Discovered in the basement of the Rio cinema in 2016, an archive of 12,000 images made by an initiative for unemployed people, provides a portrait of everyday life, shot from within the community
Shot over four years, Nelson’s new documentary hones in on a single street in Hackney, where 150-year-old eateries meet hipster coffee joints and £2m penthouse flats
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”.
“I don’t have a journalistic bone in my body,” says Chris Dorley-Brown. “I’ve never been to Kosovo. Loads of people do that really well, but I don’t have the urge or the instinct, and that’s partly why I don’t really think of myself as a professional. I do the odd advertising job to earn money, and I think I do it okay, but the phone isn’t ringing off the hook with jobs because I don’t put the energy into promoting myself, since I’m wandering around here all the time. I keep my overheads low and can just about get away with it.” It’s a modest way to sum up an extraordinary body of work – more than 30 years of images, nearly all shot in London’s East End, and most photographed on the street. Some show luxury new developments, others rundown social housing. Some capture crowds of people, some empty streets. Many are one-offs, others – such as the images in The Corners – are manipulated using Photoshop to put various passersby together on one intersection
“It is an opportunity to meet people in the industry in a relaxed and enjoyable setting,” says Mimi Mollica, photographer and founder of Offspring Photomeet. “It’s easy to build contacts when you hang out for a couple of days with editors and publishers who share the same passion as you.” Offspring Photomeet will return to Space Studios in Hackney in June for its 5th annual portfolio review, offering one-on-one reviews with experts from Tate Modern, British Journal of Photography, The Guardian and more.
“Music is a language for all humans; it gets under your skin and brings out and expresses strong emotions,” says Emily Stein, whose latest commission took her to a primary school in North London, where she photographed young children for Stella McCartney’s Kid’s fashion range
‘It is essential that this important exhibition is seen by as many women as possible. To do this we need money – to make it fit to travel all over Britain. Please help and send donations to:- “The Hackney Flashers Collective” who took all the photographs and organised it.’ Written in red marker pen, the appeal appears on a poster made in 1975 by socialist-feminist collective The Hackney Flashers. With their travelling exhibitions, Jo Spence and other members created influential agitprop materials as a way of confronting social prejudices. Their black-and-white prints – of women at work in factories; female machinists hunched over sewing machines; a mother holding a saucepan over the stove and a baby on her hip – helped campaign for equal pay in the workplace and better childcare provisions. “They wanted to operate in society and not as part of the art world,” says Elena Crippa, who curated the retrospective of Jo Spence’s work at Tate Britain. Using the flash of the camera as a pun on the revealing nature of photography, The Hackney Flashers …
You don’t have to look far to find cultural representations of motherhood. The Virgin Mary, with downcast eyes; Heat-era celebrities flaunting impossibly flat, post-baby stomachs. And yet these images all tend to show a particular take: evasive, sanitised, as though to distract from the unseen horror of labour. “Everyone seems to have this fear and anxiety about the birth,” says Jenny Lewis, whose project on new mothers, One Day Young, has just been published by Hoxton Mini Press. The book consists of 40 portraits, selected from 150, of Hackney-based mothers in their homes, within 24 hours of the birth. “After my son was born, I felt this responsibility to tell people I met who were pregnant that it’s going to be OK.” She decided a portrait series could do that job for her. [bjp_ad_slot] “I put leaflets up in hairdressers, chip shops, corner shops, trying to get a varied demographic of people,” she recalls. The leaflets included a link to her website and as soon as she’d shoot a portrait, she’d publish it online so potential subjects could …