Moira Lovell

Artist, Lecturer / academic

Moira Lovell is an art photographer working with staged documentary portraiture. Underpinning her practice is an investigation into the threshold between how we think we appear and how we are actually perceived by the camera. Lovell's exploration of this in-between space has lead her to work with a variety of communities such as school themed clubbers, female footballers and former coal miners.

In the series The After School Club (2006/7) young women, whom she photographed whilst wearing provocative schoolgirl outfits in themed nightclubs, are returned in daylight to their secondary school gates in similar revellers garb. The resulting photographs of the club-wisened alumni are oddly comic, but there is a more powerful feeling of pathos, nostalgia, and the acid tinge of naivety corrupted and exploited.

Stand Your Ground (2008) commissioned by Pavilion features the Doncaster Rovers Belles women's football team and the relationship between the players and their male coach. This double portrait series offers a wry view of team relations, compounded by the use of a soundtrack of the touchline directions from the coach, in a crucial match against the Arsenal women's team. Apparently gentle portraits again become uncomfortable examinations of gender and power.  

We Still Stand (2009/11), supported by the National Media Museum Photography Bursary, is an aftermath photography project which explores a seminal event in the history of British industry and politics - the 1984/5 Miners Strike, a near civil war that left an indelible mark on the nation's consciousness. Lovell has photographed individuals and groups of former coal miners and comrades at night on the sites of their former colliery and picket grounds 25 years after battles were fought and lost. The photographic encounters build an uneasy portrait of something 'that-has-been'.

Performing Tourism (2013/14), feature tourists in situ, positioned in front of the monuments where they were found. They speak unabashedly of the time they are made. This is partly due to the clothing they adorn and partly due to the corporeal experience of selfie making - standing still, displaying oneself in a condition of stasis, with an arm stretched out, addressing the camera with intense concentration. Clearly signifying the early twenty-teens, an age when cameras converged with phone technology.Yet, my sociology does not present a truthful representation of a specimen uncovered in the field. These images have been manipulated. The device at which the subjects intently gaze has been removed. By turns the tourists appear at once absurd, sculptural and performative.

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Location London &, Yorkshire