Invisible Angels was made on the Heygate Estate in 2009 after the majority of residents were evicted or relocated. The site was subject to controversy for various reasons including the high levels of poverty and the future plans for the site, which presented a conflict of interest for the council.
The four young men in Invisible Angels are aged between seventeen and twenty. They wear domestic temporary materials including bin liners, tin foil, cling film, news paper and shopping bags. They are at ease in their strange clothes and decaying environment and present themselves as confident and dignified without aggression or threat.
In each performative photo the young men are placed either in groups, pairs or on their own. They stare at the camera or far into the distance. Sometimes the artificial nature of their arrangement suggests that they are a product (fashion-shoot or boy-band). Running concurrently with the Heygate demolition plans, the UK press were increasingly portraying young groups of black men standing on urban streets as threatening gangs. The clear undertones of racist stereotyping reveal ongoing problems within our society and press rather than presenting the reality for any individual young men targeted.
The architecture has the typical towering, vast, concrete and grey features associated with estates. Shot in many different corners and roads within the complex, the maze of this residential land is also explored. The spaces are empty except for two occasions when a family pushes a pram in the far distance and when 2 policemen look at the young men wearing blue bin liners which seem to have wings.
This project was made possible thanks to the generous collaboration of all four models/performers, stylist Debbie Spink and assistant Tyrone Grosvenor.
Shot on Fuji 5x4.5 & Hasselblad X-Pan using Kodak VC 120 & 35 film C-Type Matt prints, 65 x 30" & 45 x 36"