Exercise : Read the article ‘Think Global , Act Local’ by Diane Smyth (BJP Aug 2010, p.55 )
Research Tom Hunter’s work at tom hunter.org/htlm/news.phd
Finally , listen to Tom Hunter talking about one of his most iconic images , Woman reading a possession order , on Radio 3:bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00zt7ky
Summarise your thoughts.
Preferring a slow approach Hunter uses a large format field camera , or sometimes a pinhole camera . The images of his local neighbourhood use carefully considered light , hues and compositions and are beautiful to view. He initially began by photographing his friends and neighbours living in squats , but rather than depicting the squat dwellers as misfits and victims he wanted them to be perceived in a more dignified way , he comments “colour and light became key to the way I looked at my neighbourhood” (Radio 3 BBC) . He continues to use friends and the inhabitants of his Hackney community to convey local issues which include fabricated elements , he challenges the concept of realism believing that “images are real yet created by the person manipulating the camera” (Radio 3 BBC)
Drawing inspiration from Johannes Vermeer Hunter’s documentary work is intended to convey a sense of seriousness . Despite little information about Vermeer he is believed by some art historians to have used a camera obscura and it is this relationship with photography in Vermeer’s paintings that fascinated Hunter . Vermeer’s paintings of his small local community are intimate with minutiae details , Hunter calls him a “painter of the people” (Radio 3 BBC) , and describes Vermeer’s work as “magical and amazing” (Radio 3 BBC).Likewise Hunter’s images are detailed studies of his local neighbourhood showing the beauty that exists in the most unlikely places if you are only prepared to ‘see’ the world in a different way.
However he acknowledges an inherent problem in creating beautiful but meaningful photographs that are subsequently then displayed in small exclusive galleries and bought by wealthy collectors. He states how important it is that his work reaches a wide and diverse audience “I didn’t want to become ghettoised in the art world-if I was just trying to create beautiful objects that would be fine , but I’m trying to put across a message as well “His image Woman reading possession order captures a private and personal moment with integrity and is proof that art can force change. Due to the influence the image had the re-possession never took place , Hunter creates “art with a social impact” (Radio 3 BBC) .
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