Friday, February 08, 2019

The banality of evil

Slavery used to be seen as a thing of the increasingly distant past. No longer - today, the scourge of forced imprisonment and labour is preoccupying the police to an ever greater extent. As is underlined by photographer Amy Romer's book The Dark Figure - named after the 13,000 people estimated to be kept in some form of slavery in the UK, a frankly staggering number - it's going on on the most ordinary streets and in the most ordinary neighbourhoods up and down the country. Her images of urban landscapes are uniformly mundane but become chilling when set alongside text describing what has happened behind those closed doors.

Romer is clear as to her objectives, in many ways echoing Paul Sng's vision for Invisible Britain: "I don't want this to be a niche documentary photo book. I want this project to teach. I want it to raise awareness." It demands that we are more vigilant as to what goes on under our noses and in our communities.

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