The FT Weekend Arts section preview my commissioned work for The Social: Encountering Photography, which is currently on show in Sunderland. See a slideshow of the work on the FT website here.

Image: © Paul Hermann

Whilst giving a walking tour of my site-specific work in Sunderland – part of the launch of The Social: Encountering Photography – this weekend I had the privilege of meeting an individual featured in one of

my photographs. Michael (pictured above) happened to be walking through The Bridges shopping centre in Sunderland where one of my photographs was installed the very moment that I was discussing the work with a group. He recognised himself in the photograph (seen strolling in green jacket) and told us the story that how on the day I took the image he was walking to college and having now graduated he works for Sunderland Port, located in the far distance of my photograph. It was one of those magical moments!

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You can find more about my commissioned work ‘Landscapes of Leisure’ here.

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Image: St. Peter’s Riverside, Sunderland, April 2013 © Simon Roberts from The Social: Landscapes of leisure

Some new work I’ve made in Sunderland is featured in this group show, staged jointly between Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art and Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.

Exhibition dates: NGCA: 28 Sept – 23 Nov 2013

Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens: 19 Oct 2013 – 23 Feb 2014.

The exhibition is part of ‘The Social: Encountering Photography’ – a month of photography in Sunderland and North-East England.

Tunstall Hills, Sunderland, July 2013 © Simon Roberts

Artists are: Craig Ames, Ulf Aminde, Haley Austin, Natasha Caruana, Nick Crowe & Ian Rawlinson, Melanie Friend, Gilbert & George, Julian Germain, Paul Graham, Chris Harrison, Nigel Henderson, Jeremy Hutchison, Yee I-Lann, Bob Jardine, James O Jenkins, Linder, Melanie Manchot, Daniel Meadows, Gustav Metzger, Tim Mitchell, Martin Parr, Reynold Reynolds, Reynold Reynolds with Patrick Jolley, Simon Roberts, Thiago Rocha Pitta, Daniele Sambo, Jo Spence, John Stezaker, Homer Sykes, Stuart Whipps

‘YOU ARE THE COMPANY IN WHICH YOU KEEP’ reveals the diverse ways in which photographers and artists using lens-based media have created images that map out our new social networks – observing the patterns of which structure our social existence, or forecasting what the twenty-first century has yet to bring. Many of the artists might be described as working in anthropological or ethnographic ways, observing how our experience of the world is mediated through camera lens, and asking how far photographic images structure our imagination. They ask: in the twenty-first century, are images the means by which we are socialised, and the means by which we can know ourselves? Do the images that we consume and internalise become the imaginative materials that we are made of?

The exhibition spans the two neighbouring venues of Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art and Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, with each examining separate aspects of how photographic images now suffuse every aspect of our lives. At NGCA, more than 20 artists investigate how the neoliberal economics and continuing military muscle of so-called post-industrial countries determine how far the modern world is being shaped.