“ I selected the urban foxes as a metaphor of the working class, the ravens as an element of social control and the brookers as the elite of this fable. I like to play with the universal language of a short story that tells a moral truth and can be interpreted from children to ancients.” – Carlos Alba
The fox holds significant importance in the UK, as Londoners are divided in their adoration or disdain for these creatures. Notably, the social tensions arising from the Brexit conflict mirror the bitter animosity prevailing between pro and anti-fox factions. Some individuals perceive urban foxes as a malign aberration. However, the truth remains that, like humans, foxes adapt to their surroundings and thrive wherever circumstances permit. The visual tale, titled ‘I’ll Bet The Devil My Head’, metaphorically underlines the shared traits and experiences between humans and foxes, highlighting the disparities among inhabitants of different London neighbourhoods.
Over a period of 4 years, whilst living in Tower Hamlets, Spanish artist Carlos Alba documented the daily life of a family of local Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes). In the borough of Tower Hamlets, 43% of children live in poverty—the highest rate in London—yet his neighbourhood is surrounded by two of the most important financial areas in the world: The City of London and Canary Wharf.
To make this project, Alba would begin photographing in the hours when both the city brokers left their offices and the foxes came out onto the streets. Echoing the methodology of a wildlife photographer, Alba studied the behaviour of his subjects and waited patiently for both humans and foxes to appear. The resulting photographs show the fleeting movement of both the foxes and city workers through the same streets. The backdrops show both austere, slick office buildings and also areas where nature is slowly encroaching on the city. Mainly lit by artificial street and office lights, both people and beasts are often obscured by darkness and shadow.