The Brexit vote has encouraged many people to take a deeper look into society. To reflect on this moment of change, Susana de Dios, a Spaniard living in Nottingham since 1997, started a photoblog featuring stories of non-British Europeans in the UK.
“The project captures thoughts and emotions following this momentous and potentially life-changing political decision,” she explains. “The purpose is to offer a window into the lives of EU nationals in Britian. I thought it would be interesting to put real faces and real-life stories to the statistics and shine a light into the human aspect of the current situation.”
As suggested by the blog title – “At home” – the photos are taken in people’s homes “in a relaxed, non-posed way.” This creates the opportunity to talk about life, work, reasons to be in the UK, as well as Brexit. “I hope to give the blog an intimate feel and show that we are just regular people with jobs and families, and the same worries, fears, hopes and dreams as everyone else,” adds Susana. “We are afforded a view of these people’s homes, but home for them goes further than the house. Most of us have made England our home and we truly feel ‘at home’ here.”
The blog features stories such as Alzbeta’s, who arrived in 2014 from Slovakia to pursue her passion for jazz music. Michèle, from France, is in the UK since 1997 and has worked as language assistant, park ranger and teacher. Monica from Spain started off as a special needs teaching assistant and carer, before completing her studies and working as a hydrologist.
Susana said she came across people who weren’t particularly worried about Brexit and were adopting a wait-and-see attitude, but the general feeling is of worry and anxiety. “People who have children and jobs and who have put roots here are the ones struggling the most, as they have effectively made this country their home,” she says. “Ultimately it comes down to the fact that there is a lot of uncertainty, and there might be for some time, and that’s sometimes difficult to cope with. There is also worry and sadness about the recent spike in hate crime as the England all of us had experienced pre-referendum has been a very tolerant, welcoming and diverse one. There is hope that we can all move forward together and begin to heal the cracks.”
Susana is a medical translator by profession and a part-time photographer, an activity that she describes as her “true passion”. She would like the photoblog to become a book and an exhibition. She is looking for people keen to be photographed and is prepared to travel for that.
Susana can be contacted via the “At Home” Facebook page. Instagram: _dediosphoto, Twitter: @dediosphoto.
Photo: Alzbeta, courtesy from the photoblog “At Home” by Susana de Dios. © All rights reserved.