Mia Hunt

Ambiguity in Analogue

Taking, sharing, showing, looking… images are a process.  The images here are part of a body of work that aims to open up both photography as a research practice and the matter of shops in London.

Photographs illustrate.  Sure.  But how might they exceed representation to illustrate an analysis and way of doing?  How might they see space as unfolding and leave open its possibilities?  By acknowledging the agency of place, and working in empathy with it, space and things become participants in the photographic practice and come alive.

Images are often judged as portrayals. This is hard to escape.  Here I have complicated this relationship of seeing and knowing with a pin-hole camera.  This analogue device is unpredictable; the shutter is opened by hand; there is no viewfinder; the film is manually wound.  As seen, the images are blurry and warp intriguingly.  The process welcomes uncertainty.

The images might signal that we are looking at something different.   They evoke textures and feeling of place, but also reveal them as unknowable.  The images capture the passage of time, the flow of the city, and the animation of things.  I too am here, in the unsteadiness of my hand and the immediacy of my body as I capture a world, not with my eye through a viewfinder, but with my hands.

These images emerged from a practice of working with place.  They evoke not only the shops’ complexity, but also the feeling of doing research.  Research needn’t be crisp and ordered, linear and digital – mine was blurry and intuitive, ambiguous and analogue.


These images are drawn from a visual ethnography that formed part of my doctoral research undertaken with Philip Crang at Royal Holloway, University of London.  I currently hold a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto.  Although my work has drifted from the complexity of everyday shops, I am still concerned with how everyday matter, practices, and vernacular creativities intersect with forces of the city.

Mia Hunt’s work will be published in the Summer 2016 issue of GeoHumanities

Hunt, M. (2016). A Politics of the Urban Ordinary: The Material Ad Hoc-ness of Shops in London. GeoHumanities, 2(1), 255-275. doi:10.1080/2373566X.2016.1158043

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