Shirley, RA., 2015.
Rural Modernity, Everyday Life and Visual Culture
Through the lens of the everyday, this book explores 'the countryside' as an inhabited and practised realm with lived rhythms and routines. It relocates the topography of everyday life from its habitually urban focus, out into the English countryside. The rural is often portrayed as existing outside of modernity, or as its passive victim. Here, the rural is recast as an active and complex site of modernity, a shift which contributes alternative ways of thinking the rural and a new perspective on the everyday.
In each chapter, pieces of visual culture including scrapbooks, art works, adverts, photographs and films, are presented as tools of analysis which articulate how aspects of the everyday might operate differently in non-metropolitan places. The book features new readings of the work of significant artists and photographers such as Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane, Stephen Willats, Anna Fox, Andrew Cross, Tony Ray Jones and Homer Sykes through this rural lens. Together with analysis of visually fascinating archival materials including early Shell Guides and rarely seen scrapbooks made by the Women's Institute.
Through combining everyday life, rural modernity and visual cultures this book is able to uncover new and different stories about the English countryside and contribute significantly to current thinking on everyday life, rural geographies and visual cultures