Publisher: Self published
Size: 15 x 21 cm (approx.)
„Since 2001 I have worked as a painter and decorator in London, whilst also maintaining my own artistic practice.
I work on the restoration of old domestic buildings, highly prized properties among the affluent sections of society. This work has often been frustrating as it necessarily leads to compromises in the time I am able to spend on my photographic projects.
The work itself is often dirty, physical and repetitive, however these small-scale sites allow a high level of autonomy and time management among a close-knit cohort of fellow workers.
As a means of relieving this monotony, I started to use a pocket 35mm camera on site, capturing episodes that are easily forgotten when the job is completed, and the tradesmen have left.
‘If you can piss, you can paint’, the title of this book, is a gentle derision common to building sites to belittle the painting trade, and typifies the microcosmic hierarchies found on site as well as its universal camaraderie.
The images in this book reflect my experience of working on many sites throughout the city; the physical labour, friendships, stresses, and moments of levity. Significantly, the images are produced from a position of mutual trust and understanding, rather than one of dispassionate observer. Together, they document an often overlooked (and misrepresented) arena of working class culture within contemporary society. This body of work also intersections with wider issues such as the shifting nature of identity, economic migration, and the increasing hostility of the city’s living costs to the working class whose labour is essential to its operation.
Initially started as a means of distraction from the monotony of work, the resulting book represents a unique insight into one of the last remaining bastions of working class labour in a rapidly changing society.“