Inside this issue
Paul Hart (b. 1961) is a British artist-photographer whose work explores our relationship with the landscape in a humanistic and socio-historical sense. He graduated from Nottingham Trent University (UK) with a BA (Hons) in Photography in 1988. He has exhibited and published widely and his third monograph DRAINED (Dewi Lewis) is released in October.
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
Our collective view of the landscape has never really caught up with the industrialisation of agriculture and the extent to which this shapes the land. Paul’s work is in marked contrast to the Romanticism of much landscape photography – it has been described as sitting between documentary and landscape, and slipping into fine art (Elizabeth Roberts). Stillness and silence and a lack of people extend across his work, yet I can’t help but feel that his images could equally be described as portraits – of the land.
Paul concentrates on a precise geographical area, photographing intensively over a number of years. He is well known for his finely crafted silver gelatin prints and for the books he has produced to acclaim: TRUNCATED (2008) and FARMED (2016). A third – DRAINED – is out this autumn as well as the second edition of FARMED.
Firstly, congratulations on making The 250th Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2018.
Thank you! I first exhibited at the RA Summer exhibition in 2012. Chris Orr RA shortlisted two pictures from my series TRUNCATED. Of these ‘Portal’ was hung in Gallery II, and ‘Alien’ was selected but wasn’t hung! I continued to apply for a couple of years after that but wasn’t lucky enough to have work chosen. The selection process involves so many thousands of different works and it’s only relatively recently that the RA has accepted photography, so you can’t predict the outcome. But, this year is the RA’s 250th Summer Exhibition and with Grayson Perry as curator, I decided to give it a go again. Needless to say, I was really delighted that ‘Caulton’s Cottage’ from FARMED was selected and hung in The Sackler Galleries… Somewhat amusing I thought considering that this year was billed to be ‘the most colourful Summer Exhibition’ and yet my black and white picture of a tiny cottage in the Fens made the selection!