Photo London

    May 19, 2015  by tom  |  Blog, Tom Pope's Blog, Uncategorized

    As the evening presses on, I have finally got around to penning this update. Tomorrow sees the Private View of Photo London, a new Photography festival based at Somerset House, London, that from the looks of things will not be to dissimilar to Paris Photo.

    I will be performing at the Royal College of Art Stand at 2pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

    I will also be giving a reading of Rut Blees Luxemburg and Alexander García Düttmann’s book The Academic Year on Saturday from 1pm till 1.30pm at Ruts installation The Teaser.

    The college where I studied my Masters in photography, the Royal College of Art, will exhibit a selection of 9 alumni from the past 4 years. I have been invited to perform potentials, a performance I was commissioned to develop by TimeFrame; On The Legacy of Performance, a symposium and exhibition examining the recording and documentation of performance art.


    The performance exists for the act of capturing its own existence, yet with the potential of it never being able to achieve this.

    60 apples are thrown at the cable release. Each apple has the potential to hit the cable release and produce a photograph, and yet the possibility remains that every attempt may be futile. These performed photographs highlight concerns with documenting performance using photography.

    Potentials.01 mechanism

    Above is a picture of the mechanism I would throw my apples at. This DIY aesthetic generally occurs because I am ill equipped with regard to a workshop when fabricating props. I also enjoy the sport of kitchen table building.

    Rather than re-perform Potentials, and also due to the decision made by the powers that be that I probably shouldn’t be throwing 60 apples around at an art fair, I decided to further develop the performance.

    One of my main concerns with Potentials is the visual vs conceptual balance, as a conceptual work, it floats, but the visual for me just doesn’t excite me anymore. So for Potentials.02 I wanted to capture the object being thrown. I was also eager to create a process where the more successful I am the more I disrupt the image I have strived to create.

    And so came some research. Firstly, into a system where I could store energy, so I wouldn’t have to throw something in a hard manner at the mechanism to fire the shutter of the camera (in the original performance, I needed to throw the apple with a great deal of force, so the cable release would fire the Hasselblad), I found that a cross bow mechanism might play a part here, where I could store energy an use substantially less energy to release it.

    Secondly, was thirst for a method of disrupting the image if I was hitting the target. So came a sheet of Marlon, a variant of strengthened Perspex used on boats.

    Potentials.02 test

    By subverting the crossbow mechanism and adding a sheet of Marlon that I will throw objects at I was set. Design’s were drawn up on odd scraps of paper, but mostly this kind of thing exists in my head, and I have to try my best to describe it to those around me from whom I seek council with such odd builds.

    The Crossbow mechanism

    I’m happy with the finished mechanism, built partly in London, shipped to Jersey, completed on the island and now ready to be flown back to London to be used in my performance. The addition of a sheet of clear Perspex, adds another layer to the achievable/graspable and ungraspable, it’s like walking down Sloane Street, the fashion shops glass is maintained to an intense degree of clearness, to at once invite us in, allow us to reach forward and touch the product, live the life, yet, just as we come to grasp it, alas the pain of glass keeps us out, blocks us. We are left unable to see due to the build up of mist from our breath on the window. Suiting for a contemporary art fair I’m sure.

    Build in progress

    Build in progress

    Build in progress

    Build in progress

    Build in progress

    Build in progress

    Although I had bigger plans for the mechanism, currently the performance works in a way that when I hit the Perspex a photo is made and the object disrupts the image. I would prefer to have it work in a way that when the object hits the Perspex it stays attached to it, so as the performance progresses, visibility becomes less clear. I think this will be worked into the design for Potentials.03.

    About Potentials.02

    Potentials.02 sees the artist throw an object at a sheet of Perspex that sits in front of the camera lens. If the artist is successful in hitting the Perspex, it will trigger a firing mechanism that results in a Polaroid being shot. Within each successful image, we see the fine lines of the clear Perspex within the frame, and also the object thrown frozen in the image. Through chance the object will obstruct and disrupt the image. If the artist is triumphant in recording his success in the performance, he also has the chance of destroying the image that records that very performance. With each performance there will be a potential of 10 Polaroid’s being shot to record the event, yet there is also the potential of no images being shot, and no record of the performance existing.


    Potentials.02 Test


    May 11, 2015  by tom  |  Blog, Tom Pope's Blog, Uncategorized

    During my time on the Island I shall be running a series of workshops to a wide demographic of Jersey people. Taking place in schools, colleges and youth centres, the workshops will explore performed photography and play. Through a series of activities, we will look at the roll chance and failure can play in the image making process.


    Here I am demonstrating one of the activities with a student from Highlands College.

    By performing the act of making an image, the photographer no longer remains still movement is required. Many of the activities borrow concepts from sport and theatre.

    Here is an image a student made playing catch with another student using an orange.



    Come Play With Me

    May 5, 2015  by tom  |  Blog, Tom Pope's Blog, Uncategorized


    Come Play With Me

    We can play games, invent new games or just play. Generally, a game has a clearly defined structure and set of rules. Whereas play, can spontaneously exist without the need of regulations. Ad hoc contests, office games and challenges invented and played once; all are forms of play that can exist within the everyday.

    I am inviting you to play with me and create photographs in the process. It could be anywhere and at any time. I have developed a series of games that we can play, but would like to invent new games and ways of playing with you.

    Through play and collaboratively invented games, chance can be encountered and in the moment anything can happen. Rules can be made and even broken. The potential for what happens in boundless.

    To take part or find out more, please email me: