The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

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Over the weekend I received a rather wonderful email from the Royal Academy of the Arts. It started with, “We are delighted to inform you” My dear friend I think you’ll find that I am more delighted than you..:-))

Earlier this year I entered Syrrus and Lupestripe having a barbecue in Leeds into the annual Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. I had put in two pictures from the series over the past two years and been shortlisted once, so I thought there was a decent chance of getting into the actual exhibition. Especially seeing as the curator is the artist and sculptor, Grayson Perry and its the big one, the 250th year of it running.

Syrrus, a fox and Lupestripe, a wolf having a barbecue in Leeds, 2017
Syrrus, a fox and Lupestripe, a wolf having a barbecue in Leeds, 2017

These things are always a bit of a lottery so having already been shortlisted, I was a bit overwhelmed and blown away to receive the email that said the picture has been selected.  With that of course it means that the furry project is now at the top table of the art world^^ For those that don’t know the exhibition, it’s possibly the biggest and most prestigious open art exhibition in the world. It opens on June 12th and will be on show until August 19th at the Royal Academy on Piccadilly. Here’s some more information about it https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/summer-exhibition-2018

This is obviously fantastic and furtastic news, especially seeing as At Home With The Furries will be published later on this year and on that note..

At the end of April  I visited the illustrator, Dane Marinkovic and we finished off the sketchbook pages. This extensive section at the back of the book consists of handwritten notes, additional photographs and illustrations relating to all the furries I’ve photographed for the project.  Included is a text from Uncle Kage as well as anecdotes, thoughts and stories from the furries featured.

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For the rest of the book, the design and text is nearly there, last week I finalised the design with Roger Fawcett-Tang from Struktur Design. I am so happy with how it all looks, feels and flows.

Roger also made a miniature version of the book, which really is a thing of beauty.

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The book is being published through the imprint, Stay Free Publishing and as such is now available to pre-order through the website. Rob Clayton is a photographer I’ve exhibited with and he self-published his book, Estate in 2015. Check it out here, copies are still available to buy. We decided to make At Home With The Furries the second book that Stay Free will publish. Stay Free is dedicated to publishing the best British photography projects.

The book will be published in September this year.

Pre-order a copy of At Home With The Furries click here

To buy Rob Clayton’s book, Estate click here

The Royal Academy Summer Show click here

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It’s a furtastic feeling, it’s Friday and the furs are fully funded!

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Yesterday morning (April 5th) just before 8am, the Kickstarter campaign came to an end. It was a very dramatic last week and it finished, I’m pleased and also extremely grateful to report fully funded. There are 205 superb supporters of At Home With The Furries, time for a furry conga…

London Furries Winter Ball

The target I set at the beginning of the campaign was reached early on Wednesday morning, a good 24 hours before the deadline, so this is a double celebration.

A special thanks to all the supporters who not only pledged, but also tweeted, shared and mentioned the campaign to everyone they know. Thanks to you, we managed to get this over the line.  I’ll be writing about the campaign and book plans in more detail over the coming weeks.

In the meantime here’s a few pictures from the beginning of the project, at RBW 2008 to photoshoots, selfies and more. There are some great memories here, shoots with dragons, rabbits, demon lords and bats to name a few.

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If you missed out on the campaign and would like to pre-order a copy of the book, At Home With The Furries, you will be able to do that via Stay Free Publishing next week.

I’ll be talking about the furry project at FFEATURED 15, on April 19th at The Signal in Forest Hill, South East London, tickets available here

In the meantime, connect with me:

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Thanks fur all your support

Tom

Furday update-At Home With The Furries Kickstarter

Straight off the bat, I am so grateful to each and every one of you who have backed, shared and mentioned the At Home With The Furries book Kickstarter campaign so far. This book is about communicating a thought I had nearly ten years ago, I had no idea then that I would be now sitting here writing a blog post about how privileged I am to have this level of support for the project.

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To break it down into numbers, we launched on Tuesday at 8am and since then 67 amazing people have pledged just over £3000, putting us just shy of 33% of the total required to publish the book. The campaign closes on April 5th.

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A sample of the fur being used by Curious Creatures to make the furry slipcases. One of the campaign rewards

It was always my intention to publish a book of the work, and every magazine feature, exhibition, website and press article that has been published in the subsequent years since I started the project helped me along towards that goal.

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From the Absolut Manifesto Festival, Madrid, January 2018

I should add at this point that this project has been and is only possible because I have the support of the furries themselves.  Those who have featured in the book of course,  but also those who I’ve met more widely, through for example social media, sometimes following that up in person at furry meets and conventions. Perhaps furries who have visited from abroad and we’ve met for a coffee, a tea or a pint.

