9 March to 29 September 2013. An Impressions Gallery touring exhibition, Hidden recreates great moments in the long struggle for rights and representation in Britain.
It is particularly fitting that these photographic tableaux be on show at the People’s History Museum – the national museum of democracy in Britain and the home of ‘ideas worth fighting for’.
With the past often dominated by Kings, Queens and military battles, the aim of the Hidden project was to recreate the historic scenes involving the dissenters, revolutionaries, radicals and non-conformists who have often been hidden from history.
Key individuals such as William Cuffay, a black worker and son of a slave, signing the great ‘People’s Charter’ of 1842; Mary Wollstonecraft, the author of ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Women’ and precursor of modern feminism; and revolutionary reformer Thomas Paine, author of ‘The Rights of Man feature in the re-imagined large-scale works’.
Saunders, who made his name as a founder of seminal late 1970s campaign Rock Against Racism, said ‘my hope is that these images can give new life to these important episodes of working people’s history’.
Each scene is carefully planned and lit, using costumed models in the style of tableaux vivants (living pictures). Together they suggest photographic ‘evidence’ for events that occurred before the widespread adoption of camera technology.
Red Saunders is a professional photographer who combines his photographic practice with cultural, artistic, musical, and political activism.
A former member of the 60’s underground theatre group CAST, he made his name with nearly two decades of work for the ground breaking Sunday Times colour supplement, until he ended his association following the Wapping dispute of 1986-7.
He was a founder member and activist with the Rock against Racism campaign from 1976 onwards. An arson attack destroyed his studio and life work in 1994 and he did not return to photography until the end of the decade, turning instead to film-making. In recent years he has focussed on personal work, the Hidden project.