Will Hooper is a guy who loves his bread. In the series Ten Loaves for a Bungalow Conversion, which first appeared in Gut magazine, the photographer documents a man alone inside a desolate house with just some bread for company – 10 loaves to be precise. Despite the remarkably bizarre subject, Will struggles to remember the inspiration behind the project: “All I knew is that I wanted to have copious amounts of bread on set to use as a focus; a beige, bland thing that we see and eat every day,” Will tells It’s Nice That. His photographs, however, are anything but bland as he masterfully contrasts the setting’s dreariness with absurd humour.
The house’s dated decor and clashing patterns were what prompted Will to use the location as a backdrop. “Two childhood best friends of mine did a really grown up thing and bought a house together, it was a beautifully dilapidated 60’s bungalow conversion in Burnham-on-Sea that had precisely zero coordination between the carpets and the wallpaper; Every wall and floor in each room adorned with a different pattern,” Will explains. But Ten Loaves for a Bungalow Conversion is not just about the laughs. The photographs are also poetic in their own right; a lament about a run-down house that once stood proud with bread being the only remaining sign of homeliness.
Will is a practicing film-maker and originally intended the photographs to be a short film, which accounts for the project’s cinematic style. “I shot some lighting tests on the first day and loved them so much that I scrapped the short and opted to do a photographic series instead,” Will says. The artist had recently watched Ivan Passer’s film, Intimate Lighting, which he explains seeped into the series: “I was completely struck by how little the film was. Normal stuff happening to normal people with clear, unlaboured connections between scenes”. The influence is obvious. Will’s wry but gentle photographic approach can also be traced in Ivan’s masterpiece.
Despite the project’s filmic quality, Will explains that the series has no overriding narrative, “only a sense of one”. In this way, the artist hands the reigns over to the viewer to imagine who the curious character is, what he is doing and how that briefcase can hold 10 loaves of bread…
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