I’m JC, London based Fashion and Portraits photographer, and this is my personal project Brexiters, where I explore the image that British citizens have of those who voted to Leave the EU in the 2016 referendum. The sitters on the portraits are impersonating someone who they think voted Leave.
As an EU citizen living and working in London, the decision of 17 million British people to leave the European Union and the motivations behind the Brexit campaign affected me and my family directly. The media told us that the majority of the pro-Brexit voters were English people 45 years old and above, with almost no education and living in rural areas of England, but I just couldn't believe that this description fit the totality of the voters. So I placed an ad asking for British people who wanted to be photographed impersonating someone who they thought voted pro-Brexit. I was not interested on their actual political views nor did I want to know which way they voted. I was just interested in the image that British people had of this voter: how would they dress, how would they behave, how would they look at me while I was taking their photo. I specified in the ad that it didn't have to be a stereotyped profile; I just wanted to see their interpretation of this voter and see if it matched the description that the media was portraying.
Almost 50 people signed up to my project but in the end, after many email exchanges, only 7 agreed to be photographed. I told these 7 persons that I was not going to influence their characterization. My only condition was that the portrait had to be taken at their place, because I wanted them to feel comfortable in their role and also because I wanted to have a real home feel in each of the portraits. They all lived in different parts of England so in a matter of 3 weeks I travelled around the country to take the portraits. And to my surprise, the image that each and every one of them had of the Brexiter was completely different from the rest. Neither of them had a similar view to the others. While I was taking their photos I realised that not only there was no Brexiter profile but also that the description that the media made of the Brexiter was very different from the image that british people have of them. My sitters got inspired either by people that the knew or they just interpreted themselves, as some of them admitted that they had voted leave.
All the portraits were taken using the same composition: landscape, to give a cinematic feeling to the portrait as if one were watching these people on the TV, and always taking the photograph through a door, a doorway or some bushes, as if one were peeking in to these persons' private life.
While working on this personal project I not only met some really interesting and lovely people but also I realized that part of the reason why the country got so divided during the referendum campaign period was due to the fact that the media demonized the Brexiter and also their political representatives didn't actually represent them at all.