UK: Paper, Rock, Scissors
The Constructed Image in New British Photography
October 6–10, 2010

  • Les Amants (Cascade), 2009 © Noemie Goudal.

    Les Amants (Cascade), 2009 © Noemie Goudal.

  • Art Handling Re-creation. Equivalence VIII, after Carl Andre, 1966, 2007 © Peter Ainsworth.

    Art Handling Re-creation. Equivalence VIII, after Carl Andre, 1966, 2007 © Peter Ainsworth.

Presenting several young artists currently living and working in the UK, Paper, Rock, Scissors examines the new trend for constructed imagery in British photography, whose fluid approach to subject and media marks a sharp contrast to a previous generation more concerned with the documentary idiom. Using collage, set design, installation and costume, their work presents an alternative reality that owes as much to fiction as fact.

But it doesn’t retreat into fantasy. Instead it obliquely comments on contemporary society, refashioning elements of our culture to express our deepest dreams and convictions. These dreams are not always positive. Like B-movie monsters, some mark the return of things we’d rather forget. Danny Treacy turns himself into a malevolent personification of the underworld, for example, transforming abandoned clothes into dirty, fantastical costumes.

In fact, many of the emerging artists of this new generation are questioning of the role of photography itself, challenging its generic hierarchies and its supposed lexicon of truth. Now that photography has become such an integral part of everyday reality, they have a more critical take on the medium, and in the context of digital culture, they’re probing the meaning of photography itself.

Featured Artists


Simon Bainbridge

Simon Bainbridge is editor of British Journal of Photography, the London-based magazine established in 1854. He has held the position for the past six years, and has been a writer and editor for nearly 20 years.

He recently directed the relaunch of the magazine in a high-quality monthly format, together with a new-look website at, and for the past six years has programmed the talks at BJP’s annual event for emerging photographers, Vision, featuring speakers such as Martin Parr, Antoine d’Agata, Anders Petersen and Simon Norfolk.

In addition, he is a judge/nominator for various international contests, including Flash Forward, the Deutsch Borse Photography Prize, the Sony World Photography Award, the Prix Pictet, Amnesty Media Awards and the Travel Photographer of the Year, and he is a regular guest at portfolio reviews at events such as Rencontres d’Arles, London Photomonth at The Whitechapel Gallery and Rhubarb-Rhubarb.

Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is deputy editor of British Journal of Photography, and has worked on the magazine for the last six years. She has also written on photography for Aperture, PDN, Creative Review, Philosophy of Photography, and online versions of The Guardian, The Times and The Telegraph. She is currently working on an introduction to Dana Popa’s forthcoming book.

Diane has reviewed portfolios at the Rhubarb-Rhubarb International Photographic Review, The Whitechapel Gallery, the National Media Museum and University College Falmouth, and organises the portfolio review clinic at Vision, BJP’s annual event for emerging photographers. She was also a judge for the National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize in 2009. She has spoken on photography at The Photographers’ Gallery and the National Photography Symposium.