Posted on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 by Peter Sciretta
In “The Land of the Free”, UK photographer Steve Schofield takes a look at fanboys in their natural environments. More photos after the jump.
Schofield writes in his work statement:
“My practice is concerned with exploring the fascination that the British public has with American popular culture and the sub-cultural world of fandom. In the images, I have shown people in their own homes and environments wearing costumes that they would be dressed in to attend events with other like-minded individuals. It seeks to offer a glimpse into seemingly ordinary lives of my subjects and allows the private to become public. The work hints at the depth of people’s fantasies and the methods they employ to adopt this culture as part of their own lifestyle as a means of escapism.”
The work makes a political reference to globalisation and America’s ongoing ability to infiltrate all cultures via various channels of media. Much of daily life is influenced by ‘Americanisms’ whether through language, food or fashion, which can often be traced back to music videos, the Hollywood film industry, advertising and American sit-coms.
By working in the individual’s homes and personal spaces, I have sought to present my sitters in a their very British ‘found’ environments and to allow the viewer to evaluate the juxtaposition of cultures and how neither appear to sit comfortably with each other. Although presented in the context of their homes and personal environments, a certain amount of vulnerability and discomfort radiates from the sitters and is passed onto the viewer. Not quite in full character, they seem at odds with their surroundings. The work is intend to make the viewer question the perception that others have of themselves as much as they allow us to question our perception of others.
The title of the work (Land of The Free) refers to the American Anthem, and makes reference to Archibald MacLeish’s 1938 book of FSA photographs. It also refers to a degree of irony when talking about personal ‘freedoms’ when one would choose to ‘copy’ the look of cowboys, sci-fi characters and pop stars. I want the viewer to see the relation to ideology; here are the effects of American mass-culture; consumed and re-enacted by British people in my photographs.
I seek to make the images on my own terms. I aim to marry the two genres of portraiture and documentary. I want to take documentary photography out of the context of realism, and encourage the viewer to ask questions about the politics within the image and question the implications of documentary photography being perceived as a true representation of reality.
You can see many more photos on Steve’s official website.
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