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Talking ArtSuccess story featuring photographer Hania Farrell
2016 was certainly a surprising year for PhotoX juror Hania Farrell, as several of her recent works gained recognition through exhibitions, honourable mentions and awards, including the ArtGemini Prize
for Photography and Digital.
Her series Helix, and especially the homonymous photograph, transformed from a commission to document the staff at Helix Shipping & Technical Services Ltd.’s headquarters in the East End, into the starting point of a broader research portraying the everyday ambience of iconic workplaces within British heavy industries.
The project aims to positively question the highly skilled workforce’s identity, while addressing global issues like industrial legacy and sustainability, in terms of both human and ecologic capital.
In particular, the series Helix comprises images of highly cinematic quality, shot with no stage directions, meant to investigate disappearing professions associated with British maritime tradition. It draws attention to the shipbuilding industry’s intangible remains through unusual portrayals of a workplace where space itself becomes a sitter amongst the company’s founder and employees.
This transformation from documentary commission to artwork, occurred as a response to an open call for ‘Of the Sea’, Chatham's biennial. Helix (from the series: Helix) was selected to feature in the exhibition, and for its conceptual relevance it was awarded the Dockyard Prize. Hania was shocked and over the moon as the unexpected announcement was made at the opening evening!
A couple of months later, Helix (from the series: Helix) brought more good news to the studio, actualizing one of Hania’s career goals - a few years ahead of schedule - by means of an e-mail from the National Portrait Gallery revealing the image had been selected amongst over 4300 entries by 1842 international photographers.
It is truly a dream come true for Hania to have one of her portraits hanging on the walls of a major national institution, as part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.