The guest speaker Jane Hilton visited the University this month. She introduced herself and talked about her life as a practitioner. She showed us her presentations on her projects that included a large range of images demonstrating her stories. I found her work interesting, because I enjoy this style of photographic genre. Her subjects were interesting and she is a confident speaker who explains how her projects progress. Listening to Hilton, gave a feel of becoming to know her subjects, because she was so descriptive with her information on individuals as well as the locations such as their homes. Hilton photographed elements within the home as she also photographed the subjects themselves creating some fascinating and quirky portraits.
Hilton told us how she is inspired by John Wayne and cowboy films, and how she became fascinated by the way they live. Hilton’s decided to create a project on Cowboys which took her to America, where she found many families that remain to this day living as they did before modern technology etc. Here are some examples of her photographic work below from the project on Cowboys which she calls Dead Eagle Trail.
The photos’ below are from her series on Eagle Trail for visual examples.
I like the way she uses the ambient light which shines through the window onto her subjects. She never used any lighting on this project, and made use of the ambient light to create her desired look, thus creating shadow as the light emphasizes the facial features and the subject. Hat were a very important prop in this project and she would always ask the Cowboys to keep their hat on or to put it on if they were not wearing one. She likes the style of the Cow boys, one would say obsessed with the whole Cow boy thing. We are all obsessed with our subject matter, that is what gives us the buzz to keep shooting and researching, because we enjoy what we are doing. For my project on Development Practice I am also using ambient light and windows for my portraits with no use of a speed light. I want my portraits to look natural, as Hilton has done here on this project with her portraits on Cow boys. Hilton is an inspirational photographer, who travels and enjoys America. she also documents a variety of interesting subjects such as Jolly’s Circus and the brothels’ where she photographed girls in Nevada situated in the Western State of the USA.
Hilton is currently producing a film about the Lost Lion Tamer in the UK. The Final Roar.
Hilton photographed the last Circus shows where they use animals, due to the ban of animals. Thomas Chipperfield’s family that have been training animals in a circus for approximately 300 years. He wanted to express that it was not cruelty and that the animals were cared for and had plenty of living space.
Mollica was born in Sicily. Mollica’s Grand Father was a keen amateur photographer, and gave him his first camera when he was a young child. He mentioned how he was always around film and the developer and fixer that he could smell it as his grand father would develop his films at home. He began expressing himself visually as a young child and at the age of fourteen he won third prize for his photographic work.
Mollica photographs in both black and white and colour, using various camereas’, he is an award winning Photographer, who has been living in London for over twenty years. He works on long term projects such as social issues, environment and migration etc.He has travelled across the world, creating his visual essays.
Below is an image of his from his Instagram account:
In 1998 Mollica was an editorial photographer, and his firs assignment was in Belfast, and his second assignment was in Sicily to photograph the mafia. His third assignment was Brixton. Mollica expressed how he fell in love with the place and felt at home, he mentioned it is a multi cultural place, he was capturing social and drama conflict in the area, such as photographing drunken people, addicts and gangsters.
His work is interesting and he is an interesting speaker, with wit and humour. Mollica showed us some photographs from his series on a very good friend of his called Jimmy Ferguson, that he called his ‘brother.’
Jimmy had a pub he explained and then showed us a portrait of Jimmy, saying this is a “glorious portrait of a glorious friend”. This was very moving, he explains all the good times and then the painful suffering Jimmy went through during his illness before he passed away two years ago. You could see it was hard even now for Mollica to talk about, but his love for this wonderful friend still remains, and I am sure this is helping him with his grief as well as being able to show everyone his friend (brother) as he calls him, he mentioned that Jimmy’s life is not a secret and that he wishes he was with us today to see the end product of his series, and how he intends to make a book on his story. He did not intend to create a project he just had so many photographs of his friends and of Jimmy his sole mate and documented him whilst he was in hospital etc, as he normally would.
Mollica made a short series photographing his daughter using his mobile, he placed her in between people just randomly in the street, we all laughed because the way he explained his story and the photographs themselves were so funny. His daughter was only two years old at the time, Mollica would place his daughter with another family or sit her back to back with a man sat down etc, there were so many funny photographs in this series. His take on this idea was humorous and very effective.
Mollicas focus is on social conflict. In 2001 he visited the boarders of Afghanistan where he created a short series on a brick factory and child labour, he explained how children were working thirteen hours a day for their families at this factory.
I would recommend you take a look at his Instagram if any of this has interested you and check out his photographic work, below are the links for his Instagram account and website address.