South Bank is Shrinking


South Bank, where the subjects of these pictures and interviews live, lies to the south of the River Tees between Middlesbrough and Redcar in the North East of England. Until the early 1980s the neighbourhood provided a workforce for the local shipbuilding, chemical and steel industries. Since their decline the community has been in a state of crisis, so that it is now one of the most deprived wards in the United Kingdom. A substantial part of it is in the process of demolition, with the result that it is now less than half the size it once was. It is unclear what, if anything, will survive of the community in the future.

My aim was to investigate, through a series of portraits and interviews, the impact on people’s lives, particularly the psychological impact, of more than a generation of decay leading to the decision to demolish.

In the interviews the participants talk about the experience of living with physical and emotional trauma, drug and alcohol dependency, crime and with the destruction of the place in which they grew up.

The pictures were taken in 2007 and 2008.