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Shooting the film for the Kickstarter campaign with Syrrus Fox and Lupestripe

The project has grown organically, through being given the nod by furries I had photographed, and other furs I met at meets and on walks. In 2013 when The Sunday Times Magazine featured the project, I had no idea that I was only halfway through at that point. Since then, Saethwr, Fangorn, Rebel, Pazuzu, Bucky, Zepp, Blacksnip, Edward Fuzzypaws and many more furs have allowed me to go to their homes and make portraits of them.

At Home With The Furries

Edward Fuzzypaws, a poodle and Teddy, a labradoodle in their drawing room

There are plenty of great rewards, postcards, limited editions prints, furry tote bags, furry slipcases and of course the book! Check out the campaign here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/466109304/at-home-with-the-furries

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Absolut Manifesto Festival

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Last month I received a lovely email asking me if I would like to be a collaborator to a new music and art festival in Madrid end of January sponsored by Absolut.

They were interested in the furry project and since it hasn’t been shown in a physical space outside of the U.K, I thought why not!

The themes of the festival; equality, love and responsibility to the future resonate with the reasoning and ethics behind At Home With The Furries. Plus they revealed their intention to print eight images absolutely huge. Each one six feet tall, from a scaffold.

There’s also the added excitement of the fact that local furries from Madrid will be in attendance, which is always helpful in bringing the work to life.  We did this with Fix Photo where some of the actual furries in the project suited up for the launch party of the exhibition. The word I received back from attendees was that my work was the best part of the exhibition, I’m not biased honest.

But what are the #furries you ask, what is your project, what the fur is going on?

Read this  and this  and also this

At Home With The Furries

Jester, a sergal and Red, a lion play a game of tabletop roleplay in Sheffield

 

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I’m headlining mum

At Home With The Furries

Zuki, the gargoyle, Milton Keynes

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I’ll be heading out there to see the work in the flesh or the fur, so to speak. Plus I’m also planning to meet with a few local furries to work on some new shoots. Because when in Rome…or Madrid you have to go the whole hog!

The date for your diaries is 26th January 2018 and the event runs from 9pm-1am. Address is: PABELLÓN SATÉLITE
Calle Ferial, 9. Casa de campo.
28011, Madrid.

More information and tickets are available here

At Home With The Furries can be seen here

My Instagram for the latest updates, here

 

 

 

1001 Photographs You Must See Before You Die

My photograph ‘Smirnoff, a husky wolf hybrid’, from the series ‘At Home With The Furries’, will be featured in the new photography publication;

1001 Photographs You Must See Before You Die.

At Home With The Furries

Fittingly for the project, At Home With The Furries, this photograph is the very first picture I took for it. I remember arriving at Smirnoff’s house and after we had a cup of tea, I asked him to (fur) suit up. At that point I was astonished by the costume, the scenario of him being at home and I felt we needed something to ground his character into his surroundings. I also recall my nervousness, mostly from thinking I hadn’t thought this idea through. Afterwards I kept coming back to this image and it became the template for the rest of the project. The thought that, you could have walked into someone’s living room, discovered someone in a wolf suit playing a piano and the response from the wolf to be, “and what are you looking at?”

At Home With The Furries has become so much more than a photographic project, it has been exhibited in London with the furries themselves making an appearance. The furries have become my friends as I traversed the UK meeting them in their homes. I’m pleased that the photographs have appealed to people on so many different levels and perhaps best of all, it has encouraged people to get involved and come to their very first furmeet.

More here: https://tom-broadbent.pixelrights.com/albums/Y8fmkb/at-home-with-the-furries

https://www.murdochbooks.com.au/browse/books/art-design-architecture/photography/1001-Photographs-You-Must-See-Before-You-Die-General-Editor-Paul-Lowe-9781743369494

Info:

Is photography art, documentary, or both? Should images simply reveal the world we live in, or provoke us to think, act, and react?
A visually arresting reference, 1001 Photographs You Must See Before You Die is an invaluable guide to the history and practice of photography. Sweeping through the arts, fashion, society, war, peace, science, and nature, the images in this enticing book are as eye-catching as the commentary is engaging. Some you have seen, others will be unfamiliar, but what all the photographs have in common is their ability to move you, shock you, and open up the notion of what it is to be human.
Organised chronologically by the date that each image was made, and featuring a reproduction of each photograph, the selection provides some fascinating and unexpected juxtapositions. Insightful text uncovers the creative process behind each image, revealing its visual, aesthetic, and historic significance, Why was the photograph taken? Was it set up? What was the intention? How did the world react?
From Fox Talbot to Nick Knight, from Roger Fenton to William Eggleston, and from Cartier Bresson to Diane Arbus, all the photographers featured in this book transgressed the boundaries of the camera with a skill and spirit that helped to develop their field into a highly evocative art form.
In a world where millions of snapshots are taken every day, these exquisite images stand out for their eye-catching content and technical prowess, provoking reactions that range from joy, exasperation, and horror to fascination, repulsion and ecstasy. Uncovering the compelling tales behind the lens, this comprehensive global encyclopaedia reveals how this powerful art form has shaped the modern world.

