Being Framed

“In 1979, a police station in North London branched out to specialise in peculiar crimes. Leading the investigations was Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Dean Wilson, who dedicated his whole life to fighting what the traditional, prevailing criminal justice system would consider “petty offences and misdemeanours”. From a young age, DCI Wilson took minor wrongdoings very seriously. Once Head of the Department of Marginalised Cases (DMC), he went above and beyond to fight any form of uncalled-for behaviour, confronting those who breached the established social codes of conduct. From secret gatherings and heated arguments with next-door neighbours, to stolen and broken possessions, it was his duty to handle the disputes between members of the community, treating each case equally and fairly.” 

Driven by mystery and deception, Being Framed is a multi-layered project that explores ideas of speculative documentary and questions photography’s ambivalent status between fact and fiction within a narrative of imagined crimes, investigated by protagonist police detective DCI Dean Wilson.

Revolving around issues of pretence, surveillance and hypothesis, Being Framed exposes the subjectivity and fragility of our perception by tampering with the truth for the sake of storytelling and illustration.

The title, Being Framed, plays with the twofold-ness of the expression; how it can be used to refer to both incrimination and photography. With a tongue-in-cheek approach, the project draws parallels between photographic- and investigative practice by outlining the two fields’ shared mechanisms connected with looking and describing: analysis, interpretation, the need for a good eye and the ability to construct compelling observations from seemingly meaningless details.

Informed by research into the customs and formalities of police department photographers and their understanding of the medium, Being Framed employs the techniques and aesthetics of photojournalism and forensic photography. Inspired by the visual and image-making culture of the 70s, the work is littered with anachronisms that allow for a playful self-referentiality.

Operating at the edge of narrative plausibility, the work is presented as the contents of an authentic report or dossier from a police filing cabinet. Staged photographs intermingle with collages, ransom note-inspired letters, newspaper clippings and faked archival documents, culminating in a collection of materials used as evidence in a serious inquiry.

Each case, however, remains left unsolved, questions unanswered, and facts are never fully established. Thus, the viewer is invited to take the investigation into their own hands, tasked with deciphering what to believe and with finding the missing clues within the visual puzzle.

Using Format