Since its publication over 80 years ago, 'English Journey' by JB Priestley has become a benchmark for writers, social historians and photographers. George Orwell's 'The Road to Wigan Pier' and much of the work of photographer Bill Brandt bear its influence; it has even been mooted that it played a part in the policy-making decisions of the Labour Government in 1945. This contemporary photographic journey embraces the spirit of Priestley's ‘English Journey’, by using the subtitle of the book: ‘Being a rambling but truthful account of what one man saw and heard and felt and thought during a journey through England.’
As my journey has taken shape, another global economic downturn similar to that of the 1930s has taken hold. 'Americanisation' and homogenisation seem to penetrate almost every town and city. The England I discovered is manufacturing less and has become highly reliant on technology. Celebrity culture and its media stronghold is fast becoming a national obsession. The perceived threat of global terrorism means new laws have been created curtailing the freedom to photograph in public places and PR departments are increasingly stringent as to how their organisations are portrayed. However, the open-hearted spirit of the people I have encountered while wandering across England has made me believe, as JB Priestley did, that we work as individuals towards a common goal of cooperation never forgetting that we are all dependent on one another.