The Photobook Advent Calendar – Dec 23rd

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 23 – December 23rd

Peter Dench – England Uncensored

We’re up to day 23 of The Great Miniclick Photobook Advent Calendar, which also means we are 23 days into December, which means we’re 2 days from Christmas and well into the glut of Christmas Parties and the booze they come with. My liver aches and the bowl of twiglets on the coffee table isn’t helping. On a totally unrelated note to my alcohol related ailments, isn’t Peter Dench a nice guy? He’s long been a good friend and supporter of Miniclick and worked with us this year to curate an evening of talk at White Cloth Gallery in Leeds (of which he is creative director). Here we’re looking at his first book, England Uncensored…

peter_dench_england_uncensored_2

“England Uncensored documents the ordinary and the extraordinary. It explores all corners, from cities to tired beaches, via nightclubs, dressing rooms, cathedrals and famous sites in the country, such as Lord’s cricket ground and Hampton Court Palace, as well as presenting some of England’s more unusual events, e.g. the War and Peace Show in Beltring, Kent – the “largest military vehicle spectacular in the world” – where civilians can dress in military uniform and carry weapons, or the central London themed disco with adults dressing in school uniform to relive the “best days of their lives.”” 

Peter funded the publication of this book through crowd-funding photojournalism platform empahasis, but we won’t go into that too much here. What he produced is a great journey through England, looking at all types, classes and ages of people whilst they have fun (for the most part…). The humour in Peter’s work shines through and that’s what makes his work stands out against much of his peers, and indeed, the photographers he’s taken influence from. It’s an incredibly comprehensive, superb body of work. Some photos are brash and bold, other require more concentration as little ideas appear upon looking further into the images. Humour is a tricky thing in photography – too often it’s dismissed as not taking it’s subjects seriously enough (which is a ridiculous sentiment) however this is not something that can be levelled at Peter’s work (partly because of it’s quality, and partly because of how much he clearly cares about it).

A short intro from Peter is a good opener to himself and to the work. Thereafter, the images are left alone on the pages, without captions or comments, for us to explore alone. So many of the places are so familiar – I’d be interested to see what someone who hasn’t grown up in England makes of it all.

I can’t actually find anywhere online to buy, but I’m sure if you speak nicely to Peter, he’ll be able to point you in the right direction…

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