This two screen work came out of a three-month residency with aspex gallery and Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower which houses Britain’s highest panoramic viewing platform, overlooking the military harbour and the city of Portsmouth and across the English Channel. Hunt and Hide is a meditation on a shared preoccupation with capturing distant objects close-up, following encounters with long lens enthusiasts including an astronomer, birdwatchers and shipspotters. In this instance we watch them, rather than what they are watching. (As with botanists in Atlantic Botanic 2007) Long lens users often consider themselves alone, and enjoy the solitude of their hobby, though, in reality often find themselves part of a larger community of similar enthusiasts.
This work continues my interest in the use of the camera as a research tool, in working with amateur experts, and with the connections between the escapist viewing spaces of gallery, cinema, hide, observatory, and viewing platform.
Commissioned by Oliver Sumner, Aspex Gallery
Assisted by Rose LeJeune
The work was first shown in the Square Tower, part of the ancient sea defence wall on Portsmouth Harbour where ship-spotters regularly gather.
It has subsequently been shown in the Low Lighthouse at Harwich, and Curzon Soho, London.