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What do you do on a Sunday? Former Star photographer launches new book exploring the nation's day of rest

By Dominic Robertson | Wordsley | News | Published: | Last Updated:

Fewer than two per cent of the population now goes to an Anglican church on a Sunday. So what are they doing instead?

Former Express & Star photographer Matt Writtle has spent the past decade documenting how people are spending their time on Sundays, and his work features in a new book and exhibition.

Matt, 44, who worked photographing the people of the Midlands from 1992 to 1999, has been studying the habits of the nation on the traditional day of rest, to see how they reflect modern society.

The photographer, who worked for the Express & Star and its sister paper the Shropshire Star, selected 12 subjects spanning a range of ages, backgrounds and locations across England, from a mother feeding her child to a group of blind ramblers and shoppers at Ikea.

Matt, who was assistant chief photographer when he left the Star, said he was thrilled at the launch of the book.

He said: “I am very excited. It has been a 12-year project.”

The book explores the changing attitude to Sundays and Matt hopes to make people question whether the change in approach is a good thing or not.

Matt, whose parents still live in Wordsley, said: "I think the traditions of Sunday are still there: spending time with the family, taking time out of the working week. But what I have found during the journey of producing the book is that Sundays are changing and they are changing quite fast. In the last 10 years, Sunday trading and the growth of the internet is eroding those traditional values. With the book I am saying that we owe it to ourselves to question whether or not these changes are a good thing."

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The book was published after a successful Kickstarter campaign.

It tells the story of 12 English Sundays and offers a snapshot of 21st century England. It launched at The Photographer’s Gallery in London with an accompanying exhibition at A-side B-side Gallery in the city next month.

Matt is an award-winning portrait and documentary photographer who is now based in London.

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