Tessa Bunney | Open Water Swimming
31 January – 14 March 2014
Thursday 30 January, 18.30 – 21.00
Photofusion are pleased to present two recent bodies of work by documentary photographer Tessa Bunney: Järvenjää/Lakeice and On the Board. Exploring the importance of open space and the desire for contact with nature in the city, this exhibition offers the viewer a captivating insight into the world of Open Water Swimming.
The exhibit opens with Bunney’s striking imagery from Jyväskylä, the capital of Central Finland and the largest city in the Finnish Lakeland, an area of more than 188,000 lakes. Järvenjää, which translates as Lakeice, explores the interrelations between people and their immediate environment, reflecting on diverse uses of natural landscapes within the city during the winter.
Over the past decades, Finland has experienced an unprecedented rate of economic, technological and social change. The whole way of life is now completely different from how it was only a few decades ago. However, the need to connect to the tranquillity of nature remains.
Tessa Bunney spent every day walking and travelling by local bus around Jyväskylä to the many lakes in and around the city. Initially working like a street photographer – her shots were not predetermined – she photographed in response to her experiences out in the blizzards and to the people she met along the way. As time went by, her relationships with the environment and local ice swimmers developed, as seen through the more intimate portraits and moments captured.
Her second project titled On the Board documents the Serpentine Swimming Club. The photographs are set around The Serpentine Lake, situated in Hyde Park, London’s largest central open space.
The Serpentine Swimming Club was formed in 1864 ‘to promote the healthful habit of bathing in open water throughout the year’, when a wooden bench for clothing was the only facility they had. Now, the club has its own changing facilities and members are permitted by the Royal Parks to swim in the lake any morning before 09:30. They race every Saturday throughout the year, regardless of the weather.
On the Board consists of a series of images alongside a short photofilm that explores the importance of green space and swimming in an urban context through the members of the SSC.
Since graduating from West Surrey College of Art and Design in 1988, Bunney has been undertaking personal projects alongside features for various magazines including Guardian Weekend, The Sunday Times magazine and Gourmet (USA), as well as a wide range of commissions and residencies nationally and internationally. In 2004, she completed her M.A. in Photography at De Montfort University, Leicester.
Artist Talk & Tour
Thursday 6 February
19.00 in the Photofusion Gallery
£3.50 (free for Photofusion Members)
020 7738 5774