dig between the lines and tap into the raw emotion of the moment.“ - Jack Mills, Dazed Editor
“A scar has been left on the landscape, one that may never entirely fade. We can see where initially there was a way in, an opportunity.” - Alex Colley
“This image succinctly represents the uncertainty we have about our short and long-term future. Many roads we can traverse, but each as confusing as the last.” - Wilson Oryema
“Timeless needs in a world devastated by changes, over which woman and boy have little control.” - Marsha Rowe
“This was taken at a 'Reclaim the Night' march in Manchester, where since 2016 sexual harassment reports have risen by 64%, while women's services are being cut.” - Dora Bond
“Brexit seems to have galvanised huge swathes of middle England into going on marches and protesting, people who I don’t imagine normally do a great deal of demonstrating… Instead, the protestors that I saw outside Parliament when I took this shot were either handing out ‘We love Europe’ cupcakes or waving ‘Honk if you want us out’ placards at passing motorists. It was such a gentle, friendly and very British type of demonstration.
“It's a powerful representation of the derelict state of Britain — the disenfranchisement of the white working class, created mainly by austerity measures implemented by the Conservative establishment.” - Shahmir Sanni
“I feel very engaged with the rhythmicality of this image: all the different rhythmic patterns, in architecture and colour. It is as if you can hear the footsteps of the passers-by, entangled with each other.” - Nkisi
“The newly-found sense of purpose emanating from this photograph is tangible, strangely infectious, and rather troubling of course.” - Steve Beale
“The image portrays the gritty street atmosphere of south London.” - Olly Simpson
“This picture emphasises, for me at least, something of the sinister side of the Brexit project.” - Jeremy Deller
“Britain's Brexit circus: with these shambolic Brexit negotiations, our politicians are seen as fools and Britain as one big circus.” - Angelica Mae Macabangon
“This image represents that the old establishment is crumbling away and that people are demanding rights, freedoms and a new order. Now, more than ever, we need to stand together in unity and solidarity to build a new future.” - Izzy Bulder
The Present Tense at LNCC (18-24 Shacklewell Lane, London) is open until this weekend.
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