Landscape with Tree / by Jamie Hawkesworth
Photography is a disarmingly subtle act of sensing, then waiting, until a subject reveals itself. It is my chosen medium because of its capacity to intensify what we see, and to capture the unique truths that lie beneath the surface of our encounters. This enduring and patient economy of means channels our shared, multivalent sense of wonder at being present in the world.
This exhibition has offered me the daunting but welcome opportunity to think deeply about the bodily experience of photography. I create material photographs, and my full discovery of the colouration and character of each photograph happens in the darkroom. Each of the fourteen gallery spaces here at Huis Marseille has its own character. My aim has been to create a photographic experience in synergy with the architectural setting, and in anticipation of your engagement with the works. There are moments of intimacy, simplicity, and intensity in this exhibition that, without being overtly instructive, mirror the experiences that I’ve had through photography.
The series Preston Bus Station constitutes the architectural and narrative heart of Landscape with Tree, my first fully realized photographic work. It is set in Preston, the Northern English city where I discovered and studied photography. This portrayal of the people passing through the bus station became a blueprint for my photographic practice: it is where I learned about light, and the patience of waiting for an encounter to unfold. It is where I learned how to approach strangers and capture the details of beauty that drew me to them. I began to appreciate the essential and alchemical possibilities of photography to translate and fix the chance-sent and the fleeting.
My interactions with fashion are included in this exhibition as part of my path in photography. It is through luck and happenstance that my visual approach found a place in this creative industry, with its fast pace and ever-changing predilections. Fashion has been a rich space for me because it hinges on collaboration and offers broad photographic possibilities, in part due to the intensity of commercial shoots. Through fashion photography, I became comfortable engaging with unfamiliar people and places. With each commissioned encounter— each a visual challenge in itself — I aimed to capture the specific, imperfect, and human vitality of the collaborative moment for the pages of magazines.
In Landscape with Tree I can see the spectrum of experiences that I have sought out with my camera over the past ten years, and the places my curiosity has taken me. The exhibition manifests my sustained and transitory intimacies, planned and unexpected journeys, and wonderful immersions. I hope I have created an exhibition environment in which you can experience — perhaps even beyond the restraints of body, place, and time — an encounter with photography and its sublime potential to take us anywhere our imagination desires.
— Jamie Hawkesworth
In 2007 Jamie Hawkesworth (Ipswich, 1987) was studying forensic science at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston (GB) when he held a camera for the first time to photograph a reconstructed crime scene. Within a year he had decided to switch to the photography department at the same university. As a member of the collective ‘Preston is my Paris’ he made photographs and a short film for his project Preston Bus Station, which was subsequently exhibited as an installation in the bus station itself and also published as a newspaper. Preston Bus Station contains the seeds of traits that continued to develop in the travel reportages he made in Congo (2016) and in Colombia (2017), culminating in Hawkesworth’s recent series of nude portraits he made for Print Magazine (2017). Jamie Hawkesworth’s approach to photography is grounded in the subtle, elegiac and playful heritage of British documentary photography. Since 2013, Hawkesworth has travelled widely, creating photographs and films that make subtle observations of what he finds. His distinctive editorial commissions have been published in Acne Paper, AnOther, Dazed & Confused, Double, i-D, Love, Man About Town, The New York Times Style Magazine, Self Service, Vogue Paris, W, and WSJ Magazine. He has also created highly original and innovative campaigns and catalogues for J.W. Anderson, Loewe, and Miu Miu.
Coinciding with the exhibition Hawkesworth will present his first book, Preston Bus Station, designed by Hans Seeger and published by Dashwood Books. Language: English. 196 pp with gatefolds, 24×31 cm, hardcover. ISBN 978-0-9966574-2-6. The book, which details the eponymous project, will be available in Huis Marseille’s museum store and webshop.