Johny Pitts: Home is Not a Place

Fri 23 Jun 2023 - Sun 24 Sep 2023

"...a remoulding of narratives surrounding Black British culture today." 

- AnOther Magazine

Group of young girls stood together, on a bright sunny day

Johny Pitts: Home is Not a Place

Fri 23 Jun 2023 - Sun 24 Sep 2023

"...a remoulding of narratives surrounding Black British culture today." 

- AnOther Magazine

This event is part of our Past Programme

In 2021, photographer and writer, Johny Pitts, and poet Roger Robinson travelled around the British coast in search of an answer to the question 'What is Black Britain?' Their collaboration became Home is Not a Place - coming to The Photographers’ Gallery this June.

Travelling in a red Mini Cooper, Pitts and Robinson’s circumnavigation encompassed the coastal, urban, rural and suburban, via the places in-between.  Following the coast clockwise, together they set out to document and respond to the many manifestations of Black British culture, and to present an alternative to official and media narratives.

In the exhibition and accompanying book Robinson's poetry sits alongside Pitts' images from around the country. The show's title comes from a quote by American writer James Baldwin ‘perhaps home is not a place, but simply an irrevocable condition’.

Pitts invites you to come in, take a seat and feel right at home - to experience what home means to him - whether you’re flicking through family photo albums, chatting and sharing ideas, or listening to pirate radio playlists from Pitts’ 1980s youth.

Pitts’ pared back approach…has a simplicity that’s refreshing and unpretentious.

- Aesthetica Magazine

Johny Pitts: Home is Not a Place, artist film

Group of young girls stood in the sunshine,

My photographic practice involves trying to celebrate Black spaces, capture them while they’re still here and give them a home.

Johny Pitts
Colour photograph of a young person sat behind a glass screen, looking over their left shoulder towards the camera. There is a reflection of another person in the glass.

Journey with Johny Pitts through a series of audio recordings

Listen to photographer Johny Pitts talk about photographs in the exhibition, and Roger Robinson recite his poem.

Listen now

About Johny Pitts

Born in Sheffield, Johny Pitts is a self-taught photographer, writer and broadcaster. The founder of the online journal and author of Afropean: Notes from Black Europe, Pitts spent more than a decade documenting the Black experience in Europe.

He currently presents Open Book for BBC Radio 4 and a forthcoming Afropean podcast funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society. Pitts has contributed words and images for The Guardian, The New Statesman, The New York Times, and Condé Nast Traveller. His first solo show was held at Foam in Amsterdam in 2020.

Book cover image of Home Is Not A Place by Johny Pitts & Roger Robinson

Buy a signed copy of the book

Johny Pitts and Roger Robinson: Home Is Not A Place, available now in the TPG shop. Signed copies available.

Buy now

Pitts was supported by the inaugural Ampersand/Photoworks Fellowship in 2021. The Ampersand/Photoworks Fellowship is a collaboration between The Ampersand Foundation and Photoworks, supported by Arts Council England.

Home is Not a Place is a touring exhibition. It has been on show in Pitts’ hometown of Sheffield at the Graves Gallery, and at the Stills Gallery in Edinburgh. The book Home is Not a Place, which combines Pitts' photographs with poems by Roger Robinson, was published by Harper Collins UK in September 2022.

With thanks to all the people who took time to share their coastal experience with Johny Pitts.