Polly Penrose's 10 Seconds: "Hammering my body into the landscape"

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Penrose began taking photographs when she was a teen. Her first self portrait was taken on a day she was upset with her father.
She wrapped a rope around her body, shot a photo of herself and sent it to him.
Penrose, now a mother of two who lives close to Victoria Park in East London, studied Graphic Design before going on to work for acclaimed photographer Tim Walker.
January 2015, Millfields Road, Curved Wall
A Body of Work (self portraits 2007- 2014), her first series as a conceptual photography, was exhibited at Mother Gallery in East London, her first solo show.
The series documents the effects of time passing on Polly’s body, her relationship with her environment, and the emotional state she was in at the time of the picture.
May 2015, 29 Meynell Crescent.
“Each picture candidly portrays a moment, like marks in the calendar of my life,” Penrose told BJP on the release of A Body of Work.
“The tedious despair of temp work in the city laid bare on a boardroom table. A ball of excitement on a yellow chair on my engagement.
April 2015, Uncle Richards House, Four Poster Bed
“The red fabric of grief stretched around me as I watched my husband slowly lose his mother.
“The overwhelming calm, poise and balance nine days before my first child is born, and the almost sacrificial, exhausted pose two months into motherhood.”
October 2015, Crowborough Road, TV Stand
For her second exhibition, at Hoxton Gallery, she will showcase four new series all taken on a 10 second self timer, shot between 2014 and 2016.
The series features Pool Party, a collection of photos shot in Ibiza; I was Never Good at Yoga, shot using meditation and yoga equipment as prosthetic extensions of the artist’s body and Paper Work, where Penrose’s body takes on the challenge of using colourama paper to become ‘something else’.
April 2015, Uncle Richards House, Chest of Drawers
Penrose’s photography is a process of “hammering my body into the landscape, one picture at a time,” she says.
“The most recent work is objects interacting with my body. Much more of a physical transaction. Tactile forms shaped together making a temporary sculpture from my body and everyday objects,” she says.
October 2015, Crowborough Road, Fire Place
“My ongoing project a Body of Work instead is a response to a space and its contents. It is a physical conversation between me and the space.”
Polly’s head is always removed from the photographs. “Her identity changes, in every picture she becomes an integral part of the landscape or an object,” says the curator of the new exhibition.
October 2015, Crowborough Road, Satin Curtain
“I enjoy the pain of shooting myself in extreme circumstances, bruising to climb a piece of furniture, damaging a shoulder muscle while twisting, sweating in Ibiza’s August heat, it makes me feel,” she says.
“Pushing something, there is a satisfaction I gain from being able to go through the physical discomfort to the achievement of the final image.”

Polly Penrose’s 10 Seconds (New Work – Self Portraits 2014-16) London Preview runs from 6th until 8th May 2016 at Hoxton Gallery, 59 Old Street London EC1V 9HX. Exhibition printed by Touch Digital Ltd. More information on Polly’s work here.
Tom Seymour

Tom Seymour is an Associate Editor at The Art Newspaper and an Associate Lecturer at London College of Communication. His words have been published in The Guardian, The Observer, The New York Times, Financial Times, Wallpaper* and The Telegraph. He has won Writer of the Year and Specialist Writer of the year on three separate occassions at the PPA Awards for his work with The Royal Photographic Society.