My undergraduate studies and subsequent training and employment in press photography continue to inform my practice. This process could be seen as a deconstruction of the documentary method involving, through successive projects; staging photographs, working with texts, collaborative work and re-contextualisation.

The theories and writing of Barthes, Berger, Sontag, Rosler, Tagg and recently the arguments of Susie Linfield inform my passion for exploring the possibilities of documentary, its commissioning and subsequent representations.

I am currently working with Royal Air Force pilots and other aircrew engaged in survival courses on a series called From the Forest. I aim to repurpose ‘real’ events to create a new narrative, one that discusses my relationship to the RAF, the forest as the place of our ancestry and repository of our fears, man’s need to control his environment and prepare endlessly for war.

Previously I have worked with children and adults of all abilities and with social or health issues, young offenders, asylum seekers, refugees and other marginalised groups and individuals around the country on a variety of projects, residencies and commissions.

From the Forest was shortlisted for the Bar Tur Award 2012. It was exhibited in 2012 as part of Current Conflicts, a touring exhibition I have curated initially for the Waterfront Gallery, Ipswich. Previous work has been exhibited nationally and held in collections.

I graduated from MMU with a degree in the History of Film, Photography and Graphic Media. I have an MA in Photography from LCC. I have been accepted for PhD study at the European Centre for Photographic Research in Newport.

I enjoy the challenge each new student brings, making me return to essential reading, question long held beliefs and seek new sources.

Les Monaghan profile image
“I am a socially engaged photographer interested in community, representation, history, and myth.”

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