© Tom Hunter, Sex Assault, from the series Living in Hell and Other Stories, 2004

© Tom Hunter, Murder: Two Men Wanted, from the series Living in Hell and Other Stories, 2003

“Murder: Two Men Wanted is a photograph whose title is directly taken from a Hackney Gazette headline. Its composition is based on Piero di Cosimo’s ‘Satyr mourning over a Nymph’ which is part of the National Gallery collection. In Hunter’s work, a woman lies sprawled across the ground in an eerily lit park, (it was shot in public parkland in Hackney which is notorious for criminal activiity at night) while a male figure, his expression shocked and bewildered, crouches beside her head. At her feet sits an Alsatian dog. His posture is one of loyalty and resolution as if he were guarding over her corpse. The subject may be linked to Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ (VII, 752-65) in which the death of Procris is depicted.

As Martin Herbert has written, “Bad news sells newspapers.” The Hackney Gazette, self-appointed mouthpiece of the East London borough where Tom Hunter lives and works, is not a free newspaper. As such it needs to gain the attention and money of its public, doing so by importing the standard tabloid formula of addicting its readership to a cocktail of horror and titillation: cue headlines like HALLOWEEN HORROR and LOVER SET ON FIRE IN BED…. The Gazette writers’ words must matter more than pictures, for a lack of photographic imagery will not stop this newspaper from running a front-page story. A curious mind will naturally tend to image the scene by itself, and such was the process that generated Hunter’s ongoing ‘Headlines’ series from the Gazette. These scenarios were isolated and turned into staged photographs, featuring friends and acquaintances and shot in Hackney.”

Source: Green on Red Gallery

To see more of Tom’s work click here

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