About

Brexit.

It’s happening and whatever people think about the outcome, we now need to work together to move forward. To do that we need to understand and listen to each other’s opinions with tolerance and respect.

This site has been hastily put together as a platform for a photography project based on 100 portraits: a portrait of a divided nation. My main site is stevefranck.com

I’m looking for 52 Leave voters and 48 Remain voters (52:48 representing the percentage split between the Leave and Remain votes) whom I would like to photograph in their own homes or place of work. The reason I’ve chosen to photograph each subject in these locations is to locate them in their own environment, the area that is most important and personal to them, the space that they voted to protect, regardless of which way they voted. 

Each portrait will be accompanied by a few lines or a short paragraph explaining the sitters’ reasons for voting the way they did. 

This project is not intended to be an exhaustive portrait of the entire population. It is merely a means of exploring some of the opinions behind the votes in an attempt to offer some understanding across the two sides of the debate. My aim is to cover as wide a geographical area as possible and also represent as diverse a demographic as possible. However, I have no control over who responds to my request for participation and the final series of portraits will necessarily reflect this.

Since the referendum to leave the EU on 23rd June 2016, there has been a tremendous increase in the amount of reported incidents of hate crime but I feel that this is a separate issue which simply reflects how the outcome has been interpreted by a proportion of the population and is in no way indicative of the motivations that people had in casting their vote. I want to approach this project without prejudice, as an open dialogue to find out who voted how and to share their opinions with other people so that both leavers and remainers can see the ‘other side of the story’ as it were.

As more details emerge about post Brexit Britain, a picture of a divided nation is forming. In my opinion, this is not so much based on Britain’s relationship with Europe as was portrayed by both campaigns in the run up to the vote but more as the result of successive national governments having ignored huge swathes of the population, who ultimately viewed the referendum as an opportunity to make their voices heard.

Since the Tory Party Conference in October 2016, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has increasingly re-interpreted the result as a vote on immigration a shift from focus on Sovereignty or Britain’s economic relationship with Europe, and portrayed societal division as a majority of ordinary working people who voted to Leave and a minority metropolitan elite who voted to Remain.

Mainstream media has of course added to the stereotypes by casting Remain supporters as whinging, contemptuous and un-patriotic on the one hand and Leave voters as xenophobic racists on the other.

I believe that for most people, the issues are far more nuanced and that people’s motivations cannot be so easily reduced to lazy stereotypes. That’s what I hope to explore with this project.

Response to this project so far has been very interesting. Within the first week of posting about it on social media I received around 25 offers of people wanting to get involved, 20 Remain voters and 5 Leave voters. Since then I have also already had several people pull out, after having at first been quite keen. There has also been a greater reluctance on the part of Leave supporters to get involved, presumably in reaction to news reports of increasing economic uncertainty and the fall in the value of the Pound, perhaps leading people to consider whether they regret their decision. 

My own position is irrelevant as I am an EU national and was ineligible to vote, although for the sake of transparency, my position was to remain. I have lived  in the UK since 1975.

If you would like to get involved, please let me know and we can arrange a portrait session. Even if you feel that you voted the wrong way, I’d especially like to hear from you. 

Please share this site so that I can reach as many people and as broad a demographic as possible. I’m based in London but will travel to wherever (within reason!)

 

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