Portraits of the Working People of Somerset

TR Flaxton

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


‘Portraits of the Working People of Somerset’ was created to explore the core research question that was part of the original AHRC bid for my 2007 Creative Research Fellowship: ‘In what ways will High Resolution Imaging change the work produced in the convergence of art and visual technologies and consequently, our experience of that work?’ To answer this question I formulated the idea of ‘Quantum Resolution’ which proposed that audience immersion deepens with quantum as opposed to quantitative increases of resolution – that is the effects of deeper immersion would be felt with larger increases of resolution rather than incremental increases of resolution. Initially I formulated 3 practice as research portfolios as differing strategies to uncover the effects (if any) of increased resolution. These three were a) to examine everyday moving images of the world immediately around oneself, b) examine iconic moving images of the world and c) examine human portraiture and by way of this examine ideas around the human gaze. I argued that each work would be a building block in a developing argument to examine my hypothesis and that all of the works would be presented together in a major exhibition as the overall thesis – this occurred in December 2010 in collaboration with University of Westminster in their London P3 Gallery. ‘Portraits of the Working People of Somerset’ is the 9th work of the 3rd Portfolio which had as its base idea to investigate the re-presentation of the human portrait in front of an iconic object or landscape. This is the result of a £40,000 Heritage Lottery Award. The images were shot at 4k resolution (some 4 times the resolution of High Definition). I became involved with the community of Somerset through a set of strategies which included outreach to schools via local museums and community organisations. Having agreed a set of portraitees I convened a shooting period and asked the portraitees to stand still for 1 minute as a reference to early photographic exposure times where holding still was an important part of photography and portraiture. I also asked each portraitee to bring something that spoke about who they were or what they did in life – this is a reference to portraiture in general from 16th century onwards. This work was first presented at the ‘Museum of Work, Bath’ then moved to Glastonbury Abbey between October 2011 and January 2012 and ran for 6 months in 2011 and 2012. Also, the series of works this work is within have been shot in New York, the Uk and Italy and subsequently I have spoken of the research outcomes in articles and papers at various international conferences. The outputs are exhibition periods, a permanent exhibition display, another display of 6 hours of oral history interviews with the participants, information display boards, educational support material (teachers educational packs), so far 3 school educational outreach projects, a 90 minute documentary (in preparation) In exhibition, this work is displayed 15 foot x 15 foot so that the subjects are life sized. At an exhibition in 2010, 6 projects were displayed as a 60 foot triptych with people represented from around the world.
Translated title of the contributionPortraits of the Working People of Somerset
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVarious (1st Exhibition, Somerset)
Media of outputInstallation
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010

Bibliographical note

Medium: High Resolution Digital Installation
Event title: Various (1st Exhibition, Somerset)


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