I came to this portfolio expecting a portrait of Americans by an English photographer, and discovered instead a portrait of the English, or at least a curiously selective sample of them. Having been out of England and in America for seven years now, do I get a touch of homesickness, a sense that these have the authentic ring of Englishness to them?
Not really. Take away the visual clues from the backgrounds and the photo descriptions, and yes, most if not all of these could come from either country and from any time in the last ten years or more.
The collection "The Land Of The Free" features a number of English people dressing as Americans dressing as American fantasy characters. Posed against the everyday utility of their homes, there might be a message here but it's a hackneyed one if so. The other collections don't seem to have any subtext and to be honest, I didn't find any of the images to be particularly memorable.
The best collection for me is one comprised entirely of public celebrities, from major to minor, and it's here that the photographer shines. Without the need to find a linking theme, each person is given the individual treatment he feels they deserve. Richard Branson is here, a confident, familiar and very public figure whose human frailty is emphasized by a cold metal background. Paloma Faith is here, looking set to rise from her East London roots to challenge the world. Megan Henwood, Radio 2's Young Folk Award Winner 2009, floats by, a modern-day Lady Of Shallot.
The term "painterly" is an overused adjective for photographic technique, but it's the one that springs to mind for this small collection of rising stars, rich and famous, comedic and the serious. It leaves you wanting to see the work he does purely for his own pleasure when nobody's looking.
Sad but beautiful pictures of geeks in costume - Land of the Free - Steve Schofield is a great photographer, and he shows it in his collection entitled "Land of the Free"
There is a beauty and a sadness in his pictures ...people looking for themselves...filled with loneliness....a portrait of an America that lacks community and purpose.
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