Click here to see the House of Kings slide show with the Grassy Noel & APE performance.
This new project by Haggerston photographers, and part of the Photomonth Festival 2012, shows scenarios and characters as Giant Billboard Kings in transition back to the streets of an imaginary Kingdom (Hackney).
These three Kings artists (Antonio Mena, Carlos Gonzalez and Mark Stringer) aim to give a bigger dimension to those social issues that are still being repressed.
Antonio Mena was born in Málaga (Spain). There, he worked as a freelance photographer for 20 years, specializing in portraits. Because of the situation in his country, he recently decided to move to London, looking for a new opportunity in the creative world. Now, he is contributing to Hundred Years Gallery as a resident photographer in the photo-studio.
His artwork shows, through powerful portraits, the faces and performances of other artists who, like him, feel themselves to be outsiders – artists who, despite being very well known and important in the borough, are not part of the circle of fame and glamour in the art scene.
Carlos Gonzalez has spent a large part of his life travelling and getting involved with street or radical communities in a cooperative way. Based in London since 2000, he has also chosen to live “his way” while developing his personal photography. He was for some years a Big Issue seller in Marylebone until he was discovered and his work introduced into art galleries, achieving a successful career as a photographer. For Hundred Years Gallery “House of Kings“, he has been selected as a representative of photo documentary, showing that side of our modern society where the gap between rich and poor is growing dramatically wider.
“Since my childhood, I have been searching for alternative lifestyles, travelling extensively, always trying to learn from my interactions with new people and new environments. This way of life led me to photography and my photographic style. It has allowed me to get closer to communities and subjects that are important to me. My approach to photography has evolved in a very particular way, forcing a clearer sense of what I want to achieve: A space where the constellation of all possible meetings and encounters comes alive together.”
Mark Stringer was a nineties Music Press Photographer in London. After years of such a vertiginous job, looking always to capture the “coolest” side of music celebrities, he gave up his work. Since then, he has refused to be part of the glamorous art-world in Hoxton and has continued his personal career as an outsider artist (painting, film-making, writing, photographing…), also contributing with several voluntary jobs in such places as Oxfam and The Foundry, and as a community bus/ambulance driver.
“I consider it entirely appropriate having spent years photographing people that were perhaps not so much Kings but often expected by a media process to appear iconic in someway. I think I have developed a healthy contempt for the media on many levels and was always a bit uncertain as to my role in it, but, fearful as ever about getting above myself, I shall present myself as King of what I do, or did, and suggest an entirely different approach to media issues “. Mark Stringer. London, August 2012.