Hackney Wick is increasingly full of art galleries and exhibitions – every week more and more seem to pop up here and there around the area. What’s rather exciting is that in Hackney Wick no-one has any qualms about using the more unconventional spaces to show their work. This is particularly the case with ‘The Finishing Line’, a photography exhibition currently being shown in the charming surroundings of the church of St Mary of Eton, a complex of 19th century buildings accessed through a stone archway on the Eastway.
The images for ‘The Finishing Line’ were captured over the last four years by photographers Ginny Jory and Laura Woolnough, using what some might consider to be rather archaic means – some sturdy medium-format film cameras of the type that used to be popular with professional portrait photographers in years past. The technology is clearly still capable of producing amazing results however, because here they have created very powerful portrayals of 42 athletes, both Olympians and Paralympians, which have been hung on wire barriers set into concrete retainers along the knave of the church to dramatic effect. I have to say that these are some of the best portraits I have ever seen – many are very dynamic, and even those where the athlete is at rest involve striking poses in surroundings that indicate the particular athlete’s field of expertise. If you need particular encouragement to visit, there is a very sweet photograph of a 14 year old Tom Daley sitting on a diving board for you to investigate. Ginny has this to say about ‘The Finishing Line’:
Our motivation [for 'The Finishing Line'] was based on a love of portraiture and film. We met whilst working at a newspaper and trained in photography using film and polaroid, and wanted to used film in this exhibition as it seems to offer more depth in the darker areas of the photos. We also wanted to celebrate all the athletes. Whether they qualified for the Olympics and Paralympics or not, we wanted to feature them to shine a light on their motivation and talent.’
‘The Finishing Line’ will be exhibited at St Mary of Eton until 9 September – it’s just a few minutes walk from Hackney Wick Overground station so very easy to get to. Entry to ‘The Finishing Line’ is free, but of course the church welcomes donations so do give generously.