We hear from Felicity Hammond about what she’s been up to since winning and how the award has benefited her career.
Originally part of her MA Degree show, this piece is emblematic of the tension between past and future, which is inscribed on the rapidly changing face of London. Once a city dominated by factories and industry, Hammond’s work looks at the demolition of these structures to make way for luxury housing and office spaces, and what this says about both progression and loss in the context of the urban landscape.
Hammond’s work sits at an intersection between image-making, installation and sculpture and so having her practise recognised by some of the most influential figures in photography was a defining moment for the artist.
“One of the most important outcomes has been the introduction of my practice to a range of curators and professionals who were not aware of it before. The award attracts a wide range of people, many of whom I have collaborated with since.”
Her practise is a testament to how photography can be incorporated into a larger multi-media experience and the medium continues to play a central role in her work. Hammond began a PHD in Contemporary Art Research at the University of Kingston the same year she won and is currently researching the image making methodologies employed in architectural visualisations, looking at ways to translate them into her practise.
She recognises the importance of entering the International Photography Award for the development of her career. Encouraging others to do the same, Hammond observes “it’s a way of presenting your work to a panel of judges made up of curators, writers and photographers. Even if you’re unsuccessful in your application, someone may remember your work in the future.” Winning the award introduced the recent graduate’s art to an array of curators and professionals, many of whom she has worked with since.
The past two years have been particularly busy. Following her show at TJ Boulting, with fellow IPA winner Juno Calypso, Hammond went on to have her first solo exhibition in London at Space In Between, supported by Arts Council England. She then exhibited at Unseen with South Kiosk and at both Photo London and AIPAD New York with The Photographer’s Gallery. She has also received numerous commissions, including a project for Photoworks and, most recently, one from Signal Film and Media.
Combining her PHD research and the Signal Film and Media commission, Hammond’s recent project In Defence of Industry is, by her own admission, “my most ambitious project to date, where I have pushed my interest in installation, considering ways of translating digital forms into the physical space.”
Realised as a huge photo-collage mounted on a four-metre light box, the work centres on the former iron-ore mining industry of Barrow-In-Furness, and looks too at the future landscape of an area best known for making and housing the UK’s nuclear submarines.
This project is an extension of the themes she investigated in Restore to Factory Settings. Participating in the IPA 2016 provided Hammond with an opportunity to reflect on her practise, which helped her better develop it: “it was important to enter as it provided a means of reviewing my work. I was forced to think critically about it and work out which parts were successful and which could be left out.”
Since winning, she has focused many of her projects on exploring the relationship between her art and the site in which it exists, most recently, producing a performance piece at the Tate Modern in 2016, as part of her project The Language of Living.
Developing her own unique voice and style are central to Hammond’s work. Offering advice to entrants of this year’s award she stresses the importance of remaining true to your vision. “Don’t be afraid to be honest in your work – don’t try and replicate what you think the judges are looking for, or assume that your work isn’t the right style or genre. What they want is something unique; work that is contributing something new to photography.”
Currently Hammond is researching the different surfaces that exist in the built environment, both physical and metaphorical. Given that the work she creates is wedded to the changing landscapes around her, Hammond predicts her future projects will evolve in tandem with rapid developments in the urban environment.
“As technology advances and the city adapts, as new architectural features respond to security threats and new public safety measures, then my practice will also adapt to make sense of our environment.”
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