12 April 2010

The British Election Campaign

Ah, British politics! There is an election campaign under way. A couple of months back I posted here on some of the early campaign graphics. But now the visuals are heating up a bit. This is a photo of an anonymously created London billboard 'taking the piss' out of the Tory candidate David Cameron. Deserved so, in my estimation. Earlier in the month The Guardian ran an April fool's spoof, claiming that Labour was mounting a campaign seeking to capitalize on the now notorious bad temper of the current Prime Minister Gordon Brown. My sweetheart Susan thinks 'Gordo' is pretty terrific, despite all the bad press. I agree that he is a big improvement on Blair who in Manchester parlance was 'all fur coat and no knickers!' So 'Gordo' is our household candidate. Here is one of the fake posters that The Guardian folk produced.

And, indeed, here is our Gordo out on the hustings, apparently scaring the tar-nation out of a young child. Perhaps Labour might've embraced the spoof? Perhaps the parents here are wondering how they will deal with junior's recurrent nightmares?

Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah in a coffee shop in Kirkcaldy.
Photograph © Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

Now to the main point. In The Guardian today is this story reporting that the House of Commons has appointed photographer Simon Roberts as the "official election artist." The report notes an extremely interesting twist:
". . . Roberts . . . will, he says, be concentrating on the 'relationship between the politicians canvassing and the voting public with images from battle-buses and village greens to polling stations and shopping centres.' His images will be exhibited in the House of Commons this summer. Alongside them will be a gallery of photographs taken by members of the public.

. . . Roberts has therefore invited people to participate in what he calls the Election Project by sending their own mobile-phone or digital-camera images to a dedicated website. The aim, he says, is to 'create an alternative photographic vision alongside my own' – one that will 'add a collaborative and democratic dimension to the overall work.'"
I think this is a pretty remarkable, self-effacing initiative. Roberts has added a link to the Election Project to his web page. It will be worth following.

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