Jon Tonks: Empire
Multi award-winning photographer and photojournalist Jon Tonks‘ series ‘Empire’ is an exploration into life on four overseas territories of the United Kingdom; Ascention Island, St. Helena, Tristan da Cunha and the Falkland islands. Tonks’ photographs explore the people, the landscapes and the traces of the past which are embedded in each territory, offering a window into the communities and lifestyles that despite the distance, remain very firmly British.
Tonks spent up to a month in each territory and Empire took six years, 400 rolls of film, 24 flights and 32 days at sea to complete. The making of Tonks’ award-winning book of the same title, which accompanies the exhibition can also be seen at an associated event at The Library of Birmingham, charting the development of the project – right from his contact sheets to the finished publication.
Of his work, Tonks comments: ‘Through Empire, I wanted audiences to learn a little bit more about the places, the people and the history that shapes each island. Revealing the strong links to Britain, some more visible than others (Union Jack flags, nativity plays, and a gnome garden) helps to reduce the obvious distance in geography, enabling audiences to engage and find similarities. Unlike mainland Britain each islands boasts a low crime and divorce rate and doors remain unlocked. Empire has been a remarkable adventure, and an opportunity for me to chronicle the lives and stories of forgotten communities.’
Following Empire’s launch exhibition at Mac earlier this year, the exhibition travels to Ffotogallery in Cardiff and Impressions Gallery in Bradford.
Bespoke framing by Genesis Imaging.