Simon Roberts (born 1974) studied a BA Honours Degree in Human Geography at the University of Sheffield (1996). His photographs have been exhibited widely with recent solo shows at the National Media Museum, UK; EX3 Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea, Italy and Centro Brasileiro Britânico, Brazil.
Simon's work is represented in major public collections, including the Deutsche Börse Art Collection, George Eastman House and Wilson Centre for Photography. In recognition for his work, Roberts has received several accolades including the Vic Odden Award - offered for a notable achievement in the art of photography by a British photographer, and grants from the National Media Museum and the John Kobal Foundation. Most recently he was commissioned as the official Election Artist by the House of Commons Works of Art Committee to create a record of the 2010 UK General Election.
He has published two monographs: Motherland (Chris Boot, 2007) and We English (Chris Boot, 2009). Roberts' approach is one of creating wide-ranging surveys of our time, which communicate important social, economic and political issues. His photographs exhibit a disciplined compositional restraint, a richness of palette and a wealth of narrative incident.
For more information, visit Simon Roberts' website here
We English is a series of landscape photographs, which record places where groups of people congregate for a common purpose and shared experience. Since landscape has long been used as a commodity to be consumed, Roberts focuses on leisure as a way of looking at England's shifting cultural and aesthetic identity. The photographs are predominantly taken from an elevated position and the framing is such that the subjects are fixed firmly within their environment. Individuals are rendered small but, significantly, can still be read by their expressions, their clothes and what they're doing. The viewer is always on the edge of the scene, overlooking broad vistas - a perspective that echoes classical English landscape painting.
We English is not just a mode of social and ethnographic commentary, although there are important elements of this in the photographs; more, it aims to constitute a sensitive, resolved response to scenes of ordinary people and how they inhabit and utilise land. The work also explores the way in which landscapes can become a site of conflict or unease, where perceived notions of nationhood and quintessential Englishness are challenged, as diverse social groups seek to colonise shared public spaces.