Tom Hunter (born 1965, Dorset, UK) explores themes depicting his local neighbourhood of East London, drawing on art historical references. He reconstructs stories, memories and myths to paint a psycho-geographical landscape.
Hunter interweaves art history, photographic practice and popular culture to create vibrant artworks, which illuminate East London. His work aims to break stereotypes, provoke thought, raise debate and shed light on the communities in this area of London and the issues they face. Hunter seeks to create a new visual language in fine art practice, which blurs the boundaries between staged photography and documentary. Throughout his career Hunter’s photographic art practice has aimed to question the role of photography in society and to take it into new arenas and to new audiences.
‘I took this (Woman Reading a Possession Order) in 1997, for my master's degree show at the Royal College of Art. The 17th-century golden age of Dutch painting had had a massive impact on me: the way they dealt with ordinary people, not kings, queens and generals. I thought if I could borrow their style for squatters and travellers, it would elevate their status. In this shot, inspired by Vermeer's Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window, my next-door neighbour is reading the possession order’. (Tom Hunter)
The series, Figures in a Landscape, 2018, is a personal odyssey which transports the viewer through a world imbued with myths and legends. On this magical journey, from the hillsides of the West Country to the marshes of Hackney, the viewer encounters ancient gods, goddesses and mythical monsters which inhabit the landscape and battle for supremacy between the other worlds and the here and now.
Tom Hunter graduated from the London College of Printing in 1994. His degree show, The Ghetto, a series of photographs and a model of his squatted neighbourhood in East London, is now on permanent display in the Museum of London. Hunter took his MA at the Royal College of Art, where, in 1996, he was awarded the Photography Prize by Fuji Film for his series Travellers. In 2006 Tom Hunter became the first artist to have a solo photography exhibition at the National Gallery for his series Living in Hell and Other Stories. His work is held in many public collections including the National Gallery, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York and Hirshhorn Museum, Washington. He is Professor of Photography at London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London.