A colour vision – Exercise – Peter Dench

I briefly looked at Peter Dench in the previous post but will look at his work a little more in depth here.

Dench was born and grew up in Weymouth, Dorset graduating in 1995, with a degree in Photographic Studies from the University of Derby. He has worked as a photojournalist since 1998. His best known works document England and have included titles such as drinkUK, ethnicUK, rainUK, loveUK, royalUK, summerUK, fashionUK, and Carry on England.

In examining his work it it logical to link him to past photographers such as Bill Brandt, Tony Ray Jones, Tom Wood and of course Martin Parr.

On Parr:

The first colours I saw were saturated; striped deck chairs, arcade rides, Punch and Judy. The Last Resort echoed a familiar world from my youth, a saturated slap about the face, colours that burned a permanent impression directly onto the retina,” Peter told me. “Working on foreign assignments across the globe has clarified to me just how different, how fabulous, and at times, how ridiculous the English are.

Dench also cites Greg Leach and Paul Reas as his inspiration. Photographer Simon Roberts has reportedly commented that he has an’inimitable style and dry humour.’

On his own work:

It was important for my photography on the English to document what was familiar from my youth and also to document what I had no idea about; posh schools, social summer events, jollies and jamborees; to create a rounded look at the English both geographically and socially.

The colours and style of my work is largely born out of laziness and fear. I was always petrified of ‘pushing’ film, preferring to blast subjects with the flash to make sure something scarred the film. I also prefer shooting in the sunshine, not too early and not too late; unless it’s in a pub or club.

England Uncensored is a laugh out loud romp through this often badly behaved nation, it is not an idealized brochure of a green and pleasant land. In this Jubilee year of Great British pomp, where the media coverage is expected to be as polished as the crown jewels, it is important for us as a nation to remember who we really are, warts and all.

His various books are England Uncensored (2012), The Dench Diary: The Diary of a Sometimes Working Professional Photographer. (2013) A&E: Alcohol and England. (2014) The British Abroad. (2014) and Dench Does Dallas.(2015)

Surreal is anything dream like, images that stress the subconscious or non-rational significance with exploitation of chance effects, unexpected juxtapositions, etc. I think Dench’s photography definitely falls within this framework.


To choose a topic that interests me and produce a small portfolio of five colour images in a surrealist style.

I have taken some images, I need to edit them and ask for peer feedback so watch this space….


Having skipped this exercise and returning to it here is a selection of image taken in a surrealist from several day trips out.

The final images I have chosen are as follows:

Photography Two Documentary
Man with wings


Photography Two Documentary
Reflections and paper


Refugees welcome


In my own little world


I have posted them to the OCA community and am awaiting responses.





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