Interested in articulating notions of a particular kind of Englishness, this book by Hole & Corner contributing photographer John Spinks is a result of over 15 years’ work, photographing the small mining village in North Warwickshire where he spent his childhood. Having left at the age of 18 to pursue his career in photography, he began taking the images in The New Village in the year 2000 – an attempt to explore the darkness and light of his past through the present.
A sober, melancholic yet beautiful meditation on the themes of belonging and identity, the images are at once both familiar yet unsettling. Even though he grew up in the village and has known many of the people he has photographed for the project for years, Spinks approaches the subject matter asan outsider as well as a local, reflecting his experiences as a child and the adult he became.
In the accompanying essay by David Chandler, entitled ‘What Are You Looking At’, the writer spells out more of Spinks’ vision:
‘The rough, uncared-for woodlands that cluster around the built-up residential areas and council estates of post-war Britain are places where dreams and reality are intertwined. They are places of escape, of refuge, and of remnants, where the fears and frustrations of confined lives spill over and drain away. But, there amid the shadows and wandering imaginations, the darkness in people often lingers.’