Photo Culture #4: Chris Steele-Perkins

England can be a strange place – alternatively funny and serious, happy and sad. “The Pleasure Principle” is a collection of color photographs of England and its people, representing a powerful and perceptive view of a country during the eighties. Returning to England after spending time photographing abroad in the third world, Chris Steele-Perkins experienced a kind of culture shock. “I was not interested in polemics, or a fashionable cynicism,” says Steele‑Perkins. “I wanted to re-orientate myself. I found myself returning to the public rituals we employ in the pursuit of happiness. For there we display our identity as we would like it to be. There we make signals to each other about who we are, and about what we believe in. Looking through this haze of signals with a tangential glance, a curious eye, reveals some unintended things.” Through a series of striking color images, Steele-Perkins presents a wry view of various recreational and social activities that examines the public rituals we employ in the pursuit of happiness. Using the idea of ‘pleasure’ and the pursuit of it, he explores a public, ritual face that cuts across class and location. Steele-Perkins wanted the photographs in this book to be, in a sense, about hedonism and our search for a better world. What he presents is a “kaleidoscope of experiences”; not only familiar, but also captured in a way that is frequently unsettling.

[Looking for more inspiration? Join us in the group Living Is Easy With One Eye Closed or visit my website www.alessiotrerotoli.com]

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