The lives of people living on typical East Oxford Street are documented for a unique photo exhibition.
Photographer Martin Stott spent four years creating an artistic record of the inhabitants of Divinity Road away from Cowley Road with 120 photographs.
Camera enthusiasts have spent four years creating a visual archive of roads that have lived for over 30 years.
An interactive exhibition will be held this weekend, with photos on display outside the street co-op store. This show is part of Oxfordshire Art Week. A month-long celebration of creativity, artists showcase their work in studios, homes, galleries, workshops, and in the case of Mr. Stott, on the streets.
Mr. Stott describes this street as the longest, most temporary and diverse in the city, and the cross-sections of the people are reflected in his portrait.
This project was inspired by his previous project, Cowley Road Cookbook, which included photographs of locals.
He states: “It was a very nice collection I thought.’Why don’t you do this for Divinity Road?’ After all, the most interesting things often happen at your own front door.”
He goes on to say: “In 2006, Divinity Road was identified by market research firms as the UK’s widest household income street, so wealth, poverty, class, race and gender issues are all shown in the photos. I was aware that, like a country, the streets seem to be getting richer and poorer at the same time.
“I’ve lived on Divinity Road for 35 years and was a local councilor, chairman of the neighborhood association, and governor of the school, so I was well integrated into the community. I appeared at their doorstep. It was important because I had to have people’s trust if I was going to ask them to take a picture of them at their house.
“I usually interacted with people four times before taking a picture. It was very difficult to find the right time to have the whole busy family around.
“Some people were worried that the photos would show their property and children, but for security reasons no one’s home was identified, so some photos don’t. , Came up with a compromise that the child would appear hidden behind a tree branch, or play and look away. “
“There are officially 206 homes on Divinity Road, but in reality there are far more homes. In the case of a single-family home, a couple lives in the basement and another home on the top floor. There may be, like the main building.
“My original idea was to film all the households on Divinity Road in Oxford for three years. But the population is very temporary and the temporary ones are about to leave the country. It is reflected in the portraits of many households of people who are, are about to leave, are being expelled, are moving, or are trying to move from one house to another.
“If you try to take a picture of everyone on the street, it’s like drawing a Forth Bridge!”
He continues. “This project gave me real insights into people’s lives. It was amazing that they could change incredibly rapidly. For a variety of reasons during the course of the project. Many households have lost partners and co-residents. One is still alive.
“The oldest inhabitant, Greta Smith, died a few years ago, so it’s a great memory to take a good picture of her at home.”
“The final set includes some pictures of 120 households and people spending time on the streets that don’t actually live there. For example, regular visits to one of the homeless Oxfordshire homes. And a member of the co-op staff. The Co-op I’m exhibiting at Artweeks is a true hub of the community and it was important that the photos be displayed here.
“Sometimes weird pictures of things people don’t see on the street, such as storm drains and substations, to add punctuation to a series of portraits. This fun and rewarding microportrait is a fun and rewarding microportrait of everyday life in Oxford. It’s a fascinating snapshot, a microcosm of what’s happening everywhere, and probably tells us something about our broader state.
“It also serves as a great record of the region, a snapshot of social history that is interesting for people to look back on in the future.
“As a community building project, it was really satisfying. People recognize each other and stop chatting about photography with people they have never met. The exhibition continues. I Encourages people to make it interactive, post comments, decorate poster photos with balloons, and add ideas using sticker paper. “
Esther Laffery, director of Oxfordshire Artweeks, said:
“Artweeks is a festival full of great work by designers and makers, from jewelers to sculptors. It has top-notch art, but it also involves many community groups, including different backgrounds, life walks and countless people. Ideas and passion.
“It’s not only a festival of art, it’s also a celebration of people, and this is a great showcase.”
Check out Martin Stott’s project at Divinity Road, Oxford’s co-op today and tomorrow.
For more information on Artweeks, please visit artweeks.org.