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'Osmosis' Tim Andrews in Landscpe 1 © Julia Horbaschk

'Osmosis' Tim Andrews in Landscape 1 (© Julia Horbaschk).

PhotoHub’s tour de force at HAF

The PhotoHub group was set up in 2009 by Grace Lau and Andrew Moran to bring together the many talented photographers that live in Hastings and St Leonards. The group now has an exhibition at the Hastings Arts Forum. HOT reporter Lauris Morgan-Griffiths went to take a look.

Firstly, I ought to declare an interest. I am a member of PhotoHub. That out of the way, the first thing that is evident when you walk through the door is the total variety of the work. It really lays out the diversity of photography. It is extraordinary, and still quite magical to me, what is achieved with simply light and paper.

The show includes black and white, colour, realism, abstract, portraits, landscape, some obvious story-telling, others are more opaque. But art is about story-telling and memory. Tucked into the image  there is a

Stanley © Brian Rybolt

Stanley (© Brian Rybolt).

story and part of the story is the artist themself – creativity mines the creator’s own experience, interests and concerns.

The subject matter is diverse. Brian Rybolt’s portrait of Stanley – part of a project on our ageing population – portrays a dignified, slightly distant old man. Stanley looking vulnerable but proud and unbowed. Neville Austin’s Urban Nature shows the interaction between urban life and tamed nature.

Alexander Brattell has large black and white photos of kids in action at a skate park; so vivid that possibly he identifies with them strongly, wants to be them and if he doesn’t, I would. Lin Gregory has produced timeless, dream-like landscapes;

In Essence © Andrew Moran

In Essence (© Andrew Moran).

Daneila Exley a froth of colourful, textured skirts, that look as if they wear memories of youth, frivolity and fun. Andrew Moran’s abstracts evoke atmospheres, fragments of something seen and remembered, an experience that leaves the viewer to fill in the gaps from personal memory and experience.

There is a remarkable image of Tim Andrews taken by Julia Horbaschk (main picture). When Andrews was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he  left his job as a solicitor and created a photo project – so far he has been photographed by 250 photographers. In this image he appears as a tiny feature in the landscape. He looks as if he baying at life,  proud and defiant and brave as he stands naked on a Brighton beach in the cold light of dawn.  A brave image for both Tim and Julia.

Looking at the sky from Barbara's allotment © Ian Grant

Looking at the sky from Barbara's allotment (© Ian Grant).

And then there are Ian Grant’s unique pinhole camera prints. Ian works mainly with home-made pinhole cameras – a partircular brand of sweet tin for preference. Pinhole is the fundamental quality of photography, two elements, light and light-sensitive paper. His work involves long exposures lasting days, weeks and months. The result is a poetic, abstract, atmospheric record of weather and time, with titles like Two weeks under the apple tree, during which it snowed and Looking at the sky from Barbara’s allotment.

Beatrice Haverich, In Your Hands,  a personal project about memory: her brother dying.  In a  set of drawers from childhood Beatrice has placed an envelope of photographs. It is uncomfortable but enticing to open the drawer but feels intrusive to open the envelope. Cathryn Kemp pursues different personal work believing that garments are imbued with the psychological and internal lives of their wearers.  Meanwhile Grace Lau exploring our fear and fascination with death has asked ‘sitters’ –‘lie-ers’ would be more apt – to be photographed in a coffin in what they would like to wear and take with them on their final journey.

Joint Venture © Roz Cran

Joint Venture (© Roz Cran).

Roz Cran unintentionally nudged some evocative memories. Her practice develops the theme of our connection/disconnection from the natural world by interjecting a person’s hands into nature, hands, arms, finger joints using string and wool. Not to be disrespectful of the work but this resulted in two of us standing, happily recollecting childhood games of cat’s cradle.

The show is called the Autumn Review because it is bang in the middle between last year’s Brighton Biennial 2012  – in which Hastings has a strong presence – and the next one in 2014.  The theme is ostensibly a work in progress although some work is slightly older. However, an artist’s concerns are an ongoing process which goes forward and sometimes looks back to take previous work into a new phase.  Watch this space – judging by the evidence of this exhibition it looks like Hastings photographers will again surprise people with their creative innovation.


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Posted 09:26 Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013 In: Photography

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