What does it mean to be English? Robin Maddock’s book upon England attempts to find out

Reading Period: < 1 minute

Rambling between photographs, collages plus handwritten poems, the publication is a representation of England in this contemporary moment

In June 2016, Robin Maddock was living in Lisbon, when he learned about the result of the Brexit vote.   National identity had been a life-long subject associated with his work, but having lived in Europe for the majority of his adult lifetime, he hasn’t always really feel a strong cultural connection to his England. Rattled by the result of the referendum, he felt an urge to get to know his country better.

For three years, Maddock travelled up, down plus across the country via car, train, bicycle and on foot. Beginning as a “monstrous, one-off trial and error scrapbook”, the project transformed into a mash-up of photographs, collages, drawings and text, loosely organised around designs like sports, youth lifestyle, and tradition.

Now, it is published as a limited run of 750 photobooks. We see the associated with austerity: homelessness, gentrification, plus increasing divisions between the left and right. But we also notice moments of humour and passion: protests, parties, as well as the small liberties we got back when Covid restrictions were lifted, like garden displays, gigs and festivals.

There is no order, chronology, or a single title towards the book; each title is certainly handwritten before shipping. The end result is chaotic, but it is in this chaos that the function finds its strength: as a representation of the country with this contemporary moment.

Robin the boy wonder Maddock’s book on Great britain is available to purchase through his website .  

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