Chris Hoare: Seven Hills
This week we feature projects that explore the psychological landscape.
At times myths can affect how we view the world around us. The perpetuated fantasies prompted by societal understandings alter how our minds perceive the spaces we engage in. In Chris Hoare’s series Seven Hills, the title of the work is centered on commenting on the myth that Bristol is founded on seven hills. This myth has been created in an attempt to relate Bristol to the flourishing city of Rome. Although very hilly, Bristol feels ideologically distant from the illustrious ‘seven hills city’ of Rome. There are deep-rooted issues that Hoare brings to light through his images. As a native of Bristol, he has seen massive shifts in the center to promote prosperity and in turn, forcing hardship on those who live on the outskirts. An influx of people were drawn to Bristol as it was rated a great place to live, which in turn has forced those who have lived there on the edges to adjust to the overly saturated market. Hoare points to a struggle between those who have and those who do not. There are also horrible myths that have persisted throughout the history of the city, like the glorification of Edward Colston, a slave owner, whose statue did not fall until the height of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.
All of these ongoing myths are present in the image series that unpacks Hoare’s relationship with this city. He has a complicated connection to gentrification and he highlights the areas that are being swept over amidst this large boom. Hoare gives viewers a look at the inside of what is on the outskirts of this rapidly changing city. The place he has called home has always been on the edge of Bristol, and with gentrification sweeping in things are not as prosperous as the myth of the ‘seven hills’ makes it out to be. Hoare also highlights the youths that remind him of his own time growing up in this area. He recognizes that they most certainly do not consider the implications of the tides changing in the city, but he feels it to be a grounding force in his connection to an understanding of the edge of Bristol. He connects deeply with tender portraits of subjects existing within this district, and although he calls attention to some questionable myths, viewers cannot help but feel the admiration shine through his images. Surrounding objects and spaces located on the edge of town convey a sense of heavily lived-in and admired areas while upholding the sense of strife and resistance. There is a complex relationship that arrives in each image teetering between endearment and displeasure.
The complexities of the myths associated with Hoare’s homeland are consistently present within the entirety of this collection of images. He does an incredible job at allowing his attachment to the place and layered sentiments to shine through his photographs. Hoare is an excellent image maker who certainly does justice to the complicated emotional response he has towards his rapidly growing home city.
Seven Hills has recently been published by RRB PhotoBooks.
Chris Hoare was born in Bristol in 1989 and his hometown is the subject for much of his work. He completed an MA in Photography at University West of England and currently at the university as a photography technician part-time. The rest of his time is spent working on long-term projects. Within his personal work Hoare is interested in areas of society that he feels are overlooked in some way, alongside exploring themes of identity and place.
Joe Cuccio is an image maker based in Rochester, NY. His images respond to a variety of arresting moments and harness the movement that occurs as life forges on. Inspiration for him arrives from chaotic and serene emotional experiences. Creating images is his way of highlighting humanity’s fleeting existence. He is an MFA candidate at Rochester Institute of Technology pursuing a degree in Photography and Related Media. His work has been exhibited at Memorial Art Gallery and Soho Photo Gallery. He has also contributed written pieces for Museé Magazine and Float Magazine.
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