We’re delighted to introduce you to Anna Sellen, the winner of the Shutter Hub Portfolio Award at FORMAT 2021.
Shutter Hub Creative Director, Karen Harvey, selected Anna’s portfolio which included her projects ‘Bunker Diaries’ and ‘Ground 0’.
This work gives us an insight into the threat of the Cold War, from multiple perspectives, including Anna’s own lived experiences. Underground bunkers, radiation test points, and a whole plethora of other things going on unseen and beneath us until at least the 1990s. This work is fascinating, poignant and important to learn from.
I am thrilled to be the winner of the Shutter Hub portfolio award this year. It’s an honor to have my work acknowledged in this way. This award feels extra special because it came from Shutter Hub whose work is about connecting and supporting photographers to develop their careers and achieve their goals. Shutter Hub is made up of people who value kindness and I feel connected to their approach.
My Bunker Diaries project is work in progress. It is about the nuclear bunker, a real and imaginary place and the symbol of silence, containment and political deprivation. It is also about living through the Cold War times and what the memories of such experiences can tell us about our world today.
It all started with an accidental discovery of a small abandoned Cold War bunker near where I live. I soon realised that many of these bunkers, known as the Royal Observer Corps Monitoring Posts, lie abandoned in the British countryside. These bunkers are hidden in plain sight, just like the unseen and unheard experiences of many families who lived through the Cold War times. From this first discovery, the project has been an enriching experience: I learned a lot about myself and my family history, about other people’s life journeys, and about the bunkers themselves through my artist residency at the Kelvedon Hatch nuclear bunker in Brentwood, near London.
There are many lessons to be drawn from the past crisis. At the heart of this work are the experiences of one Russian family during the Cold War times. As small and largescale events unfold around them, the family members take turns to record their experiences in a diary. The local and global, private and public become enmeshed