3: Landscape as Political Text Inspiration

Sara Pickering

Sarah Pickering  has photographed training grounds for the fire and police service.

In Public Order (2005), she photographed the £55 million facility in Kent that is used by the police for firearms and riot training. Her images contain no people – though the police service who supported her work wanted her to photograph action she felt that the images without people are more powerful.


Pickering’s images depict a truly uncanny space, some revealing creepily accurate architectural details, others displaying almost comical crudeness in the design of the state-of-the-art facility. The strange, two-dimensional façades of these ‘streets’ give the space a film set or theatre-like quality, in readiness for some grim and violent narrative to unfold… As a viewer one can imagine waking up in this peculiar world and wandering bewilderedly through an inescapable network of streets that don’t lead anywhere and doors that open onto nothing.

(Alexander 2013 p 95)