Closer: Photographs by Stuart Griffiths was curated by Val Williams and first shown at the Phoenix Gallery, Brighton, in 2011, as part of the Brighton Photo Biennale Fringe. It has subsequently toured to the London College of Communication (Upper Street Gallery), as part of the 2013 Moose on the Loose Biennale of Research, and to Birmingham MAC.
The exhibition combines documentary portraiture of army veterans, photographs made in Northern Ireland when Griffiths was a British Army photographer and serving soldier, and extracts from drawings and letters home.
The showing at LCC and the issue of Fieldstudy which accompanies it is part of the activities of PARC's War and Conflict research group.
Private View: 6 – 8 pm, Thursday 2 May 2013
Exhibition opens: 3 - 17 May 2013. Mon to Fri 10am - 6pm. Saturday 10am - 4pm
Venue: Upper Street Gallery, London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle London SE1 6SB
Stuart Griffiths began taking photographs when he was a young soldier, carrying a ‘sure-shot’ instamatic camera in his chest webbing alongside 120 live bullets, water canisters and field dressings, whilst on patrol in West Belfast in the late 1980s. Closer is Griffiths’ first solo exhibition and, curated by Val Williams, was launched at the Brighton Photo Biennale in 2010.
Between 2003 and 2008, Griffiths photographed socially excluded veterans who were living in hostels, treatments centres, or were homeless. With their military careers behind them, these veterans, many of who had been seriously injured, face innumerable problems and show remarkable resilience. The making of these photographs, and Griffiths’ own reflections on his life as a photographer are documented in Isolation the 2009 documentary film made Luke Seomore and Joseph Bull which will be screened at LCC during the exhibition.
Acting as a counterpoint to these large-scale photographs, are Griffith’s candid photographs of army life, taken during his time in the Parachute Regiment in Northern Ireland in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Documenting the minutia of service life, these photographs are both bleak and bizarre. Griffiths’ remarkable letters home, which were often highly illustrated, are also being presented as oversize Xeroxes for this installation at LCC.
Since the initial showing of Griffiths’ work in Brighton, he has begun an intense reflection on his past work, writing about his experiences in the Congo (Photography and Culture 6.1), about his collision with 1990s rave culture (quoted by Val Williams in Jocks&Nerds, Issue 5, 2012) and in the remarkable Pigs Disco, which will be launched as part of the Moose on the Loose Biennale of Research.
Isolation will be shown at 2.30 at the Podium Lecture theatre at LCC on Wednesday 15 May 2013, followed by Stuart Griffiths in conversation with photographer Paul Lowe from 3.30pm. Admission free, first come first served.
Moose on the Loose is a Biennale of Research, organized by the UAL Photography & the Archive Research Centre at venues across London during May 2013. A full programme will be available mid March 2013.