The More That Is Taken Away
Seeing Memorials
Guantánamo Basement
Dream Sofa
Talk Tompkins
Say Peekskill
People Who Came To My House
False Horizon
Memory Mechanism
World Market
Pencils Provided/skin hides
2x2 Collective

Inside Out: An Expatriate's Views

An immigrant is never quite at home. In the adopted country this is self-evident, but it also applies in one's country of origin. When I return “home” from the United States, England seems familiar and distant, comfortable and claustrophobic, welcoming and disturbing.

Some real factors underlie this personal sense of displacement. Englishness brings with it a strong sense of belonging but at the same time contains rigorous divisions and exclusions: class, accent, education, family, region, nationality, ethnicity, and many more. In childhood, all this seemed natural. Now as an expatriate, and as the son of a Jewish father and an Anglican mother, I find I do not really belong to either Englishness or Jewishness. Meanwhile, Brexit has demonstrated the power of these received ideas, making the United Kingdom's tensions around exclusion and identity painfully apparent.

Some years ago after a trip to the UK I found I had taken photographs of walls, fences, gates, and gardens. On repeated visits since then I have looked for images that speak to my conflicted responses to attitudes I cannot entirely escape and to exclusions that are partly self-inflicted.

The photographs are from rural and small-town locations. They emulate the formal tools and compositional rigor of traditional black-and-white photography but the intent and content of the compositions destabilizes their modernist presentation. The purpose is not to admire or enshrine the English landscape. These methods are represent the nostalgia and sense of history that are integral to British self-perception and that have been exploited by those leading the country away from the EU into a hazardous and uncertain future. The project is continuing during a present visit and I expect to extend it in coming years.

2005, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2017.

Silver-gelatin or Palladium prints, image size about 16" by 20".

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