AboutA contemporary of Martin Parr, Paul Reas is part of the pioneering generation of photographers who revealed and critiqued British class and culture in the 1980s and 90s. Strongly influenced by his working class upbringing in Bradford, Reas used humour and sharp observation to comment on a new corporate and commercial world epitomised by heritage industry sites, retail parks, and supermarkets.
I Can Help (1988), Reas' seminal body of work, explores the consumer boom of the eighties with its American-style out-of-town shopping malls. Depicting employees and shoppers of the new middle class, Reas offers an acerbic revisioning of Britishness to create a powerful portrayal of Thatcherite Britain. Flogging a Dead Horse (1993) presents a nationwide survey of the emergence of the âheritage industry': museums and theme parks such as Beamish Open Air Museum that offered a nostalgic and often commercialised version of the past in the wake of the collapse of heavy manufacturing and industry.
The Valleys Project (1985) depicts the impact of the decline of steel and coal industries in Wales and the emerging workforce of women in âNew Technology' industries, undertaking deadening work assembling electro-components in factories. Reas' most recent work, From a Distance (2012/13) documents today's property development boom and the changes facing the traditionally working class and culturally diverse neighbourhood of Elephant and Castle in South London.
Daydreaming About The Good Times?" also features rarely-seen early black and white photographs made in Wales and Bradford