Personal dissolution with a post-Brexit landscape
Cornwall, or Kernow as it is commonly referred to in the native language of Cornish, is an English county located in the southwest peninsula of the island of Great Britain. In April 2014, people who identified themselves as Cornish were granted minority status under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Cornwall’s rich history and Celtic identity have long been cited amongst Cornish Nationalists as the backbone for greater autonomy within the United Kingdom, viewing themselves as a ‘home nation’ in their own right, similar to that of the Celtic nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In the wake of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, and with Scottish Independence and possibly even the reunification of Ireland both plausible outcomes by the year 2020, I set out to document the ‘vote leave’ county of Cornwall, and in particular the people who identified themselves as Cornish. As a supporter of the ‘remain’ camp, and resident of London (the only region of England to vote to remain in the landmark referendum) I felt the need to try and comprehend this monumental shift in the UK’s political landscape, by focusing in on a county where for many the desire for independence does not stop with the decision to leave the EU.
As the project progressed I noticed a distinct shift in the direction my initial idea was heading. It became apparent the images I was producing were almost entirely the product of my subconscious feelings of alienation and discomfort amongst my fellow Britons. As I photographed I was almost exclusively drawn to scenes that on some level conjured feelings of distaste, of discomfort, and most significantly, of a Britain I no longer felt a connection with. This subconscious animosity is in itself problematic, and evidently a direct manifestation of the cultural divisions we face in the present-day.
Upon reflection this series of photographs does not claim to depict an accurate portrait of the Cornish, or even Cornwall. However, through my own subjunctive mediation, this work does achieve in documenting the polarising effect the UK’s decision to leave the EU has had on society, a decision which has statistically divided a once united and progressive nation.
Photographed – July 2016.