The notion of returning to a lost home brings with it nostalgia, and ambivalence about ‘belonging’. The kinds of housing that have been demolished, and disappeared industries, are largely associated with British working class communities, to which photography has a fraught history. My essay asks what are the ‘conditions’ of citizenship, and what are the limits of a photographic practice in this context? I make my arguments as a visual practitioner. With text and six key colour plates, the implications of a photo-ethnographic, community-based research project on urban regeneration are examined through Ariella Azoulay’s notion of ‘impaired citizenship’ (2012).
Bird, Nicky. ‘Whither the Roots? Photographing the erased home,’ in M. Arnold and M.Meskimmon (eds), Home/Land: Women, Citizenship, Photographies, 325-341, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2016. ISBN 978-1-78138-280-6
TOP IMAGE: Jan McTaggart in Foxbar, Paisley, 2007. Photograph by Nicky Bird
DIPTYCH: Morrison’s Haven, East Lothian, 2007. Photographs by Nicky Bird