Tom Hunter (1965) is an artist who uses photography and film as his medium, he lives and works in London and is currently Professor of Photography at the London College of Communications, University of the Arts, London, Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of East London.
Tom has earned several awards during his career, his latest in 2016, the Rose Award for Photography at the Royal Academy, London.
Tom graduated from the London College of Printing in 1994 with his work ‘The Ghetto’, which is now on permanent display at the Museum of London. He studied for his MA at the Royal College of Art, where, in 1996, he was awarded the Photography Prize by Fuji Film for his series ‘Travellers’.
In 1998 ‘Woman Reading a Possession Order’ from his series ‘Persons Unknown’, won the Photographic Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery. In 2006 Tom became the only artist to have a solo photography show at the National Gallery, London with his series ‘Living in Hell and Other Stories’.
Hunter’s early work focused documenting life in Hackney referencing local news headlines against compositions and references Old Masters. His photograph of a squatter Woman Reading a Possession Order, references Johannes Vermeer’s Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window. This photograph won the Kobal Photographic Portrait Award in 1998
I just wanted to take a picture showing the dignity of squatter life – a piece of propaganda to save my neighbourhood. The great thing is, the picture got a dialogue going with the council – and we managed to save the houses.
In 2010 Hunter screened A Palace for Us, a film he made about the elderly residents of public buildings in Woodberry Down, Manor House, London. Jonathan Jones described it as a ‘magical’ work of contemporary art that chronicled the postwar ambition to provide housing for the working class.
In 2019 Hunter created a series of photographs at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, of taxi drivers from various other countries that had made Hastings their home, along with works from the museum’s collection, commissioned and produced by Lucy Bell Gallery with funding from Arts Council, Scott Mead, and Hastings Museum and Art Gallery. Titled A Journey Home, Curated by Lucy Bell and David Rhodes aimed at celebrating the diversity of the town and the contribution that immigrants have made to its vibrant mix.
“Hastings is a coastal town that has many historical layers – forged by the flow of people, the traces of which are evident in its townscapes, landscapes and cultures. To construct a contemporary photographic document of this region, internationally renowned artist Tom Hunter has collaborated with drivers from local taxi firm 247247, whilst referencing the collection of Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.
The taxi drivers, who represent the diverse community of Hastings, were invited by Hunter to choose their favourite locations in the area, to be photographed at either dusk or dawn during the periods known as the ‘golden hour’ and the ‘blue hour’. In this way, Hunter pays tribute to Turner and the many other artists that have worked here, inspired by the natural landscape and incredible light conditions.