Sarah Pickering: Explosions, Fires, and Public Order

Photographs by Sarah Pickering. Text by Karen Irvine.

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UK photographer Sarah Pickering's "Explosions, Fires and Public Order" is a visually arresting glimpse into the secret world of civil defense. Combining four series, the book begins with "Public Order," a project exploring the Metropolitan Police Public Order Training Centre, a simulated urban environment near London where officers rehearse responses to imagined scenarios of civic unrest. The "Explosions" series documents the tactical use of controlled explosions by the British military, designed to add realistic stress to training exercises and familiarize soldiers with various munitions. "Fire Series" and "Incident," Pickering's most recent series, were produced while she was an artist in residence at the UK Fire Training College. While there, she photographed blazes that were set inside meticulously and elaborately constructed home interiors, as well as the stark, charred remnants of fake urban settings after the scenario fires had been put out. Pickering's projects reflect an aspect of the current zeitgeist: global terrorism matched with omnipresent anxiety. "My work explores the idea of imagined threat and response, and looks at fear and planning for the unexpected, merging fact and fiction, fantasy and reality."

Format: Hardback
Number of pages: 123
Publication date: 2010-03-31
Measurements: 8.3 x 11.3 x 0.7 inches
ISBN: 9781597111232

Photographs by Sarah Pickering. Text by Karen Irvine.

Sarah Pickering finished her MA in photography at the Royal College of Art, London, in 2005. She is the recipient of several awards, including the Photographers’ Gallery Graduate Award and a Jerwood Award. She has exhibited internationally and within the UK, where her work was part of How We Are: Photographing Britain, at Tate Britain.
Karen Irvine is the curator of the Museum of Contemporary Photography and a part-time instructor of photography at Columbia College Chicago. She has organized numerous exhibitions, including Paul Shambroom: Evidence of Democracy and Alec Soth: Sleeping by the Mississippi, and is the author of books on Dave Jordano, Anthony Goicolea, and Laura Letinsky.