Hannah Starkey

Butterfly Catchers
1999 c-type print 122 x 152 cm

Hannah Starkey focuses in her recent works on inhuman conditions within constructed social and urban life surroundings. The exact construction of the photographs reminds on film staging and film production processes, with the difference that Hannah Starkey concentrates the story in one picture.

Hannah Starkey‘s “Butterfly Catchers” shows two teenagers catching butterflies on a rubbish tip – a staged photograph reconstructing an everyday scene, and stylised as on a film-set. The setting for this leisure activity is a drab suburb where the young people‘s playground is designated as a rubbish tip. Rubbish occupies open spaces, defines the “natural” environment and determines the quality of non-life enjoyed by the marginalised social classes.

The young people seek in the rubbish some element of nature, or an apparently unattainable aesthetic object. In the midst of the dumping-ground of consumerism, the quest for butterflies is a metaphor for the quest for happiness – hard to capture, especially for non-privileged youth in this desolate environment.