Twenty Years Later

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In the years since returning to live in the north east, I have focused specifically on documenting the uneasy survival of the former mining village just south of Seaham, where I live. Some of work that came out of this time was shown to at Redeye's National Photography Conference in May 2011, and later that year in a solo show at Darlington Media Group's Decisive Moment Gallery from October – December 2011. Called 'Twenty Years Later', the exhibition showed the neat windows and swept streets of the village as it was 20 years after the pit closed, and a series of affectionate portraits of our local toddlers and teenagers.

This small locality is subject to constant change, destructive land use and socio-economic hardships, and populations drift through as the work allows. Whilst there are many pit village tropes of the growers of large vegetables, dog racing clubs, pigeon lofts and so on, it's rare to find artists living and working within this community, embedded.

But this is also part of an ongoing dilemma: the almost overwhelming wealth of subject matter here. In 2012 and for the following few years I am looking at ways to have this continuing, ongoing work supported with regular feedback and knowledgeable input from professionals with an understanding of humanist photography and its place in the north-east and its political and socio-economic context.

And of course as I write in 2017 it is 6 years later and there is new work and 'Thirty Years Later' calling, always calling.

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The pictures on this page show the work as it was being installed at Darlington Arts Centre. A selection of individual photos will be uploaded to the blog & our social media accounts during the autumn of 2017.

Brenda Burrell

August 2017