In 1998 London-based artist Tom Hunter was awarded the John Kobal Photographic Prize for Woman Reading a Possession Order, an image of a young woman standing at a window reading an eviction notice with a baby at her side. The photograph is part of a series of work that features the community of squatters in Hackney with whom Hunter is familiar, and which he titled Persons Unknown. Directly referencing Vermeer’s A Girl Reading at the Open Window through composition, color, and play of light, Hunter produced an image that, as with Vermeer’s represntations of the Dutch working class, ennobles his subjects. Hunter’s concern with the political issues surrounding the rights of squatters, travelers, and other outsiders is consistently reflected in his choice and treatment of his subjects.
With his eye for the unusual and exotic in everyday life, Hunter succeeds in capturing striking, remarkable snapshots of life in Great Britain today. ❚