Photos by Stefan-Maria Mittendorf
“I am seventeen years old, in my last year at high school and hoping to go to uni next year. I am based in Midlothian, mainly campaigning here and in the borders, but occasionally in Edinburgh as well.
I joined the Lib Dems when I was fourteen; I have now been involved in three main election campaigns as well as numerous by-elections. The biggest of these was during the Scottish Parliament elections last year. I was heavily involved in Jeremy Purvis’s re-election campaign, which was our most successful campaign in retaining our votes across the country. I hope to have a career in politics after I leave uni.”
The protagonists in Ormerod’s Political Youth project are politically active young people between the ages of sixteen to end-twenties, who, despite the current general frustration with politics, believe in their ability to influence society and politics, and who are taking responsibility for shaping the future. Their political engagement is an important milestone in their young biographies. The objective-documentary style of these portraits of young politicians seeks to highlight their individual commitment. The photographer has developed a narrative recording style which, in addition to the more usual perspectives, underpins his own interest in politically engaged people, rather in the tradition of August Sanders. Ormerod’s portraits are contemporary documents of our time, which at the same time show the value of individuality. They chart what Scotland’s young politicians are thinking, feeling and how they live and how they are positioning themselves in the territory between the “Yes Scotland” protagonists of independence and the “Better Together” Unionists.
Robert Ormerod’s photo-projects function as both statements and political acts. Indeed, he cannot help dealing with social and political issues in his work, such as in “Doomen”, his project on pigeon racing, a national sport of the Scottish working classes, or his work on asylum seekers and the challenges we face in integrating them in our society. Ormerod’s images are the result of the intention to promote research, whereby their specific narrative form evidences how people relate to current society in Scotland.
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