My book published by Dewi Lewis in association with Multistory has arrived. For nearly two years I worked closely with Muslim residents in Tipton, making a series of photographic portraits and places I found.
I was interested in working in Tipton because of a nail bomb which exploded outside the local mosque and I wanted to research what impact this event had on the local community, how they felt, and overcame such a traumatic event.
I never imagined this project would help me connect with first generation men and women who came here in the 1950s and 60s. It was a privilege and honour to hear their stories that speak of hard work, sacrifice and a great sense of pride, a very different narrative to what we hear presented in mainstream media. These men and women truly felt part of British society, were proud to call themselves British, whilst holding onto their cultural and religious identity. I wondered how they had such a strong sense of self and can only put it down to the fact that they still had a physical connection with their homeland. I feel once a connection like this is lost, it is then, when, the struggle to find ones identity begins.
The Quiet Town of Tipton was commissioned by Multistory as part of an ongoing body of photographic work and archive that documents life in Sandwell and the Black Country. Photographers, writers and filmmakers are commissioned to work with local people to tell their stories of everyday life and recent commissions have included projects by Martin Parr, Mark Power & Bruce Gilden.