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When first looking at Stephen Brookbank’s series, Live / Work, the photographs frequently appear to be concerned with the ongoing tension between residential and industrial land use, a fairly traditional theme in the cultural landscape. This would be a misconception. Instead, by framing where people live in close proximity to where people work, Brookbank reveals more subtle aspects of the relationship. That these images are not harmonious in a visual sense is clear, but, in their very discord, they tell a story of co-joined un-identical twins: co-existing despite themselves because of their interdependence.

Rather than being a photographer who is documenting a situation at the expense of people and exploiting their way of life, Brookbank feels a true affection for these people, their lives and their workplaces. It’s the way many of us may be attracted to a mutt as opposed to a graceful purebred. He is clearly more interested in mongrels that poodles. As he says: “I am attempting to deal with the humanity of a neighborhood in the omnipotent presence of such things as a transmission grid or industry or the power plant…to emphasize the resilience of our working towns and cities.”
excerpts from an essay by
CHRISTOPHER YOUNGS

sbrookbank

About the Author

Stephen Brookbank
sbrookbank Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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