The Hepworth Wakefield presents the first major survey of British photographer Hannah Starkey, tracing the development of her work across two decades.
Throughout her career, Starkey’s meticulously choreographed photographs have determinedly engaged with how women are represented in contemporary culture, an issue which is now centre stage.
Starkey reveals women in moments of private reflection, alienation or social interaction that might otherwise go unseen: a woman fleetingly fascinated by another woman’s reflection, or the attentive gaze of a mother carrying her child. Meanwhile, the large scale of her images suggests the recording of a monumental event. She is also witness to the powerful presence of women in our cities, from those she encountered growing up in Belfast to women and girls at recent street protests in London. On display will be photographs from Starkey’s graduation show in 1997 that immediately brought her widespread acclaim, through to a newly commissioned body of work created with young women in Wakefield in 2022.
As part of this project, Starkey worked with a group of early career female and non-binary photographers born or based in Yorkshire to consider the issues facing emerging practitioners and support the development of their work. This resulted in an exhibition at The Art House, entitled Reframing, Reclaiming which ran October 21, 2022 – January 8, 2023.
Out of their conversations, concepts for images for the Wakefield commission were realized. Starkey worked closely with female students from Wakefield’s CAPA College – a flagship institution providing opportunities for young people in the region – to produce four major new works taken in locations across in Wakefield.