Over the last month or so, I have been struck by the extraordinary success of one of Jack Lowe Studio’s long-standing clients, Colin Barker.
His large-scale solo exhibition of work, ‘Part of the Pack’ was on display throughout this summer within the unique setting of Lord and Lady Egremont’s family stables at Petworth House, as a behind-the-scenes portrayal of life with the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt.
Presented by the Arden & Anstruther Gallery, Petworth, this three year personal project forms a collection of over sixty black and white prints that create a link between the undulating, picturesque landscape of the South Downs and the gritty reality of day-to-day life for the huntsman at the kennels.
Laid out as if a narration of the hunting year, the images at the stables occupied the wet room, tack room (including tack) and seven boxes complete with straw and dung, so creating the perfect atmosphere.
Click here to see a panorama of the space.
Also within the stables were a series of large sepia horse portraits belonging to Lord Egremont that were produced in the 1920’s by the photographer Clarence Hayley. These were originally commissioned by Lord Leconfield of his hunters and are of stunning quality – they look to have been produced on a very large format camera.
Finally, some words from Colin on his background:
“Originally influenced by the photographers Cartier-Bresson and W. Eugene Smith, I was compelled upon leaving art college to spend many nights in the darkroom printing up my images of the disappearing street scenes of London, while working during the day as a photographic assistant.
My ‘spontaneous’ approach, learnt during that period, helped create a style that has enabled me to capture, I hope, some memorable images for this project. Moreover, it has enabled me to persevere time after time during the many disparate conditions that prevailed, in order to try and capture that unstaged ‘magic moment’.
Initially, with a limited knowledge of the workings of the Hunt, it was a steep learning curve for me: the Hunt’s unique vocabulary, dress codes and etiquette are steeped in history and tradition. Whilst earning the huntsman’s trust and striking up a camaraderie with him, I had to also learn the different areas of the countryside that we were visiting twice a week.
From the first moment I was introduced to the CL&C hounds, I was aware of their strong bond and almost overwhelmed by being amongst the pack. However overtime the hounds accepted me as another member of the hunt staff, enabling me to capture some very natural moments. Thus the title came into being as ‘Part of the Pack’.”
The collection is now on display at the Arden & Anstruther Gallery for Saturdays only until November 12th. Further images are viewable on the gallery web-site, however Colin is presently working on own his new web design.