The photographer Neil Strand is no stranger to controversy. In 2003, at his first gallery exhibition, ‘Child Hater’, several of the displayed pieces were vandalised by shocked and offended visitors.
The startling collection of surreptitiously taken child photos, in which each snapshot had been assaulted in some way so that the subjects had been literally defaced (the heads of the children erased, scrawled over, burnt, violated, mutated or morphed to sinister and disturbing effect), received widespread criticism and condemnation from across the art world.
The fact that these photos had been taken, used, and altered without the consent of the subjects or their parents added to the fury and uproar, and made Strand a public name overnight.
In 2006, ‘Decomposing Compositions’ received similar attention with the subjects being human corpses stored in morgues as they awaited identification or removal for burial.
Now, his latest collection, ‘Everything is Fucked’ has made the headlines, and this talented but controversial photographer looks to have another hit on his hands.
This time the subject matter is less focused, but equally divisive. Crumbling buildings, homeless individuals, dead animals, drunks, abandoned industrial parks, street whores, and the aftermath of Friday night street fights are all on display, illustrating in a brutal fashion the decline of modern society.
Jeremy Sprockit met the photographer at his luxury Edinburgh West End apartment, on a cold and wet February evening, to discuss his latest work, and the ideas behind it...
But is it Art ? - extract:
Lil' Bastard © N. Strand