Apr 23 2012
Photographer Jonathan Turner on his commission to create a series of photographs representing Sheffield families for the exhibition The Family in British Art:
‘Working on the ‘Sheffield families project’ was perfect for me as it’s what I like doing best; working with, and documenting, real people (as opposed to some of the more contrived corporate work I sometimes do). I love meeting people, talking to them and trying to capture something of who they are as an image. I particularly like being able to photograph people in their own environment (be it work or home) as it helps to put them in the context of their own lives; their surroundings often give a few clues as to who they are.
‘We tried to represent a rough cross section of Sheffield people, and almost all the people we approached were happy to be photographed. As with most portraits, they are something of collaboration between subject and photographer, and as such I think most people felt at ease for me to come into their home and photograph them. It was interesting to ask them about what the idea of ‘family’ meant to them, and for them to show that to us.’
As well as the images he created for The Family in British Art, Jonathan also worked with young people from local organisations including The Children’s Society, Sheffield College and Hinde House School to create their own photos for the exhibition. Visitors to the show can see the photos the young people took of Sheffield’s families on a digital interactive in the gallery.
‘Working with the young people was great too. I do a lot of workshops with young people and children, as well as adults, and it’s something I’ve always got a lot of satisfaction from; showing them how to use a camera and to compose an image. Photography can be quite infectious and seeing them catch the bug and get really enthusiastic about the cameras potential is just great. Some of the young people showed some real potential, so giving them the opportunity to learn some new techniques was a pleasure. Some of the pictures they’ve taken are just great too!’
You can see Jonathan’s photographs as part of The Family in British Art, which continues at the Millennium Gallery until Sunday 29 April. Entry to the exhibition is FREE.
- Lisa Baker and mum Fran Dunne with their cats Tilly and Tetley © Jonathan Turner
- The Cicakova Family © Jonathan Turner
- Karl Olsen and Ian King © Jonathan Turner
- The Baker-Neal Family © Jonathan Turner