Promotional images for BBC documentary Egon Schiele: Dangerous Desires 2018.
Copyright of Bethany Hobbs.
Two shoots done for Fold this summer, with more shoots to follow! Beautiful clothes which are all hand woven and designed independently.
Last Summer I had the pleasure of working with Frances Tobin on her new magazine. This shoot is of Mothers with their daughters wearing the patterns that can be bought on her website: https://themakersatelier.com/
I understood when I started the process of unpicking a family history that has the trauma of displacement and loss of life, that I was entering un-discussed and unknown territory. There was a real dilemma about what to reveal and what to keep from public view especially as my great grandmother rarely expressed any desire to discuss the war. I discovered hidden stories, kept for a lifetime, and answers to questions only raised a multitude more. It is one thing to know a history and another to feel it.
So far I have made a series of documents that are testament to a life; to the attempt to remake a life after the destruction of everything once known and believed in. I emerge from this. I am the first generation of my family to have been able to engage with following a trail of documentation and discoveries.
I hope that what I have been able to create is lasting. I started on a visual journey creating a narrative from stories passed down the family; found that I wanted to document my family’s physical environment and who lived there. I then looked back into archival material and then followed a trail of documentation back to Vienna where my family originated from before the war. What I have ended up with includes written experience, observation, and reflection.
Please note that this is a small selection of images from a much wider body of work.
When faced with the independence to do which ever project we desired, I went to the most obvious thing, family.
This series of five images are a narrative of how my Great Grandmother escaped Austria at the beginning of the Second World War. Although her journey isn’t clear to us, it is believed that she went to Italy to try and get on a ship that was heading to London. However, after begging the captain she was denied access aboard; she later discovered that the very same ship had been bombed by the Nazi regime, and no-one survived.
This project I looked at places where you don’t expect yourself to end up. These images are my response to an unknown space. Both of the places I visited are very different but share prominent similarities. The first is taken in a city and many would say that it is the subconscious of the city, here I felt very unwelcome and being a young women I felt uneasy. However, the people I met and spoke to seemed to be in this environment due to their need to be alone. Many would come here to take drugs and drink, I found this very upsetting and began to think about their situation more and more. After thinking I came to the conclusion that instead of this place being somewhere people would “drown their sorrows” it is a place where they could be who ever they wished to be and not worry about anyone else’s views of them. After going to this place that was so alien to me I wanted to explore more environments that may contain the same emotions. So I set my sights on visiting Princetown in Dartmoor which is home to Dartmoor Prison. I wasn’t sure what to expect as this place was home to a couple thousand people in this small town. As I drove over the the hill the grey prison loomed over the landscape making it impossible to ignore. There was an odd feeling when I reached my destination as people where obviously in their houses on this cold winters morning, lights on, smoke coming from chimneys but not a soul to be seen. The eerie quietness surrounding this town was hard to miss; if you don’t live there then you don’t stop, people were constantly driving through, in a sense this area was a non-place. Buildings that were once a place of joy and excitement were left to crumble, new buildings that were made for new lives and families, were never finished and like the old left to rot in the harsh weather. Even the church where once you would expect to find hope and light was just an empty shell. This almost derelict town, was still inhabited. What I came to realise that perhaps what both these places have in common is the loss of hope. However, they are very different but they are very similar too. Although the place in the city for escape seems like it is the most depressing, for me it is the one with the most hope. In a city you have people to bounce off, to inspire and to be inspired. However, when returning to the countryside it is easy to feel lost and engulfed by the vast landscape. Although both places contain the same “types” of people, with no doubt different stories there is a sense that these places are hidden away and ignored by the public. When being in both situations there was a strong feeling that I was inside a bubble where anyone would be able to see or hear me. To bring these two small projects together I decided to make a book. I used mixed media to created worn away surfaces and dark colours to represent the gloominess in which both places held. I used white washes to mimmic the way in which shops that have closed down wash out their windows. I also used house hold products such as bleach, tin foil and tea. At the time I didn’t title this project and only now decided to call it “An Unknown Place”.
These last two images emerged by looking outward again and trying to find answers for our existence. For me these images are a clarity for me, after finding out about my cousins death I was unsure how to react. So, I moved my emotions to one side and let my subconscious drive my creativity without me knowing it at the time. This projected started with an introverted boy and has ended with my own reflection.
It seems to me that so much of what I discovered is down to the choices we make and are faced with continually. My sadness at the loss of life, the responses we make when faced with challenges around us, who we ultimately end up being, how we perceive ourselves. These are universal.
If, as suggested by some physicists, there are an infinite number of universes and therefore and infinite number of choices, it is inevitable that we will make these decisions that will bring us to the place that we inhabit now.
In response to this idea i have chosen to call this project ‘Inevitable’. It is after all, all about the choices we make.