EMPIRE : by Jon Tonks


In 2014/2015 GRAIN supported the exhibition of EMPIRE by Jon Tonks as part of the touring programme.  Since completing the project in 2013 the book of photographs was published by Dewi Lewis publishing it then toured as an exhibition to MAC, Birmingham, the Library of Birmingham, Ffotogallery, Cardiff and Impressions, Bradford.

Empire is a fascinating journey across the South Atlantic exploring life on four remote islands – the British Overseas Territories of Ascension Island, Tristan da Cunha, the Falkland Islands and St Helena – relics of the once formidable British Empire, all intertwined through their shared history.

Jon Tonks began the project in 2007, spending up to a month at a time in each territory, travelling 60,000 miles around the Atlantic via military outposts, low-lit airstrips and a long voyage aboard the last working Royal Mail Ship. Some 400 rolls of film, 24 flights and 32 days at sea later, the resulting work creates an insight into these distant places that resonate with a sense of Britishness which is remarkably recognisable yet inescapably strange. Jon photographed the people, the landscapes and the traces of the past embedded within each territory.

Copyright 2016 GRAIN.