No Pain Whatsoever
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As part of the International Photography Research Network (IPRN), this paper was presented at the Shifts conference in Jyvaskyla, Finland in October 2006. The conference was focussed upon the examination of contemporary notions of work and its representation through photography. Taking this axis, the paper that considered the photographic depiction of contemporary manual labour in the northwest of England. Foregrounding the depictions of class, the paper considered photographic representations of labour, casual labour and acknowledged the hidden economies of an unmapped 'underclass', active in the region and the subject of previous research (item 3). Drawing upon the notion that an audience for photography is regularly a remote constituency from the subjects depicted, the essay progressed theories of difference and power, considering working methodologies that allowed the development of a more engaged and committed practice. It explored a sense of biography and the familial, as well as depictions of the vernacular and drew upon works of vernacular literature and folk narrative pertinent to labour and its depiction. The work sought to generate a reappraisal of issues of representation, an area dormant in current research and successfully expanded debate around the position of the worker-photographer and the participant-observer. It concluded by appraising photographic work I have made in the region over an extended period.
Shifts: Archives in Dialogue and New Identities in Documentarism, pp.125-127
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