In a world where editing and censorship are hugely restrictive and unmediated expression has become a rarity, where the media set the limits of public discussion, and where hiding behind the protective wall of a computer screen to express your opinion has become the norm, Speakers Corner presents a powerful contrast to the social media activists we see on our daily news feeds.
With a focus on social, political and economic issues and the impact of public policy upon the individual and society, Phillip Wolmuth is a documentary photographer based in London. His latest book Speakers Corner: Debate, Democracy and Disturbing the Peace is an observation of the famous Speakers Corner in London’s Hyde Park.
A place globally renowned as the home of free speech, where people go to discuss, argue, preach and debate it was described by George Orwell as ‘one of the minor wonders of the world’. Wolmuth’s photographs document what has become a ‘vital element of our democratic tradition’ and one which came in the wake of the influential campaigners of the nineteenth century who won the rights to freedom of expression.
Spanning almost four decades, most of the photographs were taken on Sunday afternoons capturing the power of unrestricted free speech. Published for the first time in his book, each image is accompanied with carefully selected excerpts capturing the very essence of the speech.