Tom Lovelace recalls his first encounter with Maurice Broomfield's industrial photography

Machine Study No.02, from the series Machine Study, Tom Lovelace

Published as part of the featured project

Interval by Tom Lovelace

Pushing on for a decade in the field, Tom Lovelace’s practice has persistently shaken up rigid perceptions of contemporary photography. Though this work centers on the printed image, Tom’s interest in performance and sculpture is never far from sight. Industrial materials, jutting edges and performative experiments underscored by a quiet humour, his visual language is bold and unmistakeable. Here he casts his mind back to a time when it was perhaps more malleable, to recall a pivotal moment in his early artistic career.

Tom Lovelace Machine Studies Store Crop

I was meandering through the Science Museum in London in 2007. Everything I saw felt insignificant. And then I walked into a small exhibition of photographs titled New Look at Industry by British photographer Maurice Broomfield (1916 – 2010). I recall standing in front of around eight to ten large format colour photographs and becoming more and more excited as I moved from one picture to the next. There was a sense of theatre, whilst remaining rooted in the fabric of the real. This was my first encounter with Broomfield's photography and it had a profound effect on me.

Broomfield Assembling a Stator English Electric 1960

As with many things, the timing was important. 2007 was a year in which I was developing the foundations of my practice. I was privately obsessed with the austere landscape of industry and my encounters with utilitarian apparatus and raw materials. Discovering Broomfield’s pictures gave me the push and the confidence I needed to pursue my own work, exploring similar subjects to Broomfield, but in a different way. The world of the workshop and the workaday wasn’t trendy, and it wasn’t spectacular, but significantly it was what I wanted to thoroughly explore with my camera.

Tom Lovelace Machine Studies Red Trolley

Tom Lovelace Machine Studies Machine Study No 05

Broomfield dedicated his photographic output to exploring the nature of post-war, 20th Century British industry. The relationships individuals formed with materials, environments and manufacturing activities was pivotal in Broomfield’s pictures. And this is where our practices connect. The behaviour and language of the man-made, the industrial and the semantics of the everyday have been at the heart of my inquiries as an artist ever since.

Bottling Salad Cream Maurice Broomfield Nick Broomfield

Published as part of
the featured project:

Selected by
Flowers Gallery,
London, United Kingdom

One of the aims is to explore the potential that lies within seemingly basic materials, structures and bodily movement.

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