Heroes bar worcester
West Midlands

PROCESS- an exhibition of photography

It may not be the traditional space to hang an exhibition, but in the backroom of Heroes pub in Worcester, in late August 2009, The Task In Hand‘s Richard Clarke curated a successful show of local photographers work. Small, simple, personal yet still public.

Initially that evening, I was discussing the book Norwegian Wood that I had been reading by Haruki Murakami. I found the idea of the translation of his writing was haunting me leading me to wonder that even though I was completely engulfed and entwined into his words… was I missing out on something? Perhaps some meaning had been lost through the change in language or was it possible that I was gaining a slightly different yet positive experience from the disjointed sentences that crop up occasionally? In response to these thoughts, I was offered some words by Dylan Thomas: “…translation is like kissing through a handkerchief.” The somewhat poignant beauty in this imagined act followed me to Michele Eversham’s work. A series of cropped polaroids, framed and set upon a black background. Each photograph looked bleached as if filled with light, possibly a dancing figure was masked by such handkerchief. Beautiful, simple but still poignant. One pose seemed to mirror that of Christ on the cross or even more provoking, the haunting pose of that well publicised news photo of an Iraqi terrorist being tortured by Americans: arms out wide, wired up, standing on a box with a black bag over his head. These mystified images were so ambiguous that I found myself unsure whether I had chosen to see these negative things instead of considering a dancer enjoying the bliss of movement thus creating ethereal quality. Eversham uses Polaroid to feed on her fascination of the instant chemical process that takes place in seconds from light into physical tactile image; and in this instant process, we are, as viewers, left to ponder upon them for as long as we may wish.

This ethereal atmosphere was echoed in Lara Parsons’ photographs. Produced by using a combo van constructed into a large format pinhole camera, these photos represent her personal journey from her past into her present. The slightly hazy lines and the ghostlike buildings and figures suggest that this journey is still happening; that she is still voyaging since this present she describes is continuously moving. An air of the Victorian seep into the photographs, and whilst they were created in the 21st century this combination continues to merge these concepts of time and movement.

In James Collier’s aesthetically pleasing black and white photographs, we are shown the moments usually left to musicians’ private lives alongside the bravado they expel when performing on stage. Collier’s photographs are created from his zeal and desire to document moments not always seen by ‘the fans’. He sees that creating and performing music is what defines a true musician’s personality and by observing these backstage moments in his images, we as onlookers, are able to get a sense of the atmosphere that surrounds the creative stage of the musical process.

Lastly, Emily Hâf presented images of landscape and nature which hold a dream-like beauty with faded and gently distorted colours verging on 70s image processing. One piece held a link to Richard Long’s “A Line Made By Walking” as she photographs her father walking along a ‘desire path’ away from her. These images of nature were placed haphazardly next to a carefully composed image or a dead magpie by the side of the road, and a group of punks in Berlin. In the latter two, Hâf allows the light to seep into the image creating an uncertain sense of interference. I found myself particularly drawn to the image of the group of punks punctuated by two of them kissing. The guy’s Mohawk cutting through the picture and forcing a line across, almost as though it is cutting through the girl’s head. His hand spread out on her left buttock falls directly below the patch pinned to her jacket saying “Ich bin zu stolz um Deutsch zu sein” (I am proud to be German). As one guy watches the process of their relationship, another guy watches Hâf capture this moment. Yet through this record, he is forever watching them fixed upon each other, while the other guy is stuck watching us, the viewer, staring out of the photograph. Amongst all this, there is also still this red light exposing through from below the image creating a possibly unintended symbol of fire. Captured in action, these people seem to be trapped, yet this representation of fire gives me the thought that this ‘fire’ may release them.

This eclectic photography exhibition held a space for each of these four photographers to illustrate their idea and use of process within their work. With a pint of Stowford Press in hand, feeling an evocative awareness that there was something both lost and gained from capturing a moment, and that this record could never be static, never less than a process.

Prints from Process are available to purchase from The Task In Hand Shop, Unit 11 The Hopmarket, The Foregate, Worcester, WR1 1DL