Tracing the Roots of "Brexit": CJ Clarke in Basildon

The modern social landscape of Great Britain is delicate. Despite its efforts for progress, many of its executive decisions overlook many people -- the marginalized working class. Little did photographer CJ Clarke know, he was already documenting the presage of the infamous move that shook Europe.

"Such work reinforces the great patronising middle class attitude that the working class are only relevant and interesting if they are drug addicts, criminals or ‘salt of the earth’ types who know their place. This doesn’t reflect the reality for a majority of people who would label themselves as working class and it certainly doesn’t reflect my reality coming from and growing up in such a community."
© CJ Clarke

The town of Basildon is relatively a new town that was created after the Second World War -- a community manufactured with large homogeneous population: white and British. The British media coined a term, "Basildon Man" which attributes to the aspiring working class voter. To understand his own hometown and its present conditions, Clarke began a project in 2005 where he would document the social climate and lifestyle of the town's residents.

Little by little the series "Magic Party Place" writes itself: it became more than just a mere documentation of an infant town, it is now a chronicle of social issues running deep in its society. The working class was definitely neglected by the government, and the town of Basildon belonged to that faction.

© CJ Clarke

Hence, with such dissatisfaction from its government, many people, including residents of Basildon, have voted themselves out of the European Union as an expression of resentment to the political body that was supposed to look out for them.

© CJ Clarke

Watch out for our upcoming interview with CJ Clarke as he goes in-depth with his series. In the meantime, visit his website for more of his work.

written by Ciel Hernandez on 2017-01-08 #people #black-and-white #street-photography #monochromatic #basildon #documentary-photography #cj-clarke

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