Ken Warpole – Interview

To contextualise my exhibition I want to include a short written piece to sit alongside the visual images. When researching for my research project I was aware of the collaboration between photographer Jason Orton and writer Ken Warpole which resulted in the book ‘350 miles an Essex Journey’.

After an initial email and telephone call we arranged that I would Ken at his home at 11:00am on the 29th May.

In preparation I took my notebook, the long selection of 6x4in prints, an invitation for the exhibition and a copy of Ken’s book.


Outlined my back story and the drivers for the project.

Ken explained when he first met Jason – Thurrock advertising campaign that brought together photographers, writers and other artists.

Jason was commissioned in 2005 by Essex Council for a project on the coast. The images Jason created did not fit with the expected outcome of Essex Council. Ken believes the were expecting candy floss and images of people enjoying the piers.

Jason approached Ken to create a written piece to tell the story of the images created by Jason. Ken replied that he could not do that in a pice less than 8000 words.

Ken and Jason visited the locations where Jason had created the images. Ken reference the way John Berger and Jean Mohr responded to each others work as the way he wrote based on Orton’s images. He spoke eloquently about the process of ordering and structuring the book.

Warpole and Orton collaborated on second book ‘New English Landscape’.

Warpole proceeded to look through the prints I brought asking me questions about the colour of the landscapes. I explained that by using the blue hour I had created a melancholy feeling to the images to describe my feelings about the process of redefining the relationship between the UK and the other member states of the European Union.

Ken’s wife joined us for the remainder of the interview. We discussed work and collaborating with other artists. Ken’s wife explained how she has collaborated with a musician to put her images from the Lee river into a video piece that was shown at the end of the 2012 Olympics as part of the arts programme.

I explained further details about my plans for hanging the work and that I still need to start the creation of the written piece. Ken kindly provided some advice on how I could go about creating the piece. He suggested I start by creating a list of the key words that the piece needed to contain which he felt would give me a head start in the creative process.

He volunteered to read my draft once it was created and provide me with feedback.

Based on the outcome of my exhibition at 5th Base Gallery they suggested that it might be good to approach Focal Point in Southend-on-Sea to exhibit the work.

I thanked Ken and his wife for their hospitality and kind words. I can now no longer procrastinate about the creation of the text for the exhibition all excuses for further delay have been exhausted.


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