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Tag: TJ Boulting

A fictional turn with A Thousand Word Photos

Reading Time: 6 minutes “She hangs around with us after school even though we make it clear she bores us. We whisper nonsense and pretend to laugh at jokes so she laughs too, and we ask, ‘What’s so funny?’ to watch her squirm. She knows we are mean, and yet still she follows along behind. ‘Like a dog,’ we say, loud enough for her to hear.”

On athousandwordphotos.com this is the start of the text accompanying an image of Russian army cadets by Anastasia Taylor-Lind – but it’s not a direct quote from one of the young women depicted. Instead it’s a work of fiction by author Claire Fuller, inspired by the image but written without any knowledge of the circumstances in which it was shot.

It’s the same with the story that accompanies Karim Ben Khalifa’s photograph of a sofa, which was taken in war-torn Kosovo in 1999. In real life, the sofa had been looted and therefore set on fire by French peace-keepers to discourage further looting. But in author Dan Dalton’s hands, it’s set on fire by a 17 year old, who had spent happy hours with a slightly wayward group of friends hanging out on the abandoned couch. Meanwhile a photograph taken by Dungeness nuclear power station by Phil Fisk, inspired Lydia Ruffles to write a short story about a worker called Tomo who’s afraid of the sea.

Pairing documentary photography with fictional writing isn’t new – in fact it’s become quite a trend, with image-makers such as David Goldblatt, Vasantha Yogananthan, Max Pinckers, and Dayanita Singh – among many more – all playing with the combination in recent years. But the examples above come from quite a different project, set up to support Interact Stroke Support – a London-based charity that organises sessions in which actors read to recovering stroke patients.

What To Do With A Million Years by Juno Calypso

Reading Time: 4 minutes Under the back garden of an unremarkable family home in Las Vegas is an extraordinary 16,000sq ft, all-pink, bomb-proof bunker. Inside are decadent bedrooms decorated with crystal chandeliers and baby pink wallpaper, and a bathrooms with a hot-pink toilet, white marble hot tub, and opulent golden fittings. Surrounding the house is a hand-painted mural of the countryside, and an underground garden with a swimming pool and fake trees growing out of a carpet that stands in for grass.

“It’s basically a house within a house,” explains Juno Calypso, who spent three days of solitude in the bunker, for her project What To Do With A Million Years. Designed to be safe from any disaster or intruder, the bunker was built in 1964 by Avon cosmetics founder Gerry Henderson and his wife, who were terrified of a potential nuclear breakout in the advent of the cold war.

Calypso is currently showing the series at London’s TJ Boulting gallery, and has transformed the basement space into a version of the garden, complete with fake plants, eerie mood lighting, and a soundtrack of soft romantic rock that plays against the continuous sound of running water from a stone fountain in the corner.

Philip Jones Griffiths on show at TJ Boulting

Reading Time: 5 minutes “Philip always hated being called a ‘war photographer,’” says Hannah Watson, director of TJ Boulting Gallery, of Philip Jones Griffiths. “He wasn’t interested in the ‘action’ that you often associated with war photography.” Instead, Watson draws attention to the careful consideration and intelligence behind each of the Magnum photographer’s shots. “In a single image he could give insight and an in-depth analysis to a complex situation,” she says.

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