Richard Ansett

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From series, Guy © Richard Ansett 2008

FAT

GOLD AWARD – Prix de la Photographie , 2011

Kassel FotoBook Festival Dummy Awards 2014/15

In the early years of the 21st century there was a de-construction of the historic boundaries that defined the old national stereotype in the UK but for all the benefits of this new found freedom, there were consequences and victims that still resonate today. There is an inevitable polluted bi-product that emerges from setting minds free. Issues such as crime and health are inevitable consequences of a relatively free and democratic society.

The West’s self-confidence in capitalist individualism as the shining example for others is reliant on an outward looking and patronising critique of other systems. Part of the maintenance of this act of hubris is an avoidance of self-analysis. It is a challenge to turn that objectified gaze back on ourselves but perhaps we don’t feel we are worthy? The suffering of other parts of the world seems unimaginable compared to the amazing lives we are being asked to believe we have in the West. Do we have the right to feel depressed or suicidal? I argue that pain is not a relative construct; that suffering of the individual is not lessened by the knowledge of the agony of another and further; problems of other worlds should not be a distraction from the fractures which are unique to our own society.

Our emotional states are inevitably on show and we are shaped and contribute to the shaping of the social political landscape. We mostly share a commonality of experience but it is how we deal with this, especially moments of crisis that shape our evolving adult personality. In most of us the signs are complex and partial; we learn ways to disguise our vulnerability. These hiding strategies contribute to our image identity but for some of us the camouflage is dramatically visible.

The subjects in ‘FAT’ represent the discarded by-products of a progressive society. The images are a record of a moment when we were left to fend for ourselves in the new era of moral relativism and self responsibility.

This work is an interpretation of this new emotional shape as a demonised allegory seen through an objectivist lens. Not intended as documentary or Arbus-esq freak show but as an extended metaphor and privileged insight into another equal human being’s most intimate vulnerability. These subjects exist as a part of ourselves, they are in this moment physical representations of our own emotional possibility.

Monograph Dummy – designer Boris Kajmak.