Damien Wootten is a British documentary and art photographer. Much of his work focuses on the North of England. It is a place that has a rich photographic history and a strong contemporary presence. Damien's work draws from that history, and the wider photographic tradition of recording the land and our place within it. His work, in part, looks at how history and politics are embedded in both our communities and landscape.
The Radical Road records streets across England, Scotland and Wales named after past radical and socialist figures. His latest project The Killing Ditch, maps the topography of Northumberland and Cumbria, bringing a physical, historical and philosophical context to the Roman Wall Ditch.
Past publications include Beyond The Angel, which documented the survival of a family farm on the outskirts of Gateshead - and Northern Refuge, which recorded the experiences of asylum seekers and the work the North of England Refugee Service. The newspaper Waterside was published as part of Damien's Sunderland East End photographic residency (which also included a set of limited edition beermats!). Ostdeutsche Radikale Straßen is a self published book of East German postcards - from Damien's own collection, of streets named after prominent socialists.
Previous exhibitions include Beyond The Angel, On The Verge, Into The Open, The Visitors, Coastal Retreats, Waterside, The Royal Photographic International Print Exhibition 157 and The Radical Road. Close The Door On Past Dreariness, which looks at the current homelessness crisis, was due to be exhibited at Newcastle Arts Centre in March and April of this year, but has been postponed due to Coronavirus.
Damien worked as a commercial photographer (and occasionally still does!) and was previously Head of Photography at an FE college on Tyneside. He currently lectures on photography in the Department of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at Newcastle University.
He is a director of Banyan Arts - an organisation that delivers arts based workshops to a range of groups as diverse as stroke survivors, parents and carers of young people with addictions - and refugee and asylum seekers. Damien runs photography sessions to encourage well-being, confidence building and rehabilitation through creative expression and togetherness.
During lockdown, The Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool - one of the UK's first dedicated photography galleries - has introduced Open Eye Stories, an online space to discover new photography projects. Damien's work was selected and can be seen here.
Throughout lockdown, with his project Corona Memento Mori, Damien has been photographing discarded surgical gloves. 'Our pavements are strewn with these now ubiquitous latex totems of the Covid-19 pandemic, emblematic of our nations fears and anxieties during these surreal and uncertain times. These objects, now photographed, become mementos - signifiers of our own mortality - and reminders of our collective lockdown experience.' His book of the same title, published by Frankie's Field Press, will be available to buy online from mid July 2020,