Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Caught in the Act – Reading reading

Caught in the Act – Reading reading

Photographer’s Brief


Blank Productions is delivering a community-focused project in Reading for the National Year of Reading in partnership with Reading Borough Council’s arts team and library service. The project has been primarily funded through Awards for All with supporting funds from Reading Borough Council, and is being led by writer and collaborative artist, Mark Hewitt.

The project aims to celebrate the creativity of the everyday reader, involving local Reading people both on the street and in specific settings such as care homes, schools and penal institutions. It will involve two parallel commissions: a word-based commission gathering and transcribing interviews with readers about the books they are reading, and a photographic commission capturing images of readers in a variety of locations. The overall intention is to contrast the busy workaday complexity of life in a town with the stillness and self-contained privacy of the act of reading.

The interview material and images will be used as part of an exhibition of photographs and text, and as visual content alongside the texts in a series of town centre public art interventions, timed to coincide with Reading’s first crime writing festival in September 2008.

Role of Photographer

We are seeking an experienced photographer who will be able to generate quickly and efficiently the images required for the project. The images will depict people in the act of reading on the streets, on public transport, in parks and in other locations to be agreed. It is important that the images are of high quality, both technically and aesthetically, and that they complement the word-based commission. Because of the link the project has to a Festival of Crime Writing, we anticipate the photographic approach might subtly respond to this, in the sense of evoking film noir or surveillance imagery rather than conventional portraiture. To that end, it may be that the image-making we require is not simply documentary but involves a highly creative response to the depiction of a figure within a townscape.

The photographer will be required to deliver no less than 30 images on location in Reading over five full days or ten half days, although not all of these images will necessarily be used in the final outcomes. We anticipate an element of collaboration between the writer, the photographer and the public art agents to agree the details of a shared creative approach.


The photographer will be required to work on location in Reading over five full days or ten half days. Whilst the photographic commission will be undertaken independently there may be occasions where a progress meeting or joint visit to a given location needs to be scheduled within the working period.

The process of generating the photographs will have to take place during June 2008. To allow sufficient time for production of public art installations and exhibition prints we will need a completed set of images to be delivered by early July. Details of the required formats for photographs will be supplied by the public art installers early in the process. We are aiming for the exhibition and public art interventions to be launched on 1st September 2008.


A total of £2000 is available to the photographer, to include professional fees, expenses and materials, with an additional sum of £1000 to cover the costs of printing a selection of photographs for the exhibition at Reading Central Library.

Skills required

We are looking for a photographer with the following skills and abilities:

• High level of technical skill
• Creative approach
• Willingness to collaborate with other creative practitioners
• Ability to communicate well with members of the public

It is desirable for the appointed photographer to have their own public liability insurance and CRB clearance.

How to apply

If you are interested in being considered for this commission please submit your CV, a disc with examples of your work, and a short statement outlining how your practice relates to this project. Submissions should be sent by Friday May 30th to:

Tammy Bedford
Arts Manager
South Street arts centre
21 South Street
Reading RG1 4QU

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview to take place in Reading on Friday 6th June.

For a further discussion about the project please contact Mark Hewitt direct by e-mailing enquiries@blankproductions.org.uk

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