Jonny Simpson is part of FreshFaced+WildEyed 2015!

Posted on: 15 June 2015
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Filed under: Graduate news

Jonny Simpson’s major project ‘I am Fine’ has been selected by The Photographers’ Gallery to be part of the 2015 FreshFaced+WildEyed exhibition!

Fresh Faced + Wild Eyed is an exhibition for recent graduates from visual arts courses across the UK selected by a panel of judges from an open submission.

“I entered my major project ‘I am Fine’ which is about economic migrants from Bangladesh that live and work in Singapore. I started the project with the mindset that I wanted to do something more than to only document. I wanted to get involved in the lives of my subjects and step away from the roles of photographer and subject.”

Read the full story below.

“I contacted a charity in Singapore who stands up for migrant workers and asked them if I could get involved in a project. We arranged a trip to Bangladesh to visit families of workers living in Singapore. I spent 10 days in Singapore getting to know the workers, wandering the streets where they live, listening to their stories, and taking photographs with them and of them. I recorded video messages to deliver to their families when we would visit. In Bangladesh we visited 9 families in the span of about 5 days, every time we visited a family, we would be offered an elaborate spread of food for them to watch us eat, we would briefly get to know each other a little, and then I would show them the message from their son/husband/brother/uncle and then record a message to send back to their son/husband/brother/uncle.

I spent a lot of time documenting on my journey. I took photos of rubbish centres in Singapore where people working as cleaners live sleep and eat. I tried to get into dormitories where workers live in crowded rooms under high security. I chased pickup trucks that had workers crowded in the back when Singapore has a strict seatbelt law. I tried to sneak into construction sites to find unsafe working conditions. I was angry about the way these humans were being treated as second class citizens and were trapped by debt in what is essentially a modern form of slavery.

It all felt too much to show all of this. I felt it wasn’t really why I was there. In the end the most powerful aspect of my project were simple messages of love from sons and husbands to their families back home. I ended up simply being a delivery man, and I decided to show others what I delivered.”

FreshFaced + WildEyed runs from the 16th of June until the 5th of July at the Photographers’ Gallery
16-18 Ramilles St, London W1F 7LW

Info is at:
http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/freshfaced-wildeyed-2015-3

More of Jonny’s work can be seen at:
www.jonathan-simpson.com

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