Fancy Pictures is the first commercially available book on the work of artist Mark Neville and surveys twelve years of his practice. Neville normally only disseminates his photo books (free) either to the communities he photographs, or to authorities and government policy makers in order to highlight social issues ranging from PTSD among veterans, to toxic waste disposal. You cannot buy his photo books in the shops.
Fancy Pictures brings together six of Mark Neville’s socially engaged and intensely immersive projects from the last decade. Neville often pictures working communities in a collaborative process intended to be of direct, practical benefit to his subjects. The Port Glasgow Book Project (2004) is a book of his social documentary images of the Scottish town. Copies were given directly to all 8000 residents. A second Scottish project involved Neville living and working with the farming community of the Isle of Bute for eighteen months. Deeds Not Words (2011) focuses on Corby, an English town that suffered serious industrial pollution. Assembling photos and scientific data, he produced a book to be given free to the environmental health services department of each of the 433 local councils in the UK.
In 2011 Neville spent three months working on the front line, Afghanistan, as an official war artist, making Helmand. Two projects for the USA are also included. Invited by the Andy Warhol Museum in 2012, Neville examined social divisions in Pittsburgh, and the photo-essay Here is London, commissioned by The New York Times Magazine, echoes the style of the celebrated photographers who documented the boom and bust of the 1970s and ’80s.
“Fancy Pictures includes not just a key selection of the photographs from each project, and an extended interview with David Campany, but also a wealth of responses from the communities I worked with, who were both the recipients and the subjects of my books and projects, and the audiences for the work. By representing these projects in Fancy Pictures, I mean to open up a dialogue about the nature of audience and purpose in contemporary photographic practice." Mark Neville.