Folio: Decoy by Peter Spurgeon

Peter Spurgeon is a documentary photographer based in Bristol, UK. His work has been exhibited internationally and he was recently nominated for the PhotogrVphy Grant and shortlisted for the ESPY Photography Award.

Decoy is a series documenting a secret British Air Ministry project that took place during the Second World War. Sound City film studios in Shepperton were commissioned to design fake cities, airfields, docks and oil refineries. The objective of this simulation was to divert bombs away from the real targets. The decoys were set up a few miles away from the true locations and illuminated using fires and electric lights. Today, only control bunkers remain at many of the sites as crumbling reminders of this forgotten endeavour. They sheltered the crew and housed generators for the lights. This simulation diverted five percent of enemy bombs away from their intended destinations.

“The project is informed by archive sources and my images are made at former decoy locations. I am intrigued by simple ingenuity of the decoy designs and wish to record the disappearing structures and empty sites. I introduce theatrical lighting to animate the landscape and to evoke visual deception in war.”


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All images copyright Peter Spurgeon.