What’s new…

Posted on April 13, 2017

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It has been rather a long time since I posted here… Yet I’ve been busy.

I have continued to work with Toynbee Hall on documenting their regeneration project…the latest blog post is here.

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Top floor Toynbee Hall April 2017

I am also working on a new project in Bethnal Green. The working title is PRIVATE VIEW… The idea of the project is summarised in the brief statement below:

Oxford House has been a centre for community activity in Bethnal Green for over a century. Throughout, its historic building and interior spaces have been the focal point for its activities. The building is listed on the Heritage List, which marks and celebrates places of special architectural and historic interest. Today, however its future is at risk due to damage caused by rain water coming through its very old roof.

Within a short walk of Oxford House, there are five other ‘listed’ buildings which have supported and enabled community activities in Bethnal Green. These places, which have helped to shape collective history for more than a century, are the Public Library, the Town Hall, the V&A Museum of Childhood, York Hall and the Church of St John on Bethnal Green.

Private View… is a quiet tribute to these places. It is a series of photographs of the interiors of these historic buildings. There are no people in the photographs. The viewer is offered a ‘private view’ of what might normally be regarded as a public space. Traces of human activity will however be in evidence, breathing life into the spaces and posing questions about who those absent people (both past and present) might be.

The photographs will be shown at an exhibition which will take place in November 2017. All the profits from sales of prints and catalogues at this exhibition will go the restoration fund for Oxford House.

Five of the six venues have agreed to participate. I am still in discussion with the Town Hall which is now a private hotel. Also my contact at the V&A has just moved on to another job so I have to re-establish contact there once again – who said photography would be easy.

For a long time I’ve admired the work of Candida Hofer, one of the Dusseldorf School of photographers. She specialises in depicting interior spaces (absent of people). I must admit she is a major influence as regards this project… We’ll see if I can approach her standards!

PRIVATE VIEW… will be part of a collaborative exhibition at Oxford House in November this year. All of the projects on show at the exhibition will be linked in some way to Oxford House and the local Bethnal Green community. My co-conspiritors are John Umney and Sarah-Jane Field…so we have another OCA collaboration in progress. I will let John and Sarah-Jane reveal the nature of their project ideas in due course.

I have posted a short video showing some of the work I have done to date…lots more to do, but happily quite a lot of time remaining. The video is available on Vimeo. Click on the photograph below to access the video.

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Oxford House IV, 2017

The final images will be large prints (A1 and A2 frames possibly).

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