Parliament photography exhibition for Sheffield graduate

An University of Sheffield graduate has had photographs he took of the run-up to the 2010 general election exhibited in the Houses of Parliament.

36-year-old Simon Roberts was commissioned by Commons authorities to offer a unique interpretation of the campaign as the election’s official artist. 

Roberts’ collection of images from each of the 25 days he spent on the road to the election was unveilled in the House of Commons, and  is now on display in MPs office building Portcullis House.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 15-metre long installation, with 1,600 photographs submitted online by members of the public.
Roberts’ photographs capture the three main political parties as well as independent and less publicised candidates.

One photograph shows Ed Balls, then Schools Secretary in the Labour Government, enjoying a quick kick-about with a group of boys in his constituency of Morley and Outwood.

Other photographs in the exhibition include a picture taken in Rochdale moments before Gordon Brown’s detrimental “bigoted woman” comment and Liberal Democrat MP Nick Clegg addressing a crowd in Warrington.

Roberts said: “This was one of the most dramatic elections for many years and I was delighted to be officially selected to record it,
“By using the photographs submitted by the public via digital cameras and mobiles I have created an alternative vision alongside my own, adding a democratic element to the work.”

In addition to the 25 days of election photographs, Roberts also captured an unexpected day of coalition talks on film.

Commons spokesperson John Bercow said: “Taken as a body of work, the series of photographs is, and will always be, an important documentary record around the country of the election campaign of 2010,

“They are an important addition to the Parliamentary Art Collection at the House of Commons.”

Roberts first demonstrated his photographic flair when he won Sunday Times Magazine Young Photographer, for his photographs taken of Rotherham boxer Daniel Teasdale.

Having graduated from the University of Sheffield with a first-class BA (Hons) degree in Human Geography, Roberts went on to study photojournalism at Sheffield College. Roberts’ work has been exhibited at various museums across the globe, including locations in Shanghai and Chicago.

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