Ben Roberts: Occupied Spaces (Tent Occupied by Phil from Poland) (detail)

Work / Photography

Photographer Ben Roberts explores the secret spaces of London’s Occupy movement

The Occupy Protests which started in NYC and spread around the world are remembered as a socio-economic snapping of patience, when people’s anger with the way of the world boiled over in a visceral, bitter and noisy few months. But photographer Ben Roberts’ Occupied Spaces series takes a different tack, focussing on tents used by the protestors at the two London sites by St Paul’s and in Finsbury Square. Devoid of people we are left to take in the prosaic details, the quiet behind-the-scenes worlds away from the mainstream media’s incessant glare. But they also make you wonder where everyone is, and the mind starts to make certain assumptions in line with your views on the movement.

Ben was inspired to make the series after sneering press reports based on controversial thermo images suggested the majority of the tents were empty, leading many to dismiss those taking part as fair-weather f**k-the-system types. By deliberately removing people from the shots, Ben is making his point in a mischievously tangential way.

The pictures have also been collected together into a really nice publication, with an essay by Naomi Colvin contextualising but not overshadowing the project.


Ben Roberts: Occupied Spaces (Tent City university)


Ben Roberts: Occupied Spaces (Cafe Tent)


Ben Roberts: Occupied Spaces (The Peace Tent)


Ben Roberts: Occupied Spaces (International Commission Tent)


Ben Roberts: Occupied Spaces (Tent occupied by Cyrille from London)


Ben Roberts: Occupied Spaces (Tent occupied by Simona from Lithuania)


Ben Roberts: Occupied Spaces (Clothes Store and Design Workshop)


Ben Roberts: Occupied Spaces (Theatre Tent, Finsbury Square)


Ben Roberts: Occupied Spaces (The Kurdish Tent)