Visualising inequality: A road trip through a divided Britain
Photography has long been used as a powerful expression of social and political trends, but income inequality was largely uncharted territory. I’ve been trying to remedy that with a new project, explores Britain’s growing income gap and its damaging impact on society. The A41 Project – Visualising Inequality, supported by The Equality Trust, comprises a series of ‘social landscape’ photographs I took as I traveled along the A41 trunk road from London to Birkenhead in 2012, along with contributions from groups of people living near the road.
Are levels of trust higher in more equal rich countries?
The inexorable rise of the availability and use of surveillance cameras and other tools of the ‘security’ industry were in full view to the public in this shop in Portman Street, close to the start of the A41 in central London. There are few urban spaces which are not covered by the ever-seeing, prying eyes of CCTV, but different areas are subject to different levels of scrutiny.
Are murder rates higher in more unequal rich countries?
This simple and unexplainable piece of graffiti on a wall in Wolverhampton made me instantly think of murder, with the blood red line rising sharply upward seemingly representing the trajectory on a graph. Its almost as if the photograph is a still from a crime scene or is pointing to where some misdemeanour has taken place.
Are teenage birth rates higher in more unequal rich countries?
I came across this scene in Little Sutton, Cheshire and it immediately resonated with me in terms of the project. The link between Britain’s high rates of teenage pregnancies and the buggies on sale is an obvious photographic fit, however, the presence of the old-style pram gives the picture an almost historical twist, linking the past with the present.
Is life expectancy greater in more equal rich countries?
This image was made in Birkenhead, looking over the Mersey to the ever-developing Liverpool skyline. It is where the A41 finishes at its northern end. For me it’s a metaphor about life with the river acting as a barrier between what exists on one side of the divide and what exists ‘over there’. The fading floral bouquets seem eerily relevant.