"You live in the sticks." " Do you live on a farm?" "I swear there's no Black people there?"
These were the usual responses I'd receive growing up when saying where I was from. As confusing as those comments were, I realised how London-centric the perception of Black Britain is. The lack of mainstream representation of wider communities have resulted in misconceptions, disconnect and gaps in the knowledge of our history + culture. Throughout time, we've seen how our history's been whitewashed and erased, so I hope providing a space like Bumpkin Files can help prevent this. I believe it's a responsibility, as a photographic artist, to shed light on this.
Since starting photography in 2015, I recognised the power of the camera and how we have the power to create change with this tool. After observing the works of Vanley Burke, Gordon Parks + Carrie Mae Weems, I understood the importance of documenting the communities around me. I was led to start this project after being inspired by the stories of my parents growing up in similar environments to me, whilst noticing the reoccurring, dominant London-focused themes across Black British culture platforms + educational documentaries. I really love engaging with them, but couldn't help but notice the gap.
Bumpkin Files was birthed from a small archive project in 2016, where I scanned and shared images from family photo albums. From there it developed into a portrait series and Instagram archive page.
My mission for Bumpkin Files is to document present-day Black life in the UK, and other underrepresented spaces across Europe for preservation, start bridging gaps between communities, provide resources so people can keep updated with ongoing affairs, and to connect the dots across our creative communities.
View the Bumpkin Files Portrait series here.