Rebecca Dixon is a fine art photographer and curator based in Manchester who is particularly interested in photography as an examination of nostalgia and memory - her next project is a photo documentary on the notion of the modern shed structure and its builder. And she's looking for shed owners who would like to take part (especially those in the north of England and Wales). Here's what she says:
"Ever since my dad began building a 1950s inspired train station waiting room in his back garden complete with train tracks, I've been interested in working on a comparison between the age old notion of the philosopher/artist in their hut, and the ideas that came from living or working in such circumstances.If you'd like to take part, you can email Rebecca here. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Philosophers and huts seem to go hand in hand. The scene of a thinker residing in a secluded wooden cabin in the forest has been one that has given rise to some of the most seminal ideas of western philosophy. Influential German philosopher Heidegger thrived in his hut, which he called ‘die hütte’, in the Black Forest, while existentialist wanderer Wittgenstein sought shelter in his cabin on top of a Norwegian Fjord [pictured above]. Ideas appear to flourish within such a sheltered and secluded environment, a place where thinking can be safe both physically and emotionally from outside elements.
"It would appear that the desire to build such shelters has been intrinsic not only to human survival, but also to thought, and creative practice. With the aid of shelter we are capable of functioning correctly as human beings, and our shelters provide us with an intense relationship between space, person and thought.
"This body of work will provide a documentary style set of images exploring this relationship, giving a tongue in cheek comparison between the modern eccentric shed builder and the traditional notion of the philosopher’s hut. After witnessing my own father obsessively building a faux-vintage train station hut, I want to explore other such personal structures and the underlying desire to build them. This initial interest has uncovered a community of creative and competitive shed builders who have devoted their spare time to building structures which not only offer them a utopian escape from the stresses of everyday living, but exist as a creative outlet in both their physical form and the contemplation space they provide.
"I am aiming to shoot up to 25 photographs in this series, and they will exist in the form of approximately 5”x5” colour prints in 10”x10” frames, to be displayed in a linear form in a long gallery space - but the series can be edited down to fewer prints in order to suit smaller spaces, without detriment to the work or concept. For a repetitive and continuous edge, the images will be shot using the same composition and lighting techniques – the only variable in each image being the shed builder standing in the forefront of the photograph, with their structure behind them. The overall concept of the work aims to provide a light-hearted and colourful discourse on the manifestation of an age-old notion within a contemporary counter-culture practice."
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