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Image from Subways and Bridges: Rick Medlock

Image from Subways and Bridges

Life through a lens

A photographer from Coventry has compiled a book of photographs that show the city's subways in a whole new light.

In Autumn 2007, Rick Medlock won the London Photographic Association Gold Award for his images of Coventry's subways, which were taken from Subways and Bridges - the first part his project, Anatomy of an Island.

Hannah Tobin from the BBC Coventry & Warwickshire website caught up with Rick and asked him about his triology of photographic books that look at the city centre of Coventry.

Have you lived in Coventry all your life?

I was born in Leamington Spa. My parents lived in Kenilworth in a disused army hut that was situated where Kenilworth Castle main car park is now situated. We moved to the Whitley area of Coventry when I was three-years-old after my mother discovered a dead rat on my brothers bed.

When and how did you come up with the idea of creating a the project - Anatomy of an Island?

The idea was developed while I was doing my photography qualification at Sandwell College. It formed the final piece of my end of year major project.

The idea came about while working on an idea of filming Coventry's ring road. The original idea was to do a documentary about the people that work on the ring road itself, maintenance crews etc.

Cyclists Dismount image

Cyclists Dismount: Copyright Rick Medlock

As there was no maintenance taking part at the time, I started looking at the underbelly of the ring road, the subways. The shape and form of the area below the ring road gave me the idea of Anatomy, the science of bodily structure and Island, anything in isolation. To look at the structure and form in isolation.

And last year you won the London Photographic Association Gold Award for the first part of the project, Subways and Bridges. Could you tell us a bit more about the competition?

The London Photographic Association (LPA) celebrates the art of modern photography and allows commercial and fine art photographers to show work and market themselves through a recognised industry association.

There aim is to run competitions throughout the year covering the various genres of the medium. They hope that by advertising these in advance and by making a number of them annual events, that photographers will be inspired to develop ideas and create new work - which will obviously benefit them in other areas of self-promotion, exhibitions and sales.

I was unable to get anybody to view or exhibit this body of work in Coventry. Over the years I have found this to be the case. Coventry has such apathy towards its creative locals. So at the last minute I entered it into a competition entitled My Back Yard3 -  My back yard …. the good , the bad and the down right ugly.

What do you consider to be your back yard? Your block? Your neighbourhood? Your town or city? The more expansive of you might even consider it to be the planet we inhabit.

Whichever way you look at it, your back yard is a very personal space – ideal subject matter for the documentary photography. This is an opportunity to comment on the people and places that are important to you, a chance to introduce us to the society, sights, secrets that are very special to your own back yard.

As you can see from the brief it is expansive. Coventry city centre is my back yard, so I entered the images of the Subways. I had received a distinction while at college for this body of work so I new it was good.

I got awarded Gold, which is the top award that they offer. Make no mistake, to have beaten off entries from all over the world is no small undertaking. I was absolutely thrilled.

Do you have a favourite photograph in the collection?

It is hard to pick one particular favourite image out of them all, as depending on my mood it can change. This image (the one at the very top of this page) has had the most comments, as this is how so many of us view the atmosphere in the subway system.

You can view some of Rick's work and find out more about his project by visiting his website:

last updated: 17/06/2008 at 12:14
created: 17/06/2008

You are in: Coventry and Warwickshire > People > Profiles > Life through a lens

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