Lindy grieves the death of an old friend and colleague as she struggles to come to terms with a new media that she cannot connect with. Bob, who worked on the business side of the trade, is more stoic in his grief — he is far more concerned about what the bereavement means for him financially. Kathleen and Jaspar are preoccupied with their virtual lives: she lives and breathes the image that she projects on social media, and he is distracted by the frighteningly low battery power left on his iPhone.
“I imagined ‘The Newspaper’ as this elderly relative, who once had great power in their family, which waned towards the end of their life,” explains Sophie Gladstone, who cast the characters through an extras website, and incorporated newsprint through a prop in each of their narratives. “If print, or the newspaper, were real people, each family member would grieve in their own way.”
The work is featured in the latest issue of Hot Potato, an independent newspaper that covers global affairs through commissioned photography and journalism. Founded by Naoise O’Keeffe, visually, the publication is rooted in fashion, but the paper spans subjects including Brexit, the decline of bees, and the gender data gap.
As well as its satirical sponsored ads and tongue-in-cheek approach, Hot Potato is unique in that the photographer and writer work independently on the same brief. Gladstone’s work sits next to a Q&A about the death of print media, written by journalist Georgia Graham. “There is no getting tied down, no pressure for the photography or journalism to reference each other, so they become equally important,” says Gladstone, who also contributed as guest photo editor for the issue.
Where one might expect a disjuncture or clash between text and image, Hot Potato proves otherwise. Pairing informative articles with experimental photography by emerging artists, it invites readers to make their own connections, and introduces new ways of responding to current affairs.