London Independent Photography
LIProfile: Carol HudsonClare Glenister
Small is Beautiful:The Photo BookAndy Moye
Eye on the Estuary:The Photographs ofJonathan BayerWilliam Bishop
Copydate: Please send copy, photos, etc. forinclusion in the next edition to either Jenniferor Clare BEFORE 27 July
Co- Editors: Clare Glenister141 Bramley Close,London E17 6EGTel: 020 8523 [email protected](Articles and listings)
Jennifer Hurstfield102 Calabria Road,London N5 1HUTel: 020 7359 [email protected](Articles and news items)
Layout & Tony WallisGraphics: 21 Wrentham Avenue
London NW10 3HSTel: 020 8960 [email protected]
Websites: Countdown 2000:www.spelthorne.ac.uk/mp/LIP and RPS ContemporaryGroup programme:www.digital-imaging.net
Cover Photo: Carol Hudson
3London Independent Photography
My interest in photographystarted when a friend ofmine went to a photographyevening class. I thought that itsounded interesting so I went withhim. I did not have a camera atthe time so borrowed one from myfriend. I was really pleased withthe first film I developed but mypartner, Tony Mayne (formerphotographer and now cameramanwith the BBC) said, Youll neverbe a photographer. That waswhen I determined to be one!
I was working for an environmen-tal health department - killing ratsand clearing drains and things ofthat kind. (Well, what else can youdo with a philosophy degree!)During the following year Ibought a second-hand camera,went to more evening classes (City& Guilds 740 and A level) and gaveup my job to do a foundation artcourse. I applied to a number ofcolleges for a full-time photogra-phy course.
For the sixth in our series,
Clare Glenister talked to Carol
Hudson, recentlyelected Exhibitions
At that time Derby and Notting-ham Trent Universities offered ajoint course in Creative Photogra-phy and you had to elect whichone to attend. Knowing very littleabout the courses, I had no realpreference but as I was waiting formy interview I chatted to someonecalled David Gepp who informedme that he would be going toDerby to work with JohnBlakemore. I had never heard ofJohn Blakemore but thought Ifit's good enough for you...! SoDerby is where I went. It turnedout to me a most fortuitous choiceand photography became andremains an obsession.
I used to think photography wasabout creating pictures by framingbits of the world : selecting care-fully those things that would makepictures, that would, if you like,bear witness. At some point,during my time as a student, Ibegan to play around with thingsin front of the camera, to construct
things. That was when I becameinterested in using a large formatcamera and making rather thantaking photographs. The images Imade at that time eventuallybecame an exhibition which wasquite well received. I also at-tended a bookbinding class at thecollege and made a number ofsmall books. It is interesting to seehow fashionable this has becomenow that desktop publishing hasmade it much easier
WorkAfter finishing the photographycourse I came to London andworked with a community groupin Barnet where I taught photogra-phy to young people with specialneeds. I really enjoyed the workwhich I did for a couple of years.In fact I didnt really know what Iwanted to do. I did think seriouslyabout teaching (but thought that Iwas probably too old to be compet-ing with young graduates). So Ifreelanced for a while and had anumber of interesting commis-sions. I began some part-timelecturing at Brunel University andI am still, to this day, enjoying myclasses there. At around the sametime I started working at EalingCollege (now Thames ValleyUniversity) on a part-time basis.After a couple of years I wasoffered a position managing themedia services department and Ihave stayed there ever since.
London Independent Photography
Personal WorkI have always been interested inphotographing the domestic, theordinary and everyday things oflife and have rarely felt the need togo in search of the exotic (except,perhaps, when I needed a photo-graph of lots of snow for a piece ofwork I was making a few yearsago). This may, in part, be afeminist issue. I am concernedthat the personal is political.Often, I photograph things fromthe garden but I am not so muchinterested in making prettypictures of flowers as in using theflowers as a vehicle for ideas.My photography has always gonehand in hand with an interest inphilosophy and one of my firstprojects attempted to speak aboutperception - though it consisted of
photographs of flowers.The work was about theway the eye sees as op-posed to the way thecamera sees. We do nothave stationary, one-eyedvision. The pictures werebuilt up with layers ofopacity so you had to lookat the photograph as apicture and not as if it weretransparent. The pictureswere also made in opposi-tion to the idea of perfection -finding the perfect mushroom andmaking sure that the light wasabsolutely wonderful!
