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Listening to Radio 4 this morning has left me both dismayed at the horror humans can inflict on other humans and heartened by stories of selfless acts and heroic actions. All these things happened ten years ago during the London bombings that have come to be known as 7/7. 

Ten years ago, in 2005 I was visiting London regularly to make photographs and videos as part of a project called In-between. The work was all made on the London Underground and part of my ongoing exploration of how we interact with the physical world we inhabit, how the space around us informs the space inside us. This particular set of photographs was intended to extend my work on temporary and transient spaces. The pictures were made on a compact digital camera, with me standing on Underground train platforms, taking pictures of passengers moving in and out of the stations, hence the blurring. I started in the January of 2005, but July of that year saw the terrorist bombing on public transport targets in London. I was of course shocked and horrified, like everyone. However I continued making pictures through until September and so experienced a marked change in atmosphere as well as a huge drop in people using the Underground.  When I exhibited the finished work in Antwerp in the December of that year, most people read the pictures as being about the bombings, especially as I had chosen to shoot low quality images that were blown up quite large, so they ended up having a CCTV aesthetic. Originally I had intended the work to be a video piece and this was really something carried over from my moving image tests.

The reaction that surprised me was that people at the opening tended to assume that the subjects of the pictures were either victims or perpetrators of the attacks. When presented with blurred or abstracted images, it would seem our brains search for clues and try to fill in the gaps. So for me this work ended up being more about how we interpret the world through photography and how we use slithers of visual information (gender, clothing, race, posture, etc.) to help us 'read' the world and make decisions based on this.

I've no idea who any of the people are in my pictures as our lives crossed just the once, but today I'll be thinking of all those people who's lives where taken away and those whose lives where changed forever on the 7th July, 2005.   


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