Roxana Allison: Hope, Despair and Miracles
Roxana Allison is a Mexican-British photographer whose work has a predominantly socially-driven focus and explores the themes of belonging, identity and place. She has extensive experience working with young people and underrepresented communities spanning over 15 years and strives to achieve social justice through her photography.
Longsight is an inner-city area of Manchester, England with a population of just over 15,000. It is ethnically diverse and with high levels of poverty, deprivation and crime. The city has been plagued by gang violence since the 1990s although this seems to have fallen in recent years. Allison has taken the Longsight area as a starting point for her ongoing project Hope, Despair and Miracles looking at the place’s community and its prevailing issues, some of which are perceptible at first sight.
According to the photographer, the project is a timely reminder that a book should never be judged solely by its cover, especially in times of political division and societal health and economic pressures. The body of work is a testament to the “resourcefulness, resilience and commitment of the people cultivating positive change from within rather than concentrating on evident flaws of Longsight’s fabric”. The title hopefully inspires people to realise that change is possible and we should all be a little more longsighted — look beyond what’s just under our noses and try to see the bigger picture. The images are of places, moments, happenings and signs, but the ones that create the backbone of the project are the compassionate and almost intimate portraits of Longsight’s residents.
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