Updated: Dec 17, 2022
Funded by Arts Council England
Interview and review by Marysia Zipser
I recently had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Alfreton based art photographer Tony Fisher, RPS. We met up at Wetherspoons in the Marketplace at Ilkeston, Derbyshire, for a chat and coffee before we walked together to the Erewash Museum to view his current exhibition ‘Only the Lonely’ running until 3 January 2023.
Tony is a very interesting character and I really enjoyed viewing his photography project collection which began in mid-2019 prior to and including lockdowns. It studies feelings of isolation and how we overcome those feelings by creating a sense of community. For Tony, it was a journey of reflection and self-discovery and introduced him to others who had experienced loneliness too, like he had for over 40 years. Exhibited at Artcore, Air Arts Royal Derby Hospitals (Derby), Erewash Museum, Ilkeston (Derbyshire), City Arts Nottingham, Art House Wakefield.
His collection includes both colour and black/white mounted photographs together with two rows of polaroid photos. Produced as a co-production with New Perspectives Theatre TOUCH, Festival of small things, 2021.
All exhibition photos by Marysia Zipser.
He was pleased that he had sold several already. I found myself viewing each one from a few feet away and then peering closely at their subjects, finding them all very engaging and wanting to find out more about each background story.
All the black/white photographs drew me in particularly the ones depicting certain characters like the fire eater behind a window, the lonely park bench, the solitary sculpture with pigeon atop, the lady behind the blue window frame. They make you curious, wanting to question, and alerting all the senses.
His colour photographs speak volumes about his love for nature and the environment. Tony’s background of growing up in the historic village of Riddings, two miles south of Alfreton, displays his fascination with this. He’s always exploring hidden stories with different angles to convey and chasing the light; what’s over the horizon and what’s through the parks, fields and beyond the trees.
His beautiful images of swans together, wintry landscapes, water rippling reflections, solitary buildings and skyscapes make you want to linger, reflect and imagine. Perspectives and abstracts pull you in.
Going back to our earlier conversations in Wetherspoons, I interviewed Tony about his background and what has led him to be what he is today.
I recalled first meeting Tony in April 2017 at ACT’s OUT THERE Exhibition of International Artists at Pete Spowage’s art gallery then located in Byard Lane, Nottingham. He was recommended to visit by my friend, visual artist photographer, Sara Gaynor, who was also exhibiting there as well as being its valued curator. So this was our second meeting face to face.
Tony says his education is mostly garnered from the University of Life. He attended Derby College of Art in 1973 and continued with a Foundation 1974-77 Film & Photography, a linked Derby and Nottingham Trent University collaboration. He was into abstract filming and produced films with New Cinema Workshop for Channel 4 –“ a clearing in the woods” Arts Council Filmmakers on Tour - which took him exploring Devon and Cornwall while using 8-16mm films.
Tony also was invited to screen films and lecture in New York and Boston in the early 1980s; worked on a Stilton Cheese project “CHEESE SNAPS” for Nottinghamshire County Council; Eastwood 1980 for Broxtowe Borough Council, and recently at the D.H.Lawrence Festival 2022.
Presently he is a paid Project Coordinator for the Alfreton Permanent Art Trail for Alfreton Town Council and participating artist. He is also involved in Level Centre Rowsley for a polaroids sound and film project and with a proposed Arts Council development called ‘MONOLITHS’. Certainly a very busy man conjuring and balancing all those organisational creative skills into projects and exhibitions here and far, as well as doing interviews on local radio and for podcasts.
There seems to be a lot of spontaneity in Tony’s life as recently people and old friends seem to be re-appearing out of the blue from times gone past. It must be a nice comforting feeling now for an artist who has battled loneliness for many years.
Black/white photo of Marysia by Tony Fisher
“My photographs capture the moment of life; many are quirky and humorous, emotional, abstract and intense but all have a relevant and significant meaning.”
The exhibition ends 3 January 2023 so I do urge readers to visit from the surrounding localities. For me, driving from Beeston, Nottingham, the journey took just 20 minutes and a public car park is located a few minutes walk away by the shopping precinct.
Erewash Museum: Free entry
High Street, Ilkeston, DE7 5JA
Closed Friday 23rd December to Monday 2nd January - reopens 10am Tuesday 3rd January until 4pm - last day of Tony’s exhibition.
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 10.00am - 4.00pm
During school holidays
Monday to Saturday 10.00am - 4.00pm
Tel: 0115 907 1141 Facebook: /Erewash_Museum Twitter: @Erewash_Museum
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