Robin Friend's second book Apiary continues to explore the surreal and sinister haunting of the British landscape he first depicted in Bastard Countryside with an apocalyptic, nocturnal series flirting with notions of democracy and resistance. Apiary uses a cinematic lens to uncover the dark underbelly of Lewes, a town in South East England renowned for its wild, bacchanalian, festivities around Guy Fawkes’ Night, the uniquely British festivity celebrating the failure of an attempted act of extreme political terrorism. However, Friend’s images are a far cry from an exercise in folklore; tight cropping, intensified details and a push-and-pull between the crowd and individual recall images of riots and political insurrections.
Apiary is a shadow space, reflecting a contemporary moment where ideas of democracy, identity and cohesion feel stretched to breaking point. Friend uses the night as a metaphor to consider the rippling reflections of unrest, inequality and instability lapping the British Isles.