Makers at Work

I’ve been working with the photographer Curtis James on a documentary project about makers in their working spaces. From metalworking shops to the fields of the South Downs, these photographs reveal something of the physical spaces where making happens, and of the maker as worker.

Makers at Work

Curtis has a long-running photographic project called Beyond Work, which documents and examines working life through interviews and photographs. I commissioned him to undertake a version of this project that would focus on the working environments of makers. We published the results in the 2014 edition of Hot Glue, and displayed prints in an exhibition at Circus Street Market during Brighton Photo Biennial.

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Exhibition at Circus Street

Exhibition at Circus Street

My interest in this comes partly from wanting to explore other ways to engage people with a culture of making, partly from wanting to play with the tools, challenges and processes of exhibitions, art and documentary. And also because this feels like something which is normally hidden, and could be usefully revealed. When images of making spaces are shown in the media, they are often stylised, aspirational, lifestyle shots that draw on the visual language of advertising, interior design, storage and organisational fetishism (Ikea, Things Organized Neatly), or (often gender-stereotyped) crafty domesticity. I believe we need to give ourselves permission to make in spaces that are far from these ideals.

I can’t speak for Curtis, you should ask him directly.