Claire Hughes’s photographs do not make for easy viewing. These are pictures which absorb light, or emit darkness. They present us with a claustrophobic space that excludes any sense of a world beyond the confines of its own oppressive interior. Although some aspect of their subject may appear familiar – children, a young couple, the self-conscious posing of adolescent girls – these images will never sit alongside smiles and birthdays in a family album. They display a domesticity of an altogether different order, where infants emerge from shadows entranced by the flickering glow of a solitary candle and an ownerless arm reaches for its gun. This is a world that we perhaps would rather not see, a suffocating arena in which we cannot help but sense a threat, something askew, a tension and an as yet unplaceable presence which shrouds the domestic in a feeling of disorder.
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Published in Photoworks Issue 5, 2005
Commissioned by Photoworks