From the TUC

Visualising inequality: A road trip through a divided Britain

04 Mar 2013, by Guest in Society & Welfare

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.

 Photo of surveillance equipment in the shop window. Photo Colin McPherson

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.

Red slash on a white brick wall

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.

Photo of prams outside a shop

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.

Dock with memorial flowers

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.

NOTE: You can see The A41 Project – Visualising Inequality at The Public in West Bromwich, until 6 May 2013. It is also planned for shows in Milton Keynes, Birkenhead and London throughout 2013-14. The A41 Project is funded by Arts Council England and supported by The Equality Trust.
 GUEST POST: Colin McPherson is a photojournalist, visual artist and educator based in North West England, working at home and abroad on photographic stories and projects.