England’s New Lenses: The Commissions

Wide shot of England's New Lenses photography exhibition at Wrest Park

In partnership with Photoworks, four young emerging photographers were selected in early 2021 to create a body of work inspired by four English Heritage sites of their choosing: Wrest Park in Bedfordshire, Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, Middleham Castle in Yorkshire and Tintagel Castle in Cornwall.

Each of the young photographers explored what heritage means to them, responding to the brief by offering an alternative perspective, and a new voice on Englishness and identity.

Working with English Heritage, Photoworks, and their mentors, they planned their shoots, managed their team and models, alongside the constraints of the sites to produce some amazing images. The final exhibition opened at Wrest Park in August 2021 and was on display until the beginning of November.

Check out the mini-documentary’s to hear from the artists themselves and scroll down to find out more about each of the artists and their work.

Mini-documentarys by Piotr Sell

Megan Dalton

Mia Parker-Tang

Kemka Ajoku

Abena Appiah

Kemka Ajoku: Finding Common Ground

Photo from Kemka Ajoku's piece, Finding Common Ground, Wrest Park

“All my models were styled in Black and Black British-owned clothing lines. Pieces were styled to show the integration of fashion from different African cultures, representing how over time they were adapted by each generation to express oneself, from post-war Britain in the 1940s through to the disco fits of the late 1970s. All in all, Finding Common Ground seeks to highlight what it means to be British in today’s society, and most importantly teach our future generations that Black British heritage is British heritage.”

Abena Appiah: From the Maghreb

Image of the sun setting at Hadrian's Wall

Megan Mechelle Dalton: Both Sides of the Rose

3 women in period dress sitting on the walls at Middleham Castle

“The conflicts seen all through the interval of the Wars of the Roses largely stemmed from socio-economic breakdown and a scarcity of presidency management, which has a parallel with what we’ve seen within the pandemic.”

The Guardian

Mia Parker-Tang: There Lies the World

Photo of a girl from behind holding up a tie-dyed piece of fabric

“Like Tintagel itself, I want my photographs to facilitate the exploration of both the past and the present. When people engage with my work, I don’t want them to see a document of something that happened, I want them to see a moment in progress, time slowed down for an image, but never stopped entirely.”