Robin Maddock was labelled by Martin Parr as 'one of the freshest talents in the UK'. Martin selected Maddock's “God Forgotten Face” as one of the best photography books of 2011. Which makes it all the more exciting that the two will now be exhibiting alongside one another in October as part of Photography on a Postcard.
Robin's documentary photography presents an intimate exploration of people and their habitats. Often his pictures are composed in such a way that the subjects are framed by, or juxtaposed to or blended with their surroundings. In his own words, 'I'm best known for my personal approach to documentary photography, looking at different places and the states of mind of people that inhabit them.'
His work is also socially aware and doesn't shy away from difficult or controversial subject matter. Published in 2009; his book ‘Our kids Are Going to Hell’ is a portrait of the social interactions of youth and the police in Hackney, London. This work was nominated for the Deutsche Börse photography prize and was runner up at Photo Espania’s ‘Descubrimientos’ portfolio prize. Like some of the best documentaries, Robin is allowed into the intimate environments of London's urban youths, in their homes and their tower blocks, photographing sensitive and private moments that explore the power divide in these under privileged communities. He arguably gets closer than most have before, creating a sense that unlike many documentary or street photographers, Robin does not shoot from arms length away but rather from a connected place.
The four Photo Postcard pieces submitted by Robin are as beautifully composed as some of his best loved work. They maintain the voyeurism of the documentary genre but with a sensitive and connected feel rather than a distant satirical tone that is often seen in this style of photography. It is almost as if these pieces were taken by an invisible photographer who weaves his way around our modern lives taking photos from the inside of it's heart. Wonderfully and playfully framed, these pieces suggest a connectedness between people to urban surroundings as well as urban surroundings to the natural ones upon which they have dominated.
Robin is working on a series of pictures in Nigeria as well as working to publish and exhibit the archive of photography at the National Museum. An exhibition was held at Lagos-photo 2015 with Benedicte Kurzen. an accompanying book will follow in 2017.
About the writer
Rosa Torr has a BA in Politics and Philosophy from University College Dublin, though she herself is from London. Her place of interest is political theory and in particular Gender Studies. Rosa has written for numerous online publications and the University Observer. She is also a theatre maker and is currently co-artistic director of BUMP&GRIND Theatre Company. The show she co-wrote BUMP will be on at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer.