Selected works by Hannah Starkey

Hannah Starkey
Untitled - September 2008

2008

C-type print

122 x 163 cm

Using actors within carefully considered settings, Hannah Starkey’s photographs reconstruct scenes from everyday life with the concentrated stylisation of film. Starkey’s images picture women engaged in regular routines such as loitering in the street, sitting in cafes, or passively shopping. Starkey captures these generic ‘in between’ moments of daily life with a sense of relational detachment. Her still images operate as discomforting ‘pauses’; where the banality of existence is freeze-framed in crisis point, creating reflective instances of inner contemplation, isolation, and conflicting emotion.
Through the staging of her scenes, Starkey’s images evoke suggestive narratives through their appropriation of cultural templates: issues of class, race, gender, and identity are implied through the physical appearance of her models or places. Adopting the devices of filmography, Starkey’s images are intensified with a pervasive voyeuristic intrusion, framing moments of intimacy for unapologetic consumption. Starkey often uses composition to heighten this sense of personal and emotional disconnection, with arrangements of lone figures separated from a group, or segregated with metaphoric physical divides such as tables or mirrors.
Often titling her work as Untitled, followed by a generalised date of creation, her photographs parallel the interconnected vagueness of memory, recalling suggestions of events and emotions without fixed location or context. Her work presents a platform where fiction and reality are blurred, illustrating the gap between personal fragility and social construction, and merging the experiences of strangers with our own.

Hannah Starkey
Untitled - January 2000

2000

C-type print

122 x 183cm
Hannah Starkey
Untitled - May 1997

1997

C-type print

122 x 152 cm
Hannah Starkey
Untitled - August 1999

1999

C-type print

122 x 152 cm
Hannah Starkey
Untitled - October 1998

1998

C-type print

122 x 152 cm
Hannah Starkey
Untitled - March 2002

2002

C-type print

122 x 183 cm
Hannah Starkey
Untitled - June 2007

2007

C-type print

122 x 152 cm
Hannah Starkey
Butterfly Catchers

1999

C-type print

122 x 152 cm

Text by William A Ewing


Articles

HANNAH STARKEY


Hannah Starkey’s filmic tableaux recall the dramatic yet measured tensions of Alfred Hitchcock or Edward Hopper. Working between reality and fiction with the mise-en-scène, Starkey reconstructs real people and observed situations using a vocabulary of codes and signs culled from contemporary urban culture. The everyday locations are fragments of a generic urban environment, while the fictional characters in Starkey’s pictures oscillate between collective (social, political, economic, cultural or geographic) signifiers and stereotypes of individual personalities. These figures are more often than not women – although there is a sense that, as Starkey says, you can make a picture of women that is not necessarily about women.

The figures in her photographs don’t do much; they wait in cafés, linger in a video rental store, stare out of windows on the bus. Isolated by their own thoughts, these figures are intermittently present and remote from their immediate surroundings, caught up by dramas taking place elsewhere. Starkey’s instinct for narrative animates the non-events she depicts. In the surreal pink neon glow of a video store, beneath a sharply receding grid of flat ceiling lights, three girls, all dressed in fashionable ankle length quilted coats, two black and one white, stand browsing the shelves in a video store. In this light, their coats lend them the faintest semblance of Star Wars warriors.

Source: bard.edu


HANNAH STARKEY - ARTIST/PHOTOGRAPHER
By Barry Schwabsky

So here's the picture I fell in love with. A young woman sits alone in a coffee shop. It's morning. Her cigarette pack, coffee cup, and half-empty glass of OJ lie on the table, but she's not looking at them, or at the camera, either. Instead she looks back toward the mirror on the wall beside her. Oddly, she's reaching out to touch her reflection. The cafe's wall is curved, so the mirror is tipped down toward her. In it, we see not only the entranced face that's turned aside but also the older woman who is also observing her from the table across the aisle.

What's the girl looking at? Not at herself, as the fact of looking in a mirror might suggest, but at the tiny thing she's caught with a finger on the mirror's surface: a moth. It's nearly the exact center of the image, and in fact the whole image seems to rotate around it - and I do mean rotate: the interaction of rectilinear and circular geometry gives this strangely still image its even more strangely fluid and unsettled inner structure. We usually think of actors (this is directorial-mode photography) moving around a set; this set seems to move around the actors. Through the window behind the girl a London bus can be seen passing; but somehow the rounded space of this interior is more reminiscent of a train's dining car than an ordinary coffee shop.

Source: findarticles.com