According to photographer Craig Easton and social researcher and writer Abdul Aziz Hafiz, this is exactly what happened frequently in the portrayal of the Bank Top district in the northwestern town of Blackburn.
As Hafiz says after Easton’s new book “Banktop” (Gost Books, 2022):
“The way northern towns, neighborhoods and people are featured in the media and engrossed in popular imagination is the homogenization of red brick terraces, women wearing scarves, and tough” broke “. It is full of symbols. These myths are toxic fairy tales, complex social and ethnic textures of places like bank tops, lifelong friendships, marriages, bonds between people with contrasting backgrounds and multiple ethnicities and identities. I’m ignoring the true story. Who will this oversimplification by the media help? Why is the diversity brought about by the complex journey to get here ignored? Is this a story about the observer, not the person being observed? “
It’s not difficult to lack explanations for places and people. In fact, it always happens and contributes to all sorts of misunderstandings.
To give a very broad example, here in the United States there has always been a gap between the northern and southern states. Stereotypes evolve from both — Yankee accents. Slow droll in the south. The cheeky personality of the inhabitants of the north, as opposed to the graceful nature of the people of the south.
Is it surprising that other parts of the world are suffering from the same shortcomings? not really.
These are some of the more Anodyne examples. They can be more harsh and turn to assumptions such as people’s level of intelligence and perceptions of tolerance and intolerance to race and beliefs. Indeed, we sometimes take advantage of the distorted perceptions of others to encourage not only dislike but even inequality. It’s been happening since the beginning of time.
All this seems to be imprinted on our essence as human beings. Maybe this is the result of something as simple as bad programming, and I think it’s not always unavoidable. It’s understandable that whatever the cause, a “difference” is often considered threatening, dangerous, or totally offensive.
Bank Top is described in several news reports as one of the most isolated locations in the United Kingdom. And along with that, some negative perceptions of the region spread.
Easton spent a lot of time with his neighbors in 2019 and 2020, bringing large format cameras around the bank tops. This allowed him to get to know them and break through some of the stereotypes that have been used to describe this community.
Easton instinctively believed that ideas about bank tops might not be completely accurate. While interacting with people, I found a place where I could experience diversity and richness.
Our perceptions often change as we spend more time interacting with people. Not always, but enough time to rethink how to label people and places in a particular way.
Portraits of Easton’s banktop people and places reveal subtle portraits of a multidimensional community of people. From pastors who spend their time and effort not to forget the elderly in their neighborhood, to immigrants who struggle to speak a new language because it is new, not because of lack of education.
“Banktop” represents a close community of real, breathing and pulsating humans. They may be dressed differently and their speeches may flicker with different accents, but to my surprise, they are not so different from those who strive to do their best in life. there is no.
Easton’s photographs often invite us to go beyond the surface of places where short profits are given. They are a collection of eloquent scenes composed of richly forged textures, with or without humans. It’s a fancy way of saying that they show us the real people who make up the real place against shallow reading.
Details of Easton’s work can be found on his website (here). And you can find out more about this book and buy it here.
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