In his long-term project ‘Political Youth’, Rob Ormerod is looking at young Scottish people (from 16 to end 20s) that are involved in politics. He is interested in the type of person that is attracted by politics, who, ‘despite the current general frustration with politics, believe in their ability to influence society and politics, and who are taking responsibility for shaping the future.’ (The Nomad) He has photographed young people from all political parties and documented related memorabilia as well as spaces where political activity takes place.
This project is an obvious reference for my own work. He actually did photograph political youth in Scotlad, where I only managed to photograph young Labour supporters. Perhaps, my project developed through participation I was getting, subsequently becoming about not-so-mythical youthquake.
I can’t help but feel that Rob’s work is a lot more critical than mine; there is awkwardness and uncertainty in the way he is presenting his sitters and they seem vulnerable because of it. This body of work is fascinating to look at and it is clear that Rob made very conscious decisions about the kind of ‘look’ he was after. To me, his portraits are also unnecessarily harsh and intentionally unflattering, yet maybe they are just honest. Whereas I wanted to empower my sitters and portray them in a commanding way, Rob has done almost the opposite.