Investigating Underrepresented Communities with Photography & Film
Professor Tom Hunter’s research at London College of Communication, uses photography and film to investigate the communities and environments of the under-represented and overlooked, in east London and among other communities, traditions, people and places.
His work seeks to break stereotypes, provoke thought, raise debate, and draw attention to these communities and the issues they face, as well as questioning the role of photography in society.
Hunter is the only photographer to receive a major commission and solo photography show at the National Gallery for Living in Hell and Other Stories (2005). For this paintings by artists Sebastiano del Piombo, Peter Paul Rubens, Nicolas Poussin and Ludovico Carracci, exploring universal themes of the human condition, were reconstructed as occurring in contemporary London as illustrated in the stories of the Hackney Gazette. A piece from the exhibition ‘Murder-Two Men Wanted’ remains on permanent display at the National Gallery, being the sole photographic work in their collection.
A Palace for Us (2010)
His 2010 film, A Palace for Us (2010), was commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery as part of their Skills Exchange with Goldsmiths College (University of London) and in collaboration with Age UK Hackney. It counters preconceptions of the inner city council estate, examining the history of social housing through personal tales from the Woodberry Down Estate in Hackney. The film was screened for six weeks at the Serpentine and to a full house at the Rio cinema, Hackney.
The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones wrote:
‘This is a magical film [...] Hunter's film is not a rant, but a moving homage to lives and memories that today are obliterated by harsh and violent caricatures of the white working class. Everyone should go to the Serpentine to learn to see through his subjects' eyes. The government should go.’
Hunter’s Findings (2013) was the first photographic commission by GRAIN, the hub and network for photography at the new Library of Birmingham. Mounted on outdoor exhibition boards the 50 photographic prints revealed hidden places and spaces within the Colmere Business District and the Jewellery Quarter to a public audience. Findings was seen by an estimated 1.4 million people.
Other national and international shows include: Seduced by Art at the National Gallery, London; Another Story: Photography from the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and Making it up: Photographic Fictions at V&A.
Hunter has undertaken commissions for The Museum of London, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Victoria and Albert Museum.
His work is in major collections all over the world, and in 2013 two of his works were selected to become part of the prestigious MOMA collection.