Photo Journal Mondays: Josh Adam Jones
Photo Journal Mondays is proud to present Josh Adam Jones, a social documentary photographer originally from Cheltenham, and now based in Bristol. He spends a great amount of time working alone and often in unfamiliar places. His most recent on-going project 99 Peace Walls aims to document the people and places of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
99 Peace Walls was born out of an ongoing interest with the Irish inhabitants of English towns and cities, namely Birmingham, Cheltenham and Bristol. Josh Adam Jones traveled to each of these places and produced a body of work which documented the ageing Irish population living outside of Ireland. Over a two-week period, balancing working at the Belfast Photo Festival and exploring the Northern Irish city, Josh photographed the numerous chance encounters he experienced along with the landscape these people lived in.
It was an instinctive process, in which not much planning was done previously. Armed with common preconceptions, mild stereotypes and a small historic knowledge of the place, being a stranger and foreigner to the city worked in his favor, although he thought hailing from England might cause a few issues.
Northern Ireland has experienced its fair share of political and religious unrest even in recent history, with both factors often considered to go hand-in-hand. However, the highly volatile and violent conflicts which were commonplace on the streets of Northern Ireland (and England too) were a result of opposing views on how the country should be run. Republicans, who were commonly Catholic wanted the Republic of Ireland to prosper, whereas Loyalists, who were commonly Protestant wanted to remain loyal to the United Kingdom. Religion was a contributing factor to The Troubles but cannot be seen as the single reason; national identity and territory were more important.
99 Peace Walls, which although makes direct reference to the barriers which divide the city on the basis of religion and politics, is not inherently a project about these issues.
Josh Adam Jones is concerned with the people of Northern Ireland and seeks to humanise the problems which they have faced. There is a certain potency which surrounds Belfast, and although historical, political and religious factors are important to consider, the photographer hopes that people can identify with the human side of the work.