Robert Wilson is an award winning photographer whose unique style is recognised worldwide
Robert Wilson was born in London in 1969, graduated from Blackpool and The Fylde College, and has since built a highly successful career in commercial photography, specialising in portraiture. His personal work builds on this aesthetic, and it is this element that sets him apart from other photographers working within the documentary genre.
Wilson’s book, Helmand, recording the faces and places of the Afghan conflict, was published by Jonathan Cape, 2008.
His work has been widely exhibited both in the UK and internationally, including at The National War Museum (Scotland), The Southbank Centre, Stade Hall, the International Shanghai Photographic Exhibition, and the gallery @ OXO in London. His photography has also been featured extensively in the national press including The Guardian, BBC, The Independent, The Times, and The Sunday Times.
About the project
This site-specific exhibition showcases a selection of photographs taken on Wilson’s recent trip to Afghanistan, and documents the British troops' final tour of duty and homecoming preparations.
As an official war artist, Wilson was granted unprecedented access to the personnel and logistical operations surrounding the drawdown in Afghanistan, allowing a rare insight into the process of ending war. These images offer a uniquely beautiful perspective on a much documented conflict with many never before recorded sights both on and off base.
With funding from Arts Council England, we have secured 59 billboard and poster sites across England and Scotland to showcase the work. The outdoor show will be followed by an exhibition at Gallery One and a Half, featuring an extended edit of the imagery.
Each billboard’s location is determined by the biographical data gathered from the returning troops, allowing this outdoor exhibition to be both a literal and metaphorical return home.
This pop-up approach sees images of individual military personnel infiltrate the communities most affected by the Afghan war, and encourages us to actively engage with the conflict by juxtaposing familiar everyday locations such as a local Royal Mail depot with the Post Office in Camp Bastian, or a fortified bus stop in Kandahar appearing alongside a bus stop in Bristol.
It is easy to think of wars as happening 'elsewhere' and to 'other people', but this project aims to highlight the toll that this war has taken in a relevant but unsentimental way, bringing the exhibition to the people, rather than the people to the exhibition.
In a year of retrospective imagery surrounding the centenary of WWI, these images provide a fresh perspective within the traditions of conflict photography.
This exhibition has been made possible with the support of the Arts Council England, the MoD, Posterscope, Gallery One and a Half, and our outdoor media partners.