Tom Hunter’s best-known shot shows a young woman in a squat reading a possession order; taken in Hunter’s home in the 1990s, the portrait’s colour and composition evoke Vermeer’s A Girl Reading At An Open Window. His new series, Figures in a Landscape, is a similar combination of personal and the cultural, which takes the viewer “through a world imbued with myths and legends”.
Starting in Dorset, in the village where Hunter grew up, the series tracks past standing stones and megalithic chalk figures in the countryside and the dinosaurs in London’s Crystal Palace park, and ends up in Hackney, Hunter’s base for the last 20 years, and once home to Lugus, the Celtic god of the River Lea. The last shot was taken at Winterville where, says Hunter “the mid-winter solstice pagan festival becomes distorted in an Olympian mountain top landscape. Here ancient and contemporary narratives clash and shatter into a dystopian consumerist nightmare”.
ABC Photography, a children’s guide to photography featuring images by Martin Parr, Wolfgang Tillmans, Nan Goldin, Alec Soth, Sebastiao Salgado and many more, opens at the V&A Museum of Childhood this weekend. Inspired by the recent book edited by Jan von Holleben – who also shoots children’s books himself – the project takes one photographic concept per letter to explain ideas such as deconstruction, composition, exposure and perspective. The text, by Monte Packham, is child-friendly and witty, and draws on the images to make a satisfyingly holistic whole. An exhibition by Tom Hunter called Searching for Ghosts also opens at the V&A Museum of Childhood this weekend, featuring work made with children living on the Boundary Estate. ABC Photography is free, and is open until 11 June in London’s V&A Museum of Childhood. ABC Photography, ed Jan van Holleben, is published by Tarzipan Books. Searching for Ghosts by Tom Hunter is open until 21 January 2018.
In 1992, thousands of New Age travellers, ravers and gypsies converged on Castlemorton Common in Worcestershire for a week-long free festival. Widely reported in the press, the event attracted an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 people and became impossible for the police to close down. Tom Hunter, then a student at the London College of Printing, was involved in the free party scene but somehow missed the event; he soon realised he’d let a seminal moment pass him by and vowed not to do so again. Castlemorton led directly to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, however, which outlawed outdoor parties that included “sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats” in the UK. So, three years later, Hunter and a squad of fellow squatters were on their way to Europe in a decommissioned double-decker bus, complete with sound system and provisions. Over the ensuing months, the group travelled to folk festivals in France, hippie gatherings in Austria and beach parties in Spain, with the bus – Le Crowbar – doubling …