Disillusionment, dislocation and Leicestershire

A crumbling building stands fenced-off, its shattered windows a sharp reminder of its emptiness. A factory tower stands like a bleak monolith on rain-soaked cement. A lone, suited man surveys his grey surroundings.

Mitra Tabrizian, Leceistershire, 2012

Source: ©Mitra Tabrizian and courtesy The Wapping Project Bankside

Mitra Tabrizian, Leceistershire, 2012

The subjects chosen by photographer Mitra Tabrizian, its safe to say, aren’t exactly joyful.

Tabrizian, who was born in Tehran, Iran, has taken Leicestershire as the subject for her series of the same name, which is to go on display at London’s Wapping Project Bankside gallery next month.

Mitra Tabrizian, Leceistershire, 2012

Source: ©Mitra Tabrizian and courtesy The Wapping Project Bankside

Mitra Tabrizian, Leceistershire, 2012

The images show a sad and desolate space, capturing what the gallery describes as the ‘quasi-deserted post-industrial landscape’ of this part of Leicestershire.

It’s an area where the effects of the 20th century decline on manufacturing in the region are brutally clear.

Mitra Tabrizian, Leceistershire, 2012

Source: ©Mitra Tabrizian and courtesy The Wapping Project Bankside

Mitra Tabrizian, Leceistershire, 2012

Once a major centre of the hosiery and textile industries, the Leicestershire captured by Tabrizian’s lens is crumbling and derelict, peopled by lone figures that add an even greater sense of pathos to the scenes.

The people in the images are all former factory workers, cast by the photographer in the role of lonely characters, idly wandering about a dystopian space that was once a hive of industry.

One of the characters is Suleman Nagdi, shown striding away from the now disused Wolsey factory, which once stood as one of the oldest textile companies in the world. Nagdi, a third generation Indian from Zimbabwe, had arrived in Leicestershire in the 1970s, and worked in the textile factories for most of his life.

Mitra Tabrizian, Leceistershire, 2012

Source: ©Mitra Tabrizian and courtesy The Wapping Project Bankside

Mitra Tabrizian, Leceistershire, 2012

Wapping Project Bankside says, ‘With this series, Tabrizian addresses ideas of disillusionment, dislocation, of being simultaneously part of a city and excluded from it.

‘She often recounts how much Nagdi was looking forward to have his photograph displayed on a large billboard in a city where he says he “always felt invisible”’.

Mitra Tabrizian, Leceistershire, 2012

Source: ©Mitra Tabrizian and courtesy The Wapping Project Bankside

Mitra Tabrizian, Leceistershire, 2012

Leicestershire runs from 8 November – January 2014 at The Wapping Project Bankside 65a Hopton Street, London SE1

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