We’ll also be reporting on Photo Fringe events, which are building on the work achieved by the organisation’s late director Danny Wilson, who died unexpectedly earlier this year. My first outing was to Portslade’s Blank Gallery, for Greenland Motherland, where Simon Roberts was exhibiting his acclaimed work Motherland. Though familiar with the book, I had missed seeing the work exhibited before, and this was a neat curation, in which Roberts had chosen to show only landscapes, the better to complement Rosa Ugarte’s eloquent images of Ittoqotoormitt, Greenland’s most isolated settlement, north of the Arctic Circle. The latter – minimalist compositions bathed in icy light – looked beautiful encased in perspex, while Roberts’ photographs revealed a richly varied country, testament to the 200 locations he visited in his during his 13-month pilgrimage in 2004-5.
Roberts was just back from his latest trip, documenting his own motherland, England, by way of a tour in a VW camper van. As with the Russian adventure, he was accompanied by his wife Sarah, who, again as before, found out she was pregnant as they embarked on the journey. This time, their young daughter Jemima was also aboard. I think it’s fair to say the trip was not quite relaxing, sharing a tiny space during this rainiest of summers, but was nevertheless a uniquely English experience which should produce an interesting body of work, already scheduled to be published as a book by Chris Boot next year.