Case study: John Darwell

Darwell, John (2016) Case study: John Darwell. In: Read, Shirley and Simmons, Mike, (eds.) Photographers and research: the role of research in contemporary photographic practice. Focal Press/Routledge, New York, US, pp. 50-61. Item availability may be restricted.

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Abstract

Research in its various forms is inherent within all my projects now, but this has not always been the case. Undertaking a PhD strongly influenced my ideas about the nature of research and how as part of the creative process it is imperative to have an in-depth under - standing of the subjects that interest me. All my work prior to that point had been documentary in approach and had a very strong polemic. The projects were concerned with my personal take on social or political issues and, looking back, I see how this was a rather self-righteous attempt to set the world to rights, and I was becoming uneasy about it. Not only about my own work, but also about quite a lot of the work that I was seeing at the time, and I know exactly when that started. I had just come back from Chernobyl where I had been photographing within the exclusion zone. A no-entry area with a 30-kilometre radius that was evacuated after the nuclear meltdown at the Chernobyl Power Plant in 1986. The area contained one major city, Pripyat, and over 70 villages and scores of farms. The people living in these locations were given 24 hours to gather their possessions and were then moved to locations around the Ukraine, in most cases never to return. On my arrival back in the UK, the press had written about my having risked my life in such a dangerous place, which wasn't the case. I'd gone there, taken some photographs and then left again with everyone patting me on the back and saying I was a hero; but I was just a glorified tourist who chose to go there. The people affected by the disaster in Chernobyl had no choice but to live with the consequences every single day of their lives.

Item Type: Book Section
Publisher: Focal Press/Routledge
ISBN: 9781138844322
Departments: Faculty of Education, Arts and Business > Institute of the Arts > Graphics and Photography
Depositing User: John Darwell
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2017 11:35
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2017 22:48
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/2822

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