TLJ Collab Projects
Robert Battersby & Julie Gautier-Downes
TLJ Collab Projects Presents: Homeland
The artists were given free rein to explore the concept, and asked to produce a short series of work reflecting this exploration.
"In this modern age, where we call home is prone to change. Similarly, the spaces that come to represent home evolve and change around us. As we transition to new places, our familiarity grows and we develop a sense of home and belonging. It is within the architecture of the city that we are able to identify new aspects of ourselves. Our knowledge of a space defines the parameters of what we can call home and our experiences of it. By exploring the respective cities that we call home, we wanted to use this project as a chance to explore our relationships with the built environments that surround us. Drawing inspiration from our cities’ changing relationships with industry our photographs construct a visual narrative between the cities that we each call home." - Julie & Rob
Q&A with Robert & Julie
TLJ: Being over 4,400 miles away from each other, how has this project developed?
R: It all started with a long conversation about where we were both at in terms of geography, and our respective practices. Once we had an idea of how we both liked our work to feel and the stories we were trying to tell about the cities it was a matter of staying in touch and sharing our work as it developed.
J: It is amazing how much closer people feel when you can instantly communicate. I think the hardest part of working together was scheduling phone calls due to the time difference and our varying busy work schedules.
TLJ: How has this collab made you see your hometown and how does it compare to your partners?
J: When Rob and I talked for the first time, he asked me to describe the city that I live in. He then told me about his own home city. We immediately saw parallels in the histories of our cities and our own experiences in them. Like Rob, I rarely take photographs in the city in which I live. I have lived in Spokane for two years and have struggled to photograph it. This project forced me to get out with my camera and explore it visually. I was surprised by what I found and could not stop myself at ten images. My results inspired me to start a new individual series, Poetics of Longing, that is based in Spokane.
R: The opportunity to share a narrative of your city directly with someone who has never been was quite unique. Both myself and Julie were considering an environment that was very familiar whilst trying to create a visual relationship between two very distant cities. From my first conversation with Julie it was apparent that both Spokane and Liverpool have a distinct industrial and post-industrial legacy. These similar histories were great parallels and helped to define our focus for this work.
TLJ: Who inspires you both and was there any pre-research into other artists to help you with this project?
J: As a West Coast photographer, my photographic aesthetic was shaped by the New Topographics. When I look at our images, I see references to Stephen Shore, Henry Wessel Jr, and Frank Gohlke.
R: As an architectural photographer my approach to photography places an emphasis on using strong compositions and objective approach. I think we were both comfortable in knowing that Joseph’s decision to partner Julie and I for this collaboration, acknowledged our stylistic similarities and approach to photography.
What are the 'TLJ Collab' Projects?
The 'TLJ Collab' projects are a chance for two TLJ featuring artists to work together on a short or long term project. Each pair is given a topic to focus on and they create between 2 - 12 pieces of work to answer to this concept.
Over the next year we're looking to work with local and international artists to produce a series of collaborative projects. Once a collection of these projects has come together, we will be looking to collaborate ourselves with galleries, other showcases, institutes to extend this feature.
Each pairing is arranged by the TLJ team and submissions for new artists are welcome! If you would like to take part in our TLJ Collab projects, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.