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PHOTOGRAPHY 'Britishness' in focus

JOHN GREEN looks forward to a photography book which explores the relationship between identity and nationhood in these islands

EDITED by documentary film-maker Paul Sng, the book This Separated Isle follows his critically acclaimed Invisible Britain: Portraits of Hope and Resilience.

Featuring stories and portraits of people from across Britain, it explores not only what divides us but what binds us together as a nation.

Sng’s films — Sleaford Mods and Dispossession: The Great Housing Swindle — explore the lives of working-class people who have been ignored, marginalised or demonised by mainstream media and who are protesting and challenging the status quo in some way.

His work is notable for its unflinching commitment and focus on the marginalised, abused and discriminated against in our society.

In this new book of documentary photographs by a wide range of contributors, the portraits and accompanying text tell the untold stories of those who have been the butt of so-called austerity measures and left behind by cuts to public services and excluded from dominant media narratives.

In Britain and globally, the Covid-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on society, particularly the poor, and in Britain they include a disproportionate number of people from ethnic minorities.

Yet even before the pandemic, Brexit and the Windrush scandal, rising levels of racial hate crimes have all exposed bitter divisions in this country.

To counteract that, this Separated Isle attempts to explore our concept of national identity via a diverse range of opinions and understandings about the meaning of “Britishness” today.

With a foreword by the author Kit de Waal, the book combines direct testimonies with images shot by top documentary photographers and emerging talents.

It presents images of modern Britain, but these are not simply snapshots of a diverse range of individuals. Each is endowed with a dignity and a personality by accomplished and sensitive photographers.

A Kickstarter campaign,, has been launched to pay for the book's initial development costs and to cover photographers’ fees.

Contributors will receive a range of benefits, including copies of the book and limited-edition prints and, if the campaign is successful, the book will be published by Policy Press, a not-for-profit university press, in September next year.

A trailer for the book is available at





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