This ‘Decoy’ series relates to 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 enemy bombs away from the real targets. The decoys were set up a few miles away from their ‘parent’ locations and constructed 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 5% 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 lighting to animate the landscape and to evoke the theatre of visual deception in war.
Peter Spurgeon is a British photographer, living and working in Bristol, UK. He completed a Master of Arts in Documentary Photography at the University of South Wales, Newport (2016). His Decoy project was selected by Tate Modern curator Shoair Mavlian for the 2016 Source MA Graduate Photography Online.
all images and text © Peter Spurgeon