Simon Roberts’ work has been published and exhibited widely, with recent shows at Klompching Gallery in New York and the Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai. His photographs are represented in major public and private collections, including the Deutsche Börse Art Collection and the Wilson Centre for Photography. In recognition for his work, Roberts has received several accolades, including the Vic Odden Award from the Royal Photographic Society (2007), offered for a notable achievement in the art of photography by a British photographer, a National Media Museum Bursary (2007) and a grant from the John Kobal Foundation (2008). More recently Roberts was awarded a Fellowship Distinction from the Royal Photographic Society (2009) and a World Press Photo Award (2010).
Motherland, his first monograph, was published in 2007 (Chris Boot Ltd) to critical acclaim and exhibited widely with major solo shows at The Photographer’s Gallery, Pushkin House and Photofusion in London, as well as exhibitions in Brighton, Belfast, Lodz (Poland), New York, and Shanghai. This exploration of contemporary Russian society was followed with a project closer to home focusing on scenes of the English at leisure in We English (Chris Boot Ltd, 2009), a major showing of which was exhibited at the National Media Museum, Bradford (2010). In early 2010 Roberts was elected as the official Election Artist, commissioned by the House of Commons to produce a series of artworks responding to the UK General Election to be displayed in the House of Commons in the summer of 2010.
The work featured in Polyarnye Nochi, extending from Roberts’ Motherland project, focuses on winter in northern Russia, finding a region shrouded in darkness nearly 24 hours a day, a phenomenon known as Polyarnye Nochi (Polar Nights). Throughout December until mid-January, the sun remains below the horizon and there is only a faint glow of light visible around midday. One third of Russia’s population live and work in these inhospitable climatic conditions. It is perhaps miraculous that factories, apartment blocks, towns and entire cities have been constructed in what should be a deserted, Arctic wasteland.