My portrait series Portraits of Anarchists from 1996 was shown at The Chemic Tavern in Leeds as part of Jimmy Cauty’s Aftermath Dislocation Principle; a post-riot diarama of a city that was shown at Banksy’s Dismaland in 2016.
This is new edit of the original series of Portraits of Anarchists. This work has never been digitized and consequently much of it hasn’t been seen for 20 years. Many of the people photographed aren’t with us anymore and many others have continued to organize, be active in social movements, make art and work collectively. I feel so honoured to have met these people.
Celebrating the work and lives of activists and artists who strive to make our world a better, more equal place feels to me essential and urgent in these troubled times.
I’m proud of these portraits. I’ve been photographing people for all of my life, exploring ideas and trying to understand our world through photographic portraiture. I continue to do this, without the buoyant youth I had 20 years ago but with more energy and urgency than that youth offered. As we grow older we understand the limits of mortality, the restrictions to fleeting time that growing families, jobs and responsibilities gobble up. I’m constantly aware of how precious my time is, how many more pictures there are to take, people to meet, ideas and places to explore. I like this me that is older, determined and focused, deeply connected to the creative threads that I’m following. Revisiting this old work has allowed me to reflect on the way passionate, political people, radical ideas, art and photographic portraiture has weaved its way through my life and my work. Long may it continue.
Portraits of Anarchists originally came with a soundtrack by Chumbawamba and was published by AK Press and One Little Indian Records.