Peter Dench’s approach is very similar to Martin Parr’s, although Dench’s shows the extremes in human behaviour in a stronger way. In Parr’s work I find more humour in the detail, in the recognition of certain behaviour, while Dench’s photography, especially in England Uncensored, is a harsh view of human behaviour in all parts of British society.
There is some humour in the images, but very dark and direct. Dench’s choice of subject and timing presents its subjects in the most vulnerable, unpleasant way. I’m not sure if you could call this voyeuristic, but I would certainly not like to be a subject in one of Dench’s photographs. I’m not sure if it does justice to who his subjects are, but then I also wonder if the people do themselves justice by getting in the situation they are photographed, judgemental as that may sound.
What I like about Dench’s work is that he photographs different layers of society and therefor shows that every person is prone to the behaviour he is documenting. It is not snobby in any sense and shows the uniformity of the Brits, much more than Parr does. Through emphasizing the behaviour of the people and not the individual as such, the voyeuristic element becomes less strong.
I am not sure if I could photograph the way Dench and Parr do. Maybe because I am part of a specific community that would be an easy target for them as well. Knowing the subjects on a personal basis would really hold me back from exposing them in such an unfavourable manner. On the other hand, isn’t photography not a tool to confront us with who we are, make us question ourselves and the lives we live in the first place?
BBC News. (2017). England Uncensored by Peter Dench – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/17190001 [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017].