Friday, 29 December 2017

A1: BRITAIN on the Verge

In the early 1980s, English photographer Paul Graham, documented the life and landscape of the A1. 25 years later, I made the  photographic journey along Britain’s longest road.
Babs sat under the menu board in BABS cafe where she has worked with her husband Pendleton for "27 long years". Blyth, Nottinghamshire ©Peter Dench

Britain is about to change. The faultlines that exist across the country have been exacerbated by the nation’s 2016 decision to leave the EU and the unconvincing outcome of the June 2017 general election. Communities and families have been divided. Is life in Britain about to become better or worse? Will employment opportunities increase or diminish? Will the economy and industries collapse or thrive? Are the British worried about the future and do elderly people, the majority of whom voted Leave, care less about it than the young? Will Britain leaving the European Union mean immigrants will feel unsafe and be forced to leave? How proud do people feel to be British?

Challis Cooper (20) and Arnold (22) take a break at Baldock Extra Motorway Services, on their way to visit family in Great Yarmouth. Radwell, Baldock, Bedfordshire ©Peter Dench

These are some of the many questions I wanted to put to the people of Britain. The A1, Britain’s longest numbered road, was my tendril to them, an artery that connects as much as it divides. It begins near St Paul’s in the City of London, zipping north through the suburbs of Bedfordshire, the industrial East Midlands, north east England and the east coast of Scotland, ending around 410 miles later in Edinburgh. I travelled it’s length photographing the eclectic characters I met along the way; in truck stops and cafes, temples and homes, businesses and bars. It provided me with a route of certainty in a time of tumult, through a nation on the verge. 

56 year old Sikh, Vaz, hoses down the entrance of Sri Guru Kalgidhar Gurdwara before worshippers arrive on a Sunday. Doncaster, South Yorkshire ©Peter Dench

Houses situated in close proximity to the cooling towers at Ferrybridge Power Stations. Knottingley, West Yorkshire ©Peter Dench

After a break at an OK DINER, Vilma and Darius are continuing on by car to Sheffield. Both Lithuanian, they have lived in Britain for over a decade and aren’t concerned about their residency after the UK voted out in the European Union membership referendum. Newark, Nottinghamshire ©Peter Dench

A selection of the reportage will be exhibited at the Art Bermondsey Project Space in London and YOU are invited

The first 500 visitors to the private view and exhibition will be able to collect a complimentary 71 page softback book

Featured on the BBC

Paul Graham's A1

A1: Britain on the Verge prints

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Great Britons of Photography the Exhibition London UK

 14 - 25 FEBRUARY 2017

"Being a photographer can be a solitary and selfish pursuit, often necessarily so. You compete, aim to be the best and plot your romp towards the next triumph: for years OLYMPUS Visionary, Peter Dench operated like this.

With the domination of digital photography and no longer socialising at the film processing lab, combined with the newfound comfort in his forties and with his craft, Dench actively began to meet other British photographers, to take an interest in what they have done and the way in which they did it.

DENCH’s Great Britons of Photography, brings together the work of some of the greatest living British photographers including: Jocelyn Bain Hogg, Marcus Bleasdale, Harry Borden, John Bulmer, Chris Floyd, Brian Griffin, Laura Pannack, Tom Stoddart, Homer Sykes, Anastasia Taylor-Lind and Peter Dench (naturally).

All of the photographers featured in this intimate and revealing exhibition have shaped Dench in some way; sometimes professionally, more often, personally. They are glimpses into the lives and practice of some of British photography’s most extraordinary characters."

Art Bermondsey Project Space is a professionally run, not-for-profit independent gallery sponsored by Olympus - as part of their Cultural Initiative Programme -  in association with State Magazine. The gallery provides a platform for fresh ideas in the visual arts and embraces artists from all cultures. Three galleries, three floors, three thousand square feet of this former 19th century paper manufacturer - including a dedicated video-screening suite - have created one of London's most dynamic non-profit art spaces. 

An accompanying book featuring twelve photographers is published by Hungry Eye; delivered as a limited first edition of 500, a high quality, case bound coffee table book with gold foil detail.

“This new collection of interviews and photographs by Dench is hilarious and insightful, always engaging and written with an inimitable wit and style; an instant classic.”  Tom Knox, Thriller Writer

The book will be available for purchase during the exhibition and at the launch on the 15th February to which you're invited. Some of the photographers featured in the book will be present on the night and might even sign their page! If you can't make it along, don't worry, the book is available to buy online here available for shipping worldwide.