In some way photography seems an improbable medium for examining the future. It has long been associated rather with acts of remembrance and recollection. The photograph is so often the memento mori, the treasured relic of a lost loved one, of a time past. How then might photographs speak to the conflicted times of a landscape labelled post-industrial or de-industrialised? And how might such photography speak to the conditions of Northern England? Here it seems we are looking at a time and a place caught ‘in-between’. There is an industrial legacy fading rapidly from sight and living memory; a landscape of industrial despoliation and dereliction that has been rapidly transmuted into a post-industrial consumerist landscape; and yet that consumerist future now seems like a future ruin – with developments and promises teetering on the edge of collapse, traces of what might have been. All this is occurring in a land that labels itself the ‘North’ in contradistinction to the powerful global city of London and the prosperous south and yet, is sandwiched between that and the culturally re-assertive nation of Scotland to its own north. A region whose self-identity is founded on an industrial era, whose prosperity and produce were deeply connected to supplying an empire that no longer exists. Post-industrial and postcolonial northern England, defined as much by its lack and losses as any positive identity. And yet, the celebration of this very condition remains part of a deeply sedimented and felt belonging. How are such conflicted and overlain spatial and temporal coordinates to be pictured?
Crang, M. (2012). The Remembrance of Nostalgias Lost and Future Ruins: photographic journeys from the Coal Coast to the Geordie Shore. In L. Wells (Ed.), Futureland now : John Kippin, Chris Wainwright (61-72). University of Plymouth Press