She is the wander, rambler, strolling player. Sometimes she would like to be a settler, but, curiosity...and disaffection forbid it.
Swallowing Geography, Deborah Levey
My work focuses on documenting and sharing stories that explore the ephemeral landscape found in streets and urban spaces. With a particular interest in photographing graffiti, sign-painting and street art from around the world.
I fuse together photography and walking to discover alternative ways to navigate and think about places, exploring themes connected to ‘freedom and space’. I use documentary photography within this context to connect with the streets and to record the stories that are written on the walls.
In 2018 I founded Ghost Streets CIC which delivers community arts projects in Birmingham, the UK connected around themes to do with public spaces, identity and community. I have a Masters in Public Health and significant experience of working with communities.
Hand-painted Jamaica - is a documentary photography project that explores the visual landscape of Jamaica through graffiti (daubed scribblings, writings and drawings, sign-painting and street art found across the Island. The original work includes interviews with contemporary sign and mural artists in Jamaica's.
Its is the only photographic survey of the hand-painted walls of Jamaica and led to the first-ever exhibition on Jamaican graffiti, signs, and street art held in the UK in April 2019 called Big Tings A Gwann Down Di Street. The project received support from Arts Council England. A limited-edition zine accompanies the series available here.
Building on this work Tracey is currently working on a new body of photographic work titled Riddym which focuses on the language of the walls linked to Jamaican music and particularly dancehall. The tradition of hand-painting dancehall signs is disappearing across the island and being replaced by inferior printed mediums that lack the rich visuality of dancehall. New work from this series is due to be exhibited later in 2020 and is supported by Arts Council England.
Ghost Signs of Birmingham - is a documentary photography project that has captured the fading old advertising ghost signs found in Birmingham, UK. The signs are more popularly known as 'ghost signs'. Its the only photographic survey of these signs in Birmingham with the earliest ghost sign photographed dating back to around 1860.
A collection of ten mononchrome screenprints were made from the series and were exhibited in The Fading City, in March 2020. Limited edition prints and zine are available to purchase here. The project was supported by Arts Council England.
Big Tings a Gwaan Down Di Street, (April 2019) The Old Print Works, Birmingham, UK.
The Faded City, (March 2020) The Hive, New Standard Works, Birmingham, UK.
Published regularly on Tumblr available at Tracey Thorne