Aug 19, 2012

Fabien Ho - #ProjectCherished

I am really excited to see this exhibition by an excellent photographer. Fabien tells us about his project and the charming community of Walthamstow, in real life and on the interweb:

1. Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the 2012 E17 Art Trail?
My focus remains on documenting local residents who collectively form the notion of a community, as such. Last year WOOF! was a representation of the dog-walking community and a celebration of individual relationships between dogs & their barking owners. This year I've decided to bring Twitter into the equation to see if there was a way of documenting the #Awesomestow social-media followers. Twitter toes a contradictory line between being invisible yet very public at the same time, and it is this paradox which interests me. It turns out the Twitter community in Walthamstow are one of the most welcoming & inclusive bunch of people, so I instinctively knew I had found the 'community' I wanted to photograph.

When the Bestow theme was announced, the project found it's subject matter alongside its participants. The collection of images I've created documents locals with their most cherished belonging. These objects can be inherited, gifted, or one which they plan to bestow. To me, it's immaterial really what the object is, because it's the story behind them that matters. Yet to the person sitting for my portrait, that object in their hand represents the tangible memory of a loved one, or the making of new memories to pass down. The engagement from the public has been extraordinary and shows that despite an age of mass communication, personal stories still want to be told. It's been wonderful to see the openness with which participants have responded - welcoming me into their homes, answering my inquisitive questions and letting me point my camera at them. I hope the series of portraits I've created reflect accurately the Twitter community in Walthamstow, as well as do their cherished belongings & personal stories justice. 

2. Is this your first time in the Trail or are you an E17 Art Trail veteran?

I've taken part a few years now but I wouldn't say I'm a veteran. It's never the same if you do it differently each time, I guess.

3. What are the challenges of getting everything ready for your Art Trail event?
This year has been especially fraught, due to the small matter of moving house and not knowing whether we'd be in the new venue in time for the Art Trail. Due to the deadline for printing the guide, I've had to commit quite early on where the exhibition venue would be. This almost left me with no option but to withdraw from the Trail this year. I mean, as I speak, I'm not even in the new place yet. Although we did exchange today, so fingers crossed we move into venue 32 before the Trail starts!

4. Do you remember the first artist that really influenced you? Does that artist’s influence still have an impact on your work?
It's quite cliché but it was Dali & Miro when I was a teenager. I don't think this is consciously reflected in my photography. At Uni, I did discover a love for Martin Parr. Maybe there is a correlation with my street photography work, although of course, Parr is a master in this genre and I'd be churlish to even put myself at that level.

5. The E17 Art trail has become bigger every year. Do you think it is because more artists are calling it home?
I'd like to think so. On our road alone we used to have two photographers and an installation artist. In the past two years, an illustrator, another photographer and two painters have joined our street. It seems the new wave of immigrants to Walthamstow are indeed the creatives.

6. What has E17 bestowed on you?
A place to belong.

*Please note: this year Fabien Ho's exhibition is at a different venue than last years. Listing No. 32.
The Private View is on Friday 7th from 6pm-9pm and the exhibition opening hours are:
• Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th 10am-6pm
• Friday 14th 1pm-6pm
• Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th 10am-6pm

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