In another set of work I photo-graphed a lot of dead birds. Thisseries began when I found a deadwren in the front garden. The littlebird, the victim of a road accident,
lay so silent and still (very differentto its active scolding life). I pickedit up to admire its plumage andwas struck by the similaritybetween the stillness of this deathand a photograph. Both stopped intime at one precise moment, bothallowing me an intimacy ( a kind ofvoyeuristic looking ) which wouldnever have been possible in life.Instinctively I decided to photo-graph the wren. I found more deadbirds in the steets around my homeand brought them back andphotographed them before buryingthem in my garden. It soundsstrange, but it was important to methat I should honour the birds andso I tried to make beautiful photo-graphs. As the project progressed,I realised that I was exploring allkinds of attitudes towards mortal-ity and death. I was aware of howthese images might fit within thethe tradition of still life. EventuallyI had a sufficient number of imagesto form an exhibition. Obviously,this project took a long time tocomplete as I didn't go out and killthe birds!
I have always had something of anobsession with dead things andright from the start I photographeddead cats or rabbits. I think lotsof photographers are fascinated bydeath. Perhaps they find asimilarity between dead things andphotography in the way I do.
After that project I didn't do a lot ofphotography; I would take picturesbut not do anything with them.Then, a few years ago, feeling theneed to motivate myself, I changeddirection a little bit and did an MAin philosophy at Birkbeck Collegefollowed by another in design andmedia arts at the University ofWestminster. All this hard study-ing gave me even more excusesfor not making photographs.
5London Independent Photography
Eventually, I decided to try andcombine photography and logic inan attempt to bring together thetwo disciplines I enjoyed. It wasquite tricky! What I made in theend became more a piece of artthan a photographic project. Itused photographs but also screenprinting and text.
Until this point I had believed thattext and pictures didn't go togetherunless it was for photojournalisticor editorial reasons. Although,upon reflection I realised that this isnot true.
There is a lot of political work thatuses image and text together verysuccessfully. I think you can doanything you want really. In theend it's about communication.Everybody should be encouragedto communicate through theirphotography instead of trying tomake pretty pictures or imitateother photographs. This may
mean venturing outside theboundaries of what is tradition-ally termed photographic,especially within the sphere ofpersonally expressive work. It isvery important to have anawareness of photographichistory . If people dont under-stand the tradition from whichtheir work has evolved, they arejust going to imitate what theysee. Understanding and workingwithin a tradition allows you topush beyond the boundaries inways that are meaningful, notjust for yourself but for otherstoo.
Personal expression is always abit tricky because you could saya screaming baby is expressive,but we cannot compare its criesto a piece of music or art. Ourintention as photographers, orartists, or any kind of practitioner, is to make something thatother people can relate to. In theend it doesnt matter in the leastwhat you intended to makeOnce the work is set free in theworld it has to fend for itself. Ifit doesnt communicate whatwas intended, or says somethingelse completely, this may notmatter. The world willcontextualise it , if it sees fit.
London Independent Photography
Sometimes we are not clear whatwe are trying to show or we fail toachieve what we hoped. However,I think it is a bit of a cop out whenpeople say its up to the viewer toread something into it. In order tounderestand any cultural artifact,we need a key otherwise it'smeaningless. A private language issimply that - private. Not a bit ofgood to anyone who wishes tocommunicate.
LIPI had some work in an exhibition atBrunel University where I metPeter Marshall. He invited me tojoin Framework which was aprecursor of LIP. I went to thewonderfu