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Chris Harrison March 4, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in England.
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River Don, Jarrow, England 2011

Chris Harrison (b. 1967, England) received his Masters from The Royal College of Art in London in 1999. His first exhibition was based on his junior school class photo (1978), where he traced everybody including his best friend in jail for murder. His personal work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout Europe. Highlights include “Under the Hood” being selected to represent British photography at Arles and his work on WW1 Memorials in Britain “Sites of Memory” that was part of the show “How we are” at the Tate in London. His monograph I Belong Jarrow was recently published by Schilt Publishing in Amsterdam. Chris is currently the National Media Museums Bradford Fellow in Photography doing a project about the machine his father worked with in his factory job.

About the Photograph:

“This image is from my book I belong Jarrow. I have forgotten the language of my fathers and not yet learned the language of my children. I was born and brought up in Jarrow, a tough industrial town in the south bank of the river Tyne. It’s where I call home. I have lived abroad for more years than I care to admit. My Mother and Father are getting old and moving out of Jarrow, cutting me adrift with now way back. Finally, I have been forced to think about who I am and where I belong. I never wanted to leave Jarrow. I always imagined that one day I would make it my home. I realize now that I can never return. Somehow I traded knowledge of the outside world for some vital piece of me. With this realization, I have returned home in order to try to establish how much of where I am from determines who I am, and to begin to understand why I can’t seem to let go.”

“This shot is of the River Don which flows quietly and when I was younger toxically through Jarrow. When I was a kid the only thing that was ever fished out of the river were bikes and shopping trollies. Now since we are in a postindustrial age we have small fish, Kingfishers, Otter and even Salmon. I find myself struggling with my nostalgia for a harsher time and place. Hopefully, by photographing the places I know intimately I can show something we all instinctively recognize; that, as L.P. Hartley said so eloquently “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.“

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