Press Release - 'This Is Stanley' Film screening and photographic exhibition
Simon Green has been a photographer for over twenty years, starting his career as a surveillance photography instructor in the British Army. In 2002 after nine years Simon left the Army and went on to build a successful photography business in Cornwall.
In 2011 Simon was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) attributable to his military career, unable to work he was forced to close his business and unable to find help he returned to the North East. After five years of struggling with his mental heath problems Simon has started to find his way back to society and photography through creative programs such as those ran by Derwentside Mind and Durham County Council’s ‘Colour Your Life’.
Organised by Stanley Fringe ‘This Is Stanley’ is Simon’s first project in several years. Produced over a period of six months he photographed and filmed inhabitants of Stanley and the surrounding areas. He approached the project with an open mind, with little knowledge of the place and a barrage of rhetoric behind him.
On a hilltop not too far from Newcastle, Durham and Sunderland, the former mining town of Stanley overlooks rolling countryside all the way to the North Sea in the east and to the Pennines in the west. With the decline of traditional industries in the North East as a whole, as well as in this town, much of the supporting infrastructure has fallen into decline: empty buildings, a struggling high street, lack of investment by big business or local government until very recently, a reputation for crime and deprivation, a town that according to both insiders and outsiders should be bulldozed.
“I was treated from the start with incredible friendliness, without exception all those that I approached were willing to tell me their story, to talk (often for hours) about the past, present and future of the town. The older generations remember the mining town, a vibrant and