Click to preview For Decorative Use Only photo book

For Decorative Use Only is an exploration of village life in 21st century England. It forms a general enquiry into the issues that concern the residents of smaller communities and examines the changing face of the rural idyll; expansion, changing beliefs and underlying social trends mean that village life is undergoing a period of change.

This change is documented the form of written responses from a survey conducted by myself alongside images which are symbolic, rather than indexically realistic representations of the rural space and small community. The novelty teapot was chosen as an object which represents and reinforces the concept of the idyll, a space that could be claimed is and always has been virtual and nonexistent. The novelty teapot can be seen to represent not only its potential consumers aesthetic preferences, but the overall aesthetic of an imaginary and socially constructed idyll.
This project seeks to further understand not only the response to space and community of those and by those who reside there, but also to begin to establish a better understanding of the idyll of now, to what extent do the stereotypes of village life, both positive and negative exist today and how are they being perpetuated or refuted?

Throughout the making of this project I have been forced to reexamine my own viewpoint and attitudes by some surprising responses to my surveys and in talking to village residents,

This is the second, revised draft of the book.


About the Author

Mike Downing
crabclawhand Lincoln, UK

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