The Guardian, in association with Vintage Classics, is asking photographers of all ages to imagine and capture how Oliver Twist’s world would look now. We will select the winning photograph to be the cover of a new edition of the novel published in March 2012. The image could be dramatic, dark, funny or touching, but it should be a modern twist on the spirit of the original story.
What would the Artful Dodger look like in 2012? Or Bill Sykes and his dog? What atmosphere do the backstreets of our cities have today? The picture can be black-and-white or colour. It could be a portrait, a landscape, or just a telling detail from the novel subtly updated – and it must have been taken specifically for this competition.
From an accompanying Guardian essay on Oliver Twist by Simon Callow.
The all-important thing for Dickens in writing the book is that IT IS TRUE, as he wrote (in capitals) in the Preface. He is describing “the very scum and refuse of the land”. He was particularly keen that no one should think a criminal life glamorous: “What charms has it for the young and ill-disposed, what allurements for the most jolter-headed of juveniles? Here are no canterings on moonlit heaths, no merry-makings in the snuggest of all possible caverns.” No, this is the life of the urban underbelly: “The cold, wet, shelterless midnight streets of London; the foul and frowzy dens, where vice is closely packed and lacks the room to turn; the haunts of hunger and disease, the shabby rags that scarcely hold together.”
Posted on Monday, November 7th 2011