Laura Pannack: What does Brexit mean for love?

  • Beth Edwards
  • Harry Rose
  • Ameena Rojee
  • Anya Lawrence-Craig

Separation explores the angst and myriad emotions experienced by London-based couples who, as a result of Brexit, have been forced to contemplate separation. With Britain soon to sever its ties with the European Union, tens of thousands of people face the possibility of losing their right to work in the UK, not to mention being forced out of the country that they share with their partner. Brexit has long garnered column inches for its political implications, but what does it mean for love?

The Commission

In late-2017, Studio 1854 commissioned award-winning photographer Laura Pannack to create a series of portraits that explored couples forced to contemplate separation in the wake of Brexit.
The portraits were published alongside interviews with each of the couples on British Journal of Photography's website. A series of films share the reflections of some of the featured couples.
The commission was supported by Affinity Photo, the only fully functioning editing software available for iPad, with Pannack using the app throughout the three-day shoot. Studio 1854 managed all elements of the commission, including model casting, filmmaking, shoot management.
Read the round-up article here.

Ellie and Lars

"For the entirety of the 10 years that I have lived in the UK, I have been lucky to be surrounded by lovely people. No one has ever pulled a face when I told them where I was from and I’ve never experienced homophobic abuse. I doubt that would be the case if I was in Bulgaria.
"Many jobs in the creative entertainment [Ellie is an animation designer] industry are contract-based, and not necessarily in the same country. A post-Brexit UK will make life harder for both European and British creatives who want to work on big productions. I don’t want to leave the UK to have my history erased and then find out that I can’t come back to the country which I’ve spent most of my adult life in."
Ellie is Bulgarian and Lars is British. The couple met on a summer’s day at a carnival in Brighton. “She was wearing a large hat and had lipstick on her teeth. At that moment I knew that she was the one,” says Lars. “We had such a good time – that day turned into a weekend, and then another weekend, then a month and so on, until I moved in with her in London,” says Ellie.
Read the full article here.

Giulia and Stuart

"We were planning to get married at some point in the future but Brexit hurried us along. We got married six months ago in the hope that it would provide extra security in the UK for me, and also so Stuart could start applying for Italian citizenship. We are both actively looking for jobs in Italy so we can move there as soon as possible. Ideally we want to be out of the country by the time Brexit has had full effect.
"I have felt different in the UK since the referendum result was announced, and markedly less welcome. I moved to the UK straight after graduating through a six-month work placement, ironically funded by the European Union. Six months quickly became one year, and here I am ten years later."
Giulia is Italian and Stuart is British. The couple met at work. “We spent the first six months of our relationship trying to keep it secret from our colleagues. In the morning Stuart would drop me off at the back entrance to the office,” says Giulia, who moved to the UK from Italy over 10 years ago. “We later discovered that everyone had known all along. It was the worst-kept secret.”
Read the full article here.

Jana and Luke, Lyra and Saoirse

"After the referendum we thought a lot about relocating our family to Germany, and we still do. Although the UK is our home, the uncertainty, not only with my status, but also with the UK economy, has made us consider a move. There is so much instability in the UK and a lot of stability in Germany. Our lives there would be more predictable and more secure.
"Our German community has also shrunken drastically. Out of the eight local families we used to meet regularly, six have moved back to Germany. This is not all down to Brexit but it was definitely a contributing factor. Britain’s future out of the EU will be bleak; I can already feel it crumbling around me."
Luke is British and Jana is German. The couple met in 2002 in Nicaragua while travelling across Latin America. Fifteen years later, with two children and wedding rings on their fingers, travelling remains a shared passion. They moved from Leeds to London nine years ago and currently live in Islington with their two young daughters Lyra and Saoirse.
Read the full article here.

Couple Films

Project Film