Subtopia – a project by Adrian Saker

Adrian Saker’s fascination with suburbia stems from both a desire to understand and to connect with the people and places around him and is motivated by a drive to express his feelings about the cultural idea of the suburban location coming out of his own background and memories.
[dropcap type=”2″]T[/dropcap]aking Philip Larkins’ poetry and the writing of Ian Nairn as a starting point for his project “Subtopia”, Saker takes us on a very personal journey through the heartland of the English Midlands. In the last line of the poem “I Remember.I Remember,” Larkin writes, “Nothing, like something, happens anywhere.” This notion of the nothing that happens anywhere is one of the major themes at the centre of Saker’s photography.

In his work, Adrian brings to the fore the everyday happenings, the mundane even, of people’s lives.

In these troubled times, with so many fleeing conflict, he feels that as well as the obvious need to remove themselves and their loved ones from danger, they are desperately seeking a return to the safety and comfortable familiararity of these precious everday mundanities.

What we are presented with in “Subtopia” is Saker finding inspiration and solace in peoples’ inimitable ability to personalise their environment through their relationship and reaction to the spaces around them and to express themselves through their style, identity, culture and sense of community.

For him, the brief moments spent with another person or group of people whilst photographing them, is meaningful and enriching.

Photography, for him, is about suggestion, fragments and the tension between reality and fiction, as he takes things existing in the world and then transforms them according to his subjective vision.

These fragments, he sees as a record of both these random encounters and a record of the complexity of the interplay between photographer and subject and the relationship (however brief) between two human beings.

He prefers to give as little direction as possible to allow the subjects to “breathe” as he feels this creates a conducive space for the act of portraiture to take place, which, he believes, takes him closer to the sense of authenticity that he seeks. Saker’s idea of authenticity however, freely acknowledges its compromised status and therefore allows ambiguity and contradiction to run through the work.

He hopes that by capturing and transforming found material, he creates something universal which the viewer can relate to and  bring their own experiences into the interpretation and reading of the work and perhaps pique their curiosity about the marvelous everday that is happening all around them, right now.

About the author:

Adrian Saker was born in Marston Green, Birmingham. He was raised by his wodowed Mom, who frequently had to take him to her hotel workplace, there being no one else to take up the slack. His interest in photography began when he was given a camera at the age of sixteen and he started taking the bus and his Pentax ME super around Birmingham making black and white pictures of industrial landscapes.Even though he considers himself fortunate to have had the opportunity to study art at university and The Courtauld Institute, he maintains that he has learned far more about life, himself and ultimately about the creation of art, from walking the streets, talking to people and generally engaging with his environment. The streets, he says, are like a never ending art gallery, accessible to anyone irrespective of race, religion,gender or income bracket. He lives on the border where Hall Green and Moseley collide with his musician partner and the occasional visiting cat.

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