United Kingdom

Andrew Duke



Andrew Duke (b. 1968) is a British photographer whose work investigates issues surrounding identity, power and control. He was a staff newspaper photographer before freelancing with editorial clients and NGOs internationally. He also works in education, running workshops and photography courses, and teaches at British universities. His practice is documentary-based with a particular interest in rural areas in relation to the concept of heterotopia as set out by Michel Foucault. His work also explores hierarchy and power relations in society.

Duke has work held in private collections, and his photojournalism has been published internationally. He earned an MA in Documentary Photography from the University of Wales, Newport in 2013.


Always the way

This ongoing project highlights the power struggle among the six denominations of monks battling for control of sites within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and the lack of representation of women in Christianity's holiest site. Following centuries of violence between the monks, each group must adhere to strict timings for liturgies and observe certain rules; fights have broken out in the past over control of a particular light bulb and the moving of a doormat. Eight centuries ago Saladin ordered that a Muslim family hold the keys to the front door following squabbling over ownership. To this day the same family lock the monks into the church at night.

Women have no representation in the church, despite recent research that shows women are far more likely to attend church than men. The work highlights a gendering of space by revealing the passive nature of women visiting the holy sites along the Via Dolorosa while replacing much of the feminine presence with images of Mary, Mother of Jesus, a figure steeped in controversy by her utterances and actions. As Simone de Beauvoir points out in The Second Sex, "I am the handmaid of the Lord. For the first time in the history of mankind, a mother kneels before her son and acknowledges, of her own free will, her inferiority. The supreme victory of masculinity is consummated in Mariolatry: it signifies the rehabilitation of woman through the completeness of her defeat."


Unsung Heroes

While working on projects in India, I have met many extraordinary people devoted to helping others. Just a few of them are highlighted here. Dr Ruby Fredericks or also known as 'Nana Ruby' works in a Pune slum, offering food, healthcare and a safe place for children to learn (Pic 1, 2). Many of the children's mothers are devadasi or have been trafficked into prostitution. Devadasi - identified by the red and white beads around their necks - are 'married' to a deity (Pic 3). Originally, the women would enjoy a high social status by performing rituals as well as dances and music at the temple; in recent times the women have operated in the flesh trade, with many Dalit daughters trafficked into working in the prostitution. Now outlawed, the Devadasis are slowly disappearing.

Dalits, once known as 'untouchables', are still rooted below the lowest rung of society, born into a system that predetermines their status. Above them, four Hindu classes or Varna occupy their own places in life; those who born without varna are seen as sub-human. Their lives are restricted to menial jobs and duties deemed impure in Hinduism: they alone work leather, dispose of dead bodies, handle carcasses, clear human and animal excrement.

Dr Beryl D'Souza (Pic 4) gave up the opportunity to work as a cardiologist to campaign for the rights of Dalits such as Mari, a 52-year-old widow who sweeps dust tracks each day from 4am, and Padma, 26, who cleans human waste from Hyderabad's drains with his bare hands (Pic 5-8). Dr D'Souza also works with bonded labourers tricked into relocating to a factory where jobs and accommodation were promised with the help of loans; instead of a new beginning, the workers are trapped: the interest on the loans is exorbitant and so can never be repaid. They work 14 hours a day for a pittance and their homes are discarded pipes in the factory's backyard.

In Mysore, two former journalists (Pic 9) have provided a home for hundreds of abused women and have freed thousands more. Known collectively as Stanly Parashu, the pair founded Odanadi (meaning 'soulmate') an organisation committed to rescuing victims of sex trafficking and domestic slavery. As well as a safe place to call home, the women are offered counselling and education. Many leave to start their own businesses (Pic 10-12).


Wee Corby

Since Roman times, the abundance of iron ore in the English East Midlands has led to constant, if modest, excavation in the area; but an increased need for steel in the early 20th century encouraged Anglo-Scots firm Stewarts & Lloyds to build a steel works. And the company had to look no further than Scotland’s west coast for a ready-made workforce left unemployed by the slump of that country’s manufacturing base.

Soon Corby - a village of 1500 in 1931 - saw its population swell to 12,000 by the end of the 1930s.

More Scots poured into Corby after it was designated a New Town in 1950. But by the mid-1970s the boom was bust, and by the end of 1981 over 5000 workers had lost their jobs; further cuts doubled that number, resulting in an unemployment rate of over 30%.

Some returned north, but most remained. This work explores the attempts by many of those left behind to retain their Scottish identity in a modern, multi-cultural town.