We recently had a lecture with Robin Maddock, a British photographer who is quickly gaining recognition and reputation (from the likes of Martin Parr) as a new rising documentary photographer. Firstly recognised for his first published book “Our Kids Our Going To Hell”, Maddock was promoting his recently second published book “God Forgotten Face” that documents the lives in Plymouth. Maddock gave the impression that he was pretty much fearless documenting this such as going to London drug dens, hanging around with the the Yakuza and going to a Russian Neo-Nazi bar. After seeing his work from such places, I began to realise that Maddock had to be fearless in order to achieve the goal he wanted, this showed how passionate he was for his work and how far he would go, which to me, was truly inspirational.
Maddock’s fist book documents police raids in Hackney, London. Maddock explained that he wanted to know what was at the end of the flashing lights and the sirens and document what he saw amongst the minor drug raids. He explained that in this series, drugs were not a prosecution, but just another form a currency, and that no single person could express the toxic, sinister spirit of society, and nor could any image symbolise that that’s the way it’s always been. Although he is painting Hackney as a dark disease of a city, he does explain that he is not prosecuting hackney itself, but rather depicting the wider picture of the confusion in Britain’s society, Something I feel he managed to portray very well in this series and in his second book.
In Robin Maddock’s “God Forgotten Face”, Maddock documents the city of Plymouth, but as Martin Parr put it, the book would not be seen in the tourist section of a book store, as the photographs do not promote Plymouth. This is due to the fact that Maddock concentrates on the oddities of the city, focusing on it’s strange, weird and unique characters, as if uncovering a more surreal and fundamentally weird culture. Although overall I preferred his first book and his documentation of the Yakuza, I found his concept in this book was still very intriguing and I learnt a lot about Maddock himself. He manages to think outside the box, a concentrate on the subjects the public tend to ignore and shy away from, a skill I would consider to be very useful and inspirational.