Mental health issues within the UK have reached unprecedented levels with three times as many people taking their own life as die on the roads each year. We often assume the causes to be modern living in unforgiving urban landscapes but here the photography focuses upon the lives of individuals living in apparently idyllic circumstances.
The pressures faced in such communities can be just as serious and oppressive as anywhere else in the country. There are many societal expectations including our family roles and the associated life goals, such as marriage and parenthood.
The title of the work Local Hero conveys the level of determination and strength that the individuals represented have displayed in their lives. The title is one in the same as the well know movie about a coastal community under threat from a corporate giant. The images reflect this influence in the that a filmic aesthetic has been applied, with each portrait capturing the individual heroically against a dramatic Cornish backdrop. These individuals are locally very well known for their achievements and they talk openly about their experiences, hoping this in turn this will help others.
Photography, science and public opinion are closely intertwined. Who could ignore the Blue Marble image taken from Apollo 17 revealing the whole of the world in one frame and the subsequent implications on society? However, here the camera is looking into our inner world, revealing depths of personal feeling and emotion, things rarely spoken of. Never the less the impact of these stories and images can be just as profound on those that experience them and in the same way life changing.
Professor Paul Wenham‑Clarke