> ‘Silly Arse Broke It’

Jason Wilde / ‘Silly Arse Broke It’



The last thirty years have seen globalisation, mass immigration and economic upheaval transform societies across the planet on a scale and speed that is unique in modern history. Built in the 1950s, the Clarence Way estate in London has been one of many focal points of this rapidly shifting social landscape. Located a few minutes’ walk north from Camden Town underground station, the six orange brick-blocks that make up the estate, house 1297 people (2011 census) in 354 units. 

I have lived here since 1997, and in that time I have witnessed the estate become ‘home’ to people from within Britain and abroad who have been affected by a variety of diverse global events and circumstances. In an attempt to build a multi-layered and nuanced project around this constantly changing community, in 2003, I started collecting and photographing handwritten notes that I found discarded on the estate.

On one level, these salvaged texts are simple records of the everyday; they function to remind, instruct, organise and explain. They tell of journeys planned and taken, and list items to purchase and food to take away. Some make grand political and philosophical statements while others are simply mysterious.

Using a digital workflow the photographs of these once-private texts were layered over photographs of wallpaper, creating unique montages that invite the viewer to contemplate a small inner-city community that is a microcosm for the social flux and cultural (dis)integration that characterises 21st century Britain.

The project can be see in full at www.jasonwilde.com while a more comprehensive synopsis that deals with how the project started out as a portrait project, and includes images from the early development of the project can be seen here.



Jason Wilde (b. 1967) is a photographer born and based in London. His work has been exhibited in the Tate Modern, the National Portrait Gallery and in the Museum of London.

Growing up in central London has been an important impetus for his interest in the small dramas of city life. As a photographer Jason’s primary topic is England’s rapidly shifting social landscape reflected in the people that inhabit its diverse communities. Working from within the documentary tradition, his practice incorporates various aspects of the making and use of photographs. Using a mixed genre approach that also includes elements from art, journalism, sociology and history, Jason aims to produce projects that reflect the social flux and cultural (dis)integration that characterises English communities in the 21st century.

Jason is the 2015/16 Guernsey Photography Festival’s Artist in Residence. The idea of this residency is to invite a professional artist to live in Guernsey for 9 months to create new work about the islands (Guernsey, Sark, Alderney and Herm) and to deliver a bespoke community education programme to a broad spectrum of learners. Jason will be developing a project based in the island’s States Housing communities that will use portrait photography to document the estates’ residents. The project began in May 2015 and the work-in-progress can be seen here.