Sarah Pickering: Explosions, Fires and Public Order Aperture
UK photographer Sarah Pickering's Explosions, Fires and Public Order is a visually arresting glimpse into the secret world of civil defense. Combining four series, the book begins with Public Order, a project exploring the Metropolitan Police Public Order Training Centre, a simulated urban environment near London where officers rehearse responses to imagined scenarios of civic unrest. The Explosions series documents the tactical use of controlled explosions by the British military, designed to add realistic stress to training exercises and familiarize soldiers with various munitions. Fire Series and Incident, Pickering's most recent series, were produced while she was an artist in residence at the UK Fire Training College. While there, she photographed blazes that were set inside meticulously and elaborately constructed home interiors, as well as the stark, charred remnants of fake urban settings after the scenario fires had been put out. Pickering's projects reflect an aspect of the current zeitgeist: global terrorism matched with omnipresent anxiety. "My work explores the idea of imagined threat and response, and looks at fear and planning for the unexpected, merging fact and fiction, fantasy and reality."