Changing landscapes

Tom Godwin reflects on his Hatching Nest Residency

My hatching residency revolved around an old photograph I found amongst some of my grandad’s possessions of Coventry City centre taken around the ’60s. I was immediately fascinated with the differences to the present day and the idea of changing landscapes and our role in shaping these changes as well as my own personal connection to the landscapes around me. My initial plan was to go into this residency with just this picture and an open mind to take this project in any direction it took me.

My first day was all about settling into my new surroundings, research and of course the first of many communal lunch times. I sat down and made a list of all the potential ways to respond to my focal image. I was really interested in connections between past and present landscapes as well as relationships between natural and man-made. My practice mainly focuses on using experimental photography to create my work and recently I have been experimenting with digital infrared photography so decided this should be a big focal point of my residency. I also wanted to use this residency as an opportunity to push myself to experiment with creating video work which is something I hadn’t really done before, and which felt like a natural next step for my practice.

The New Spires 1

I then started experimenting with all the different ways i could respond to the picture. I started with trying to re create the old film photograph in digital infrared. These two images work really well together mixing past and present in both imagery and process. I was also amazed as I walked around the city centre and compared it to archive pictures how much the new high rise student flats dominated the skyline and towered over prominent landmarks. I decided to photograph as many of these as possible and manipulated them to create a set of three new Spires in contrast to the three Spires Coventry is famous for. I also did a lot of photographing of buildings and places that I felt a personal connection to and that had now become derelict or disused and experimented with how I could use colour to highlight the decline of these buildings and memories. Through all my experimentation the idea of a video piece stuck in my head as a way to tie all these different images and themes together so that’s what I set out to do towards the end of my residency with the help of mentoring in video editing.  

My studio wall filling up with experiments

One of the biggest surprises of the residency for me was how much I got out of working in a studio setting again.  having my own space where I could work all day and fill the walls with research and experimentation allowed me to really immerse myself in the project and resulted in me creating some work I’m really excited about. Being able to chat to other creatives every day was another highlight. I really enjoyed coming down to the communal lunch space and chatting to whoever might be there that day whether it be about my own residency, art, music or whatever random topic was the order of the day. These conversations have definitely been beneficial to the development of my practice, and I look forward to coming back for the third Friday co working afternoons for more.

The final day of my residency was reserved for a mentoring day crash course in video editing, which turned out to be one of the most productive and beneficial for the development of my practice. I was lucky enough to learn from the brilliant Dom of Ludic Rooms who took me through all the ins and outs of video editing working from some footage I had shot previously. It was a bit daunting at first but once I got my head around some of the key aspects it felt like a whole new area of possibilities had opened up for creating my Surreal artistic visions. 

And this is probably the biggest take away I will have from my time as a resident at the nest, not creating a project from start to finish but being able to experiment with new ideas and processes without worrying about the end outcome. This has resulted in creating a series of work which has pushed my practice further and which I’m excited to keep working on after my residency to see where it takes me.


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