Austerity Appraisal

After researching how Austerity is effecting The UK, I at first wanted to photograph our high streets, displaying how the financial situation was effecting small shops. But the more I thought about it the more I reaslised there was something a lot closer to me that I thought I would be able to photograph and show the story.

In the UK cuts to pensions are meaning that more elderly people are struggling to cope financially and somebody who is being effected by this is my grandfather. I wanted to photograph him in his home showing how he is coping with day to day life and how the cuts to pensions are effecting him, all whilst living alone.

Before I did my shoot I researched other photographers who have photographed the elderly in their homes, and found that most had been taken for the purpose of articles for various newspapers. Whilst these images conveyed what the photographer had intended, I though a lot of them looked as if they had been staged for the purpose of the photograph. An Example:












photo taken from:

Although this photograph is suitable for its purpose, I didn’t want my photos to seem staged. So I decided to stand back and photograph my grandfather through the day, and hopefully capture how he is coping through a difficult time. At first I just wanted to show how he deals with finances and his views towards the governments efforts to help pensioners, but as I was there I realised there was more I could show with the photographs, not just the obvious effects of austerity, but a more personal insight to how these problems tie into his life, which reflects thousands of people in similar circumstances.

Image Breakdown

  • 1) The first photograph in my series is of my grandfather taking medication. I feel that this acts as a good introduction to him and as it reflects a large amount of elderly people in the UK dealing with health problems.
  • 2) This photograph of the fridge shows how fresh food is kept in my grandfathers fridge, cuts to his pension has meant that he can’t afford to shop as regularly as he used to, mainly relying on family members to help out where possible.
  • 3) I took this photograph as my grandfather was walking down the corridor and I wanted the audiences eyes to be drawn to the photograph on the wall in front of him, showing my grandparents together.
  • 4) As the previous image suggests my grandfather now lives alone. I wanted these photographs to let the audience emotionally understand my grandfathers life and the loss of my grandmother has effected how he deals with such issues as finances. I photographed his bed because the objects on the bedside table show the connection he still has with my grandmother.
  • 5) I took this as my grandfather was watching the news. This image is similar to the previous two as, by focusing on the empty chair beside him, I wanted the audience to understand that my grandfather is mainly dealing with these problems by himself.
  • 6) I think out of all my photographs, this one mostly resembles other photographers images when documenting the problems with the elderly being able to afford heating in cold weather.
  • 7) This is the first image that shows my grandfather with another person. I took this photograph to show that he relies on family to help him deal with his finances and I think that this too reflects a large part of the elderly.
  • 8 and 9) I have grouped these two photographs together as they were both taken as my grandfather was waiting to be taken to a hospital appointment. I chose the 9th image in my series to be my last because I think this portrait shows how my grandfather feels about his situation.

I had intended to take one more photograph of my grandfather filling out his voting form for the local council, giving an insight to his views on the current goverment and their ideas of how they can improve his situation, nwith many others in the same positiong, but this was not possible.

I think that my shoot truthfully reflects my grandfathers situation and shows how he is dealing with problems, ultimately made harder by cuts to pension and the financial situation the UK is in at the moment.


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