This year, in the true spirit of Christmas, we’re doing the Miniclick Photobook Advent Calendar where we’ll look at a different photobook, newspaper, magazine or ‘zine we like by someone we’ve worked with in the last 12 months, right up until Christmas Day. To view the Advent Calendar picks so far,click here.
Day 12 – December 12th
James is (along with Carole Evans) one of the founders of Portrait Salon, who we’ve worked with on three different events this year. He was also a part of our Paper Fair back in November, contributed a disposable camera to our lucky dip for our fundrasier in March and is generally a good friend to Miniclick. Let’s take a look behind door number 12, where United Kingdom awaits…
“James O. Jenkins travelled from Cornwall to Scotland shooting participants in traditional British cultural rituals. This includes Pearly Kings and Queens, players of the Wall Game at Eton College, Chelsea Pensioners, Morrsimen, Guy Fawkes dolls and many more.
All shot against a plain white background away from the context of the rituals United Kingdom shows that Britain is actually as strange as anywhere else in the world.” (text courtesy of The Photographer’s Gallery bookshop)
The United Kingdom is a strange place. It’s not very big, yet it crams an incredible amount of local customs, superstitions and rituals in. This book is James’ exhaustive exploration of these rituals, via portraits of people in traditional dress – 32 different portraits taken across England, Scotland and Wales.
That they’re all shot against a white background, with no context, gives the series an almost scientific feel as if the subjects are specimens in a museum. However, in keeping with his style, James manages to maintain an air of humour and sensitivity that keeps everything very much alive and gives us the sense that, although these photos could have been taken at any time, this is a contemporary look at the customs of this country. The addition of Wayne Ford’s text, describing the history to each ritual and costume is perfect – not too much, not too little.
The softcover book of 118 pages (inc 80 photos) is designed by Birch and published by Black Box Press. The font cover and layout feels very British, with a timeless quality, and the quotes on the front cover create just enough of a sense of curiosity!
United Kingdom costs £25 and is available here.