These photographs represent multi-denominational ‘Prayer Places’ all of which are located in the London borough of Hackney. They are taken with a simple pinhole camera - a wooden box with a small hole at one end that allows the light to enter. Hunter inserts large format colour transparency film into this device from which prints are subsequently made.
Magdalene Keaney is Curator of the Fashion Space Gallery at London College of Fashion says of the work “Tom Hunter’s photographs remind us of the cultural and spiritual diversity to be found within our own local environs, in this case specifically within Hackney. They are another layer of a rich portrait that he is progressively building and extending with each new body of work undertaken in the area over two decades. It was important to Tom Hunter to continue working in Hackney and furthermore to find and interpret spaces removed from the increasingly pervasive commercialization and sanitization of his community neighborhood through ubiquitous property development driven on by economic greed… That these are much valued and frequently used gathering places for local communities is also pertinent to consider at a time of global crisis and conflict associated with extreme religious belief.
… Tom Hunter’s pictures are physically without worshipers, but could there be something of the residue of prayer picked up as tangibly as light seeping into his camera? There is a softness to the images, particularly around the rounded edges of each frame which comes from the pinhole technique but which also gives the images the assumed quality of a religious or ecstatic vision. This again relates Tom Hunter’s ongoing interest in Renaissance art where for instance, a painting by Caravaggio would hang in a church and itself becomes an object of devotion and inspiration. The circular inclination of these images is inviting, and it seems to me in standing before his images Tom Hunter wishes us to forget our worldly troubles and concerns and enter each place of worship with him. His photographs encourage contemplation though one is not in the physical space itself.”