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  • Place of origin:

    Somerset (Tnkers Bubble Community, Photographed)

  • Date:

    August 2005

  • Artist/Maker:

    Spero, David, born 1963 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    C Type Print

  • Credit Line:

    Purchase funded by the Photographs Acquisition Group

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case MB2H, shelf DR9, box PHOTO

David Spero is a British photographer known for his quietly contemplative enquiries into overlooked communities and the appropriation of space.

For Settlements, Spero spent 10 years documenting communities that aim to live with minimal impact on the environment. The series focusses on self-built dwellings, featuring structures erected in line with their residents’ ecologically sustainable, land-based living. These communities are almost entirely self-sufficient; they use recycled building materials, renewable energy sources and grow their own food. This body of work follows four low-impact communities: Tinker’s Bubble and King’s Hill in Somerset, Brithdir Mawr in Pembrokeshire, and Steward Woodland in Dartmoor. Each is home to between 10 and 20 residents who value close proximity to nature and a visceral connection with the land they inhabit. These photographs are a sensitive record of how these communities live, surrounded by lush green settings in dense forest that suggest an almost fairytale-like quality.

Spero graduated from his studies at the Royal College of Art in 1993. Since then, he has made many celebrated photographic series, including Settlements, Churches and Ball Photographs. Spero’s work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Northern Photography Centre, Finland, the National Media Museum, Bradford, and The Photographers’ Gallery, London. He was awarded the Photoworks Fellowship at the British School in Rome in 2009. He has also been the recipient of the British Council Award and the Kyoto Exchange Award. A monograph of his series Churches was published in 2007 and of the series Settlements in 2017.

Physical description

Photograph depicts the interior of a timber framed house. In the foreground a chair with blue covering can be seen, behind which a wall with a number of shelves holding various jars, household items and notes pinned to the wall. To the left of the centre of the photograph a second room with bunk beds can be seen through an open doorway. The roof is made of canvas and tarpaulin. A stove can be seen on the right side of the photograph and a clothes line runs through to the centre of the frame.

Place of Origin

Somerset (Tnkers Bubble Community, Photographed)


August 2005


Spero, David, born 1963 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

C Type Print


Height: 10 in, Width: 12 in

Descriptive line

Colour photograph by David Spero from the series 'Settlements', 2004-15

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Book dummy for the monograph titled 'Settlements' was acquired as part of this purchase.
Settlements by David Spero, published 2017


Photographic paper


C-type process; Photography


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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