Chris Harrison: Copper Horses

Another artist that I have looked at for my research is Chris Harrison’s Copper Horse’s exhibition, with particular focus on his images that revolve around the tools and part his dad used when he was working when Chris was a young boy.

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 13.21.19The context for the this project was that when Chris was a young bouy, he used to think that his dad was a deep-sea diver who had adventures all day; in reality though, he was just a precision engineer who worked in a factory. (W, 2013) It was only when Chris was much older that he realised that al his father was focused on was keeping the family together, which meant he used to work at home. It was for this project that Chris decided to focus on the machine that his father had worked on from a young age to when he retired (Spectrumphoto.co.uk, 2013). In his images, he just doesn’t take an image of one massive machine  that would be sitting in a room. Rather, he took an individual picture of each part that his dad made for the machine (it was a highly skilled job) that it evokes an emotional response from the dedication that Chris has put into this work.
For me, I see this as Chris bonding with his father still after all this time which is a lovely gesture towards his dad for all the work that he has put in over the years; we can see this as an homage for their relationship.

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 13.21.29What is intriguing about all of this work is that these pictures are so simple in how they are taken, yet for Chris they each hold such a deeper meaning to him in particular; each piece relieves the tales told by his dad. So what Chris is doing, in my eyes at least, is creating not only a portrait of his dad but also a self-portrait of himself. But what is key here is that context is so key in understanding the images; for Chris the memories come easily for him, but for a viewer we are left baffled about what these images mean. Thankfully in his exhibition, he does include text which explains this whole idea so that the viewers who go around can understand what he is talking about, yet we can still ask questions as to what each part means.

This work relates well to the last post I made about making histories which make memories in that when we see something, we enter the “dream space” in which the memories begin to flow within us; it might evoke memories of other families who were in the same predicament then, but also in today’s society as well where people have to work hard days and night they can feel the same as well. And I think this is important to note with my project in that some people will buy expensive watches that they plan on giving as an inheritance to a loved one, so in the future that present will evoke memories of their loved ones in the future.
The reason project works so well for me is that all the pictures work well in combination in telling a story about Harrison’s dad; Chris hasn’t forgotten the stories that his dad used to tell him, but rather he has embraced it and has kept theses memories forever through these pictures.
This is what I want to do in my own images, by being able to keep these images in a permanent way so that no one will be able to forget them at all, and we will be able to continue to talk about them as well.

Nationalmediamuseum.org.uk, (2013). About Copper Horses – Exhibitions – Plan a Visit – National Media Museum. [online] Available at: http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/planavisit/exhibitions/copperhorses/about.aspx [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Spectrumphoto.co.uk, (2013). Copper Horses by Chris Harrison – Spectrum Photographic. [online] Available at: http://spectrumphoto.co.uk/news/copper-horses-by-chris-harrison [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

W, A. (2013). Introducing Copper Horses by Chris Harrison, a new photography exhibition. [online] National Media Museum blog. Available at: http://nationalmediamuseumblog.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/copper-horses-chris-harrison-bradford-fellowship/ [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

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