One way or another, everyone grows up believing in the American dream, an unspoken contract that if we work hard, behave ethically, spend within our means and put some money aside, we will be rewarded with economic security, a significant other and aspirations within our reach. A dream that has been augmented in recent years with the promise of smart phones, 3-D plasma televisions, eco-friendly luxury cars, and most of all, a new home with a sizable yard in pristine suburban neighborhood with good schools.
Consumption has destroyed the American dream and the earnest assumption that an ideal life is guaranteed by hard work, a college degree and playing by the rules. Instead we are left with entry-level jobs, no opportunity for advancement, no benefits, inescapable debt, and the cold comfort that we avoided a Depression. Our desire for something more has brought consequences visible in every corner of America. In these spaces, we can see the America we have become.
— Carl Gunhouse, Brooklyn, New York, USA
The night shots in this series make up a singular portrait of Barcelona, although it could be any other city, because, at night and from a distance, they all look alike. When the sun sets, cities become large mantles of light whose contemplation invites one to imagine the private lives of those hidden behind them. Will they all share similar concerns, similar desires, similar fears?
— Oscar Ciutat, Barcelona, Spain
A feeling of frustration led me to take the photos that form Olympic City. Firstly, after having lived in London for over a decade I quickly became irritated at the way in which the city was being portrayed by the Olympic organisers and in the adverts of its sponsors in the build up to the 2012 Olympic Games. Any aspect of the reality of life in London had been completely ignored and instead I felt we were being subjected to a Disneyesque version of London. Alongside this the needs and the daily lives of the people of London seem to be wilfully ignored by those organising the Olympics, from the £9 billion of public money being used to build the Games’ venues to the priority traffic lanes for athletes and media that even ambulances won’t be allowed to use. The frustration of seeing so much get done for the sole benefit of people that will be watching on TV while the people of the city bears the financial and logistical brunt of the Games angered me. The final inspiration for Olympic City was the quote from Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, that I use as an introduction to the series. He seems to wish that fairy-tale vision of London to become a reality, but only for the benefit of tourists and people watching London from millions of miles away. Having lived in the city for as long as I have I could think of so many areas that opposed his fantasy view of London as an Olympic utopia. The main aim with these photographs is to show a small dose of the reality of London in 2012.
— James Davies, London, United Kingdom
My use of photography is quite often a means of expression. Underlying tones relate to family, fear, control and ultimately death. This series is a seasonal exploration, documenting the movements of objects on this land throughout the space of a year, without revealing the cause of their presence.
I document my subject matter instinctively, as a way of preserving times past, capturing moments of banality, which more often than not are overlooked or taken for granted. I pay attention to spaces and subjects we may disregard, to avoid feelings of loss or regret. I use the still life of the image and the long exposures to represent the existence of this object or place, beyond the photograph.
— Beth Saunders, London, United Kingdom