Stephen J. Morgan’s The Other Side of Everything is a striking series of photographs, documenting familiar, urban places. Uncovering the artist’s own journey through life and examining his identity as a second generation Irish boy growing up in Birmingham, the photos follow his personal story within the wider narrative of England’s recent political history and the legacy of the British Empire. Running 31 May until 13 July at the Wapping Project Bankside, the images focus around the country’s most potent and ubiquitous symbol: the flag.
Over the past year, Morgan has traveled across the UK and photographed both, the Union Flag and St George’s Cross where he found them: hanging from tower blocks, displayed in the windows of houses, swinging from poles. The Union Flag is commonly associated with the Monarchy, the British Empire and the British Armed forces. It fluctuates between either an emblem of pride and patriotism or one of racism, xenophobia and a rudimentary form of nationalism, depending on its position.
Linking the photographs straight to Morgan’s own life, the images in the series are titled after landmark dates in Britain’s recent history, which have had a profound impact on his childhood and early adulthood: 14 August 1969 (British troops are deployed to the north of Ireland), 21 November 1974 (Birmingham pub bombings) and 3 May 1979 (Margaret Thatcher becomes Prime Minister) inviting the viewer to think about the political trajectory of the country, then and now.
Stephen J. Morgan: The Other Side of Everything, 31 May – 13 July, Wapping Project Bankside, London SE1, United-Kingdom.
1. Stephen J. Morgan, 3 May 1979, 2012.
2. 10 July 1981, Stephen J Morgan, 2013.