Many of you will know of the tragic and horrifying fire in Grenfell Tower, a tower block in London a few days ago. While my heart goes out to the people involved and their families, I was especially saddened to learn of the death of the Photographer Khadija Saye. I hope that you will take the opportunity to click on the links above and below to show what we have lost.
It's unusual enough (Though it shouldn't be) to celebrate a rising photographic talent who is female and African, but to have to do that in the context of her unnecessary death is tragic beyond belief. Some of her images are special and I especially like these collections.
This death of a talented visual artist was made even more poignant because of the circumstances in which it occurred. Those of you who have seen the truly shocking images of the fire and how quickly it spread, plus how the building looks now and the carnage it caused may well, like me, have a sense of anger at how this was let happen. The UK is the fifth richest economy in the world and the tower block was in the richest borough in London, with house prices apparently the most expensive in the world. Yet it seems that cost cutting and compromises in the construction of the tower show that those who currently govern the UK, at a national and local level, seem to treat those who are, in cash terms, poor with a disdain and lack of respect that verges on the criminal. This government and council allows super wealthy foreign investors to buy up property and leave it empty for speculation and yet aren't even prepared to pay for the basic fire prevention measures that would have saved many lives.
And while I condemn this attitude on behalf of all the victims of this terrible disaster, I was reminded of my own attempts to become a career photographer and not having much money to carry that out as i wanted. I can't imagine the horror of the situation in which Khadija Saye died and I hope at least that when the causes of the fire are investigated, she will get some justice. However, that may take time and as ever many of those who are really responsible may evade the punishment they deserve.
This has been a summer of unnecessary death in the UK and I doubt the spectres of religious and racial hatred and the heartlessness which seems to fuel some of our political parties is done with us yet. I am glad that Khadija Saye has left us a body of work that we can appreciate, but I am horrified, saddened and VERY angry that she will not be able to create any more.