What to book: ‘Merrie Albion – Landscape Studies of a Small Island’ 

Simon Roberts’ iconic photographs of British life go on show at Flowers Gallery

Beachy Head, Seven Sisters Country Park, East Sussex, 24 March 2017. Simon Roberts/courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Simon Roberts has spent more than a decade capturing British life against the backdrop of our nation’s unique landscape, exploring the relationship between people and places. A new exhibition at Flowers Gallery, Merrie Albion – Landcape Studies of a Small Island, brings together many of his best-known works with previously unseen images, also collated in a beautiful monograph published in November. 

Broadstairs Dickens Festival, Isle of Thanet, 19 June 2008. Simon Roberts/courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Roberts’ scenes range from the joyful – a festival on a Kentish beach, a Diamond Jubilee street party on an estate, Eid al-Fitr celebrations – to the poignant, such as an image of Grenfell Tower in the wake of last summer’s tragic fire. He is interested in the drama that is inherent in certain social customs, religious practices or community rituals, where humans become characters within shared stories. He brings the eye of a documentary photographer to the genre of landscape art, highlighting the complexities of our relationships with both people and our lived environment. At a time when the question of British identity is at the forefront of our national conversations, Roberts’ works paint a challenging picture of a country whose differences are as much a cause for celebration as the characteristics its people have in common. 

Grenfell Tower, North Kensington, London, 19 June 2017. Simon Roberts/courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Simon Roberts/courtesy of Flowers Gallery

The exhibition is at Flowers Gallery, Kingsland Road, London E2 from 19 January to 10 March. ‘Merrie Albion – Landscape Studies Of A Small Island’ (£45, Dewi Lewis Publishing) is out now. 

***

MORE CULTURE

What to book: ‘The Lost Words’ at the Foundling Museum

Ten exhibitions to see this January

The Royal Collection Season launches on the BBC