Mark Ellis: Protect and survive

In his series “Protect and Survive” (this was the name of a 1980s UK government leaflet telling people what to do in case of a nuclear attack), Mark Ellis takes pictures of bunkers that would have been used if a nuclear attack between the UK and USSR had happened during the cold war.

I love how the documentary nature of the photographs is contrasted with the very cinematic look of them, mixing dramatic shadows and almost technicolor tones. This is the look I aim to achieve in my Ghost House series because I love the ambiguity it creates, causing to viewer to wonder whether this is documentary or staged fiction, and to feel awkward about this uncertainty. I think this look is a particularly clever choice is Ellis’ series because it touches on the subject of State propaganda, a domain where the ambiguity between truth and lies may lead to the most serious and deadly consequences.

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