Published September 7th 2017

FIXPhoto opens with some very special guests

Last Thursday saw the grand opening of FIXPhoto at the Bargehouse on the Southbank , a huge exhibition of cutting edge photography organised by L A Noble gallery with 22 artists showcasing their work including Emily Allchurch, Lisa Creagh, Einar Sira, Robert Clayton and yours truly.

Picture: Neil Massey

The turnout was spectacular and one or two furries made an appearance which went down well. Zuki the gargoyle, Sticks the Fox, Edward Fuzzypaws, Bhavvels Bunny, Quartermane and Kreek put on a performance which people are still talking about. Yes I might have said, ‘explore the four floors of art and photography and have some fun’

Picture: Neil Massey

Outside the gallery. Picture: Neil Massey

 

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Looks familiar! Bhavvels Bunny with well…himself. Picture: Neil Massey

 

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Sticks, Zuki and Bhavvels in the gallery with Ed Thompson’s The Unseen project behind them

 

Here are all the details for the exhibition, which usefully has a coffee shop and bar on the premises.

http://www.lauraannnoble.com/fixphoto/

The writer David Secombe wrote about the exhibition on the London Column here. Here’s an excerpt: “A nod to Lewis Carroll isn’t inappropriate, given that the furry domain shares some of the dreamy charm, transformative power and moral complexity that he represents. That seems obvious enough. But the image of the stag invokes the iconography of the pre-civilized mind and a time when woods were feared and venerated. This stag is a forest god; one that might be worshipped as part of the sacred, time-honoured rituals of Summerisle

The exhibition closes on Sunday, the 22nd at 8.30pm.

The work is on sale as editioned signed prints, framed and unframed.

Thanks to Zuki, Bhavvels, Albrecht, Pickle, Edward and Sticks for the wonderful support.

 

 

 

 

Fundraiser for Stuart Pilkington

I came across this fundraising page for the photographer, curator and all-round good guy, Stuart Pilkington to aid him in his recovery from a severe stroke in September. Those who know Stuart well have set it up, I can’t claim to be one of them although we have tweeted a few times. Essentially photographers are putting up prints of their work for sale in an auction format with the highest bid being paid by the buyer direct to the fundraising page.

The photographer or print owner pays for the production of the print and shipping, so Stuart receives the entire bid, whether it’s £50 or £500.

I put up Fangorn, the Jedi tiger and it sold for £50 to the gallery owner, Laura Noble. Not bad for a limited edition, signed print with a certificate of authenticity.

Fangorn, a Jedi tiger sits in his living room, Swansea From the series" At Home With The Furries" Throughout the year furries dress up in costume or fur-suit inspired by anthropomorphic characters from cartoons, comic strips, myths and videogames. The people inside the suits are by day computer programmers, engineers, mortgage brokers, lecturers even fursuit makers. Most furries have an affinity with animals but some also like to role-play or fursuit for fun. Over the course of a few years, I gained the trust of the furries in the UK and some of their members allowed me to visit them at home, these photographs were taken all over the country. Contact tom@tombroadbent.com for licensing rights

Other work up for sale includes a quite beautiful image by Jock Sturges, which is receiving bids of around $1000 at the moment.

Laura Noble herself has put up a photogravure by the acclaimed photographer, Erwin Blumenthal, starting bids of £75 for that.

Naomi Harris has donated a print from her series, Oh Canada of a Sikh motorcycle gang from Vancouver. Highest bid is £75 currently.20NH2012Sikh Motorcycle Club Vancouver BC

 

The auction is on a public Facebook page here, so have a look and make some bids for some Christmas presents or if you’re a photographer donate a print and get involved.

For me, it’s wonderful to see the photo community rally round and help out one of their members who is slowly getting back on the road to recovery.

Links:

The Just Giving Page: https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/stuartpilkington

The Facebook Print Auction: https://www.facebook.com/groups/stuartpilkingtonfundraising/