Limited Edition of 500
110 x 160 mm
The fox holds significant importance in the UK, as Londoners are divided in their adoration or disdain for these creatures. Notably, the social tensions arising from the Brexit conflict mirror the bitter animosity prevailing between pro and anti-fox factions. Some individuals perceive urban foxes as a malign aberration. However, the truth remains that, like humans, foxes adapt to their surroundings and thrive wherever circumstances permit. The visual tale, titled ‘I’ll Bet The Devil My Head’, metaphorically underlines the shared traits and experiences between humans and foxes, highlighting the disparities among inhabitants of different London neighbourhoods.
Over a period of 4 years, whilst living in Tower Hamlets, Spanish artist Carlos Alba documented the daily life of a family of local Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes). In the borough of Tower Hamlets, 43% of children live in poverty—the highest rate in London—yet his neighbourhood is surrounded by two of the most important financial areas in the world: The City of London and Canary Wharf.
To make this project, Alba would begin photographing in the hours when both the city brokers left their offices and the foxes came out onto the streets. Echoing the methodology of a wildlife photographer, Alba studied the behaviour of his subjects and waited patiently for both humans and foxes to appear. The resulting photographs show the fleeting movement of both the foxes and city workers through the same streets. The backdrops show both austere, slick office buildings and also areas where nature is slowly encroaching on the city. Mainly lit by artificial street and office lights, both people and beasts are often obscured by darkness and shadow.
The making of this project coincided with the EU Referendum, when much of the media discussion has focused on the disconnection between London and the rest of the country. With the widespread characterisation of London as the home of a privileged metropolitan elite, the reality was starkly different with inequality in the capital higher than elsewhere in England. The great division in the UK over Brexit echoed Londoner’s own tensions over foxes—some celebrating the prevalence of urban wildlife and others perceiving them as a malign aberration.
Although the book focuses on one small area of London, Red foxes are flourishing in urban areas across the world. The book acts as a global metaphor for inequality, with the use of the fox, familiar since Aesop’s fables over 2500 years ago.
About the Artist
Carlos Alba (born 1984 in Madrid, Spain) is visual artist working mainly with photography, video, painting, installation and performance. His work is focused on human an non-human relations in the modern world, specially in subjects related with his life. He uses his art work as a therapy to understand his feelings, his past, his masculinity, and his fears. He is exploring issues from everyday life especially those which affect vulnerable living beings. His tools are objects and archives that help him to find the final visual art work that he wants to make.
About the Publisher
Void is an independent publishing house dedicated to photography books and education. The project is driven by its founders Myrto Steirou and João Linneu. You might bump into Myrto, Void’s editor, at a book fair or festival in a far flung part of the globe, but you’ll usually find her in Greece, at their store in Athens. João, Void’s designer, is based in Reykjavík… it’s entirely possible that you may not meet him (in person at least). Void works with both established and up-and-coming artists, proudly fostering photographers’ debut books.
Void has collaborated with many international art institutions since we started, back in October 2016. In 2021 Void became one of Futures Photography’s members. Void is devoted to and passionate about the projects they undertake. In their books, you will find powerful stories and innovative design, melded together with fine and experimental material.