Tom Hunter (artist)

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Tom Hunter (born 1965) is a London-based British artist working in photography and film. His photographs often reference and reimagine classical paintings. He was the first photographer to have a one-man show at the National Gallery, London. [1]


Hunter has shown work internationally in exhibitions, his work is held in a number of public collections and he has had four books published. He has won various awards including an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society.

Life and work

Hunter was born in Bournemouth, UK. He studied at the London College of Printing [2] and gained an MA from the Royal College of Art in London. [2]

His work has specialised in documenting life in Hackney, depicting local issues and sensationalist news headlines with compositions borrowed from the Old Masters. [3] For instance, his photograph of a squatter, Woman Reading a Possession Order, references Johannes Vermeer's Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window. [2] This photograph won the Kobal Photographic Portrait Award in 1998. [3] [4] [5] Of the photograph, which was shot with a large-format camera and printed using the Ilfochrome process, Hunter said:

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. [2]

While praising both the National Gallery exhibition as a whole and several of the photographs within it, Tim Adams criticized a staged photograph, comparing it unfavorably with the work of Richard Billingham or Graham Smith. [3]

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. [6]

He works at the Photography and the Archive Research Centre in London.[ citation needed ]

In 2019 Hunter showed 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. [7] [8]





Hunter's work is held in the following public collections:[ citation needed ]

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  1. "Tom Hunter". The Daily Telegraph. 10 September 2010. ISSN   0307-1235 . Retrieved 16 February 2019 via
  2. 1 2 3 4 Photographer Tom Hunter's best shot, The Guardian, 4 November 2009
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Adams, Tim (11 December 2005). "The face is familiar ..." The Guardian . Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  4. Life through a lens, Royal College of Art biography
  5. From High Art to High Rise: Making Modern Masterpieces Archived 2007-06-08 at the Wayback Machine , National Gallery
  6. Tom Hunter: A Palace for Us – review, The Guardian, 9 December 2010
  7. "You talkin' to me? The taxi drivers of Hastings – in pictures". The Guardian. 8 January 2019. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 16 February 2019 via
  8. 1 2 "Tom Hunter / A Journey Home 09 February 2019 - 02 June 2019". Hastings Museum and Art Gallery. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  9. "Tom Hunter - MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 18 May 2023.