‘Poverty Safari’. Cover image to Darren McGarvey’s thought provoking and urgent, Orwell Prize winning book

l was delighted to be asked to contribute an image to the cover of Darren MacGarvey’s debut book ‘Poverty Safari‘. The book published by independent publisher Luath Press in November 2017, tackles some of the most urgent issues facing the UK; – overcoming an invisible divide between poorer and more affluent communities, bringing marginalised and isolated voices into a dialogue for empowerment and change, and how we can realign our priorities to bring people together. Written from MacGarvey’s own experiences, the book confronts the realities and challenges of life within these urban environments with dignity, ‘tell it how it is’ story telling, and a sense of his own life’s battles and trajectory. The author’s honesty and understanding of social conditions at play throughout his experiences of upbringing and society are expressed with both brutal realisations and quality observational wit. Revealing the alarming processes with which aspirations, empowerment and community wellbeing are often reinterpreted or overlooked by inadequate power systems, Poverty Safari exposes the inadequacies and challenges that need to be addressed. In 2018 the book was republished with a wider circulation by Picador books, and Darren McGarvey’s book received the acclaimed Orwell Prize for political writing, a testament to its integrity and poignancy. My image was part of a series from the last days of Glasgow’s Red Road Flats, capturing the high rises which had come to symbolise the stressful and dangerous situation their remaining residents lived in.

Cover to Darren McGarveys book Poverty Safari, Luath Press 2017 (Design, Tom Bee)
Image from Red Road Flats series, Glasgow 2010
Image from Red Road Flats series, Glasgow 2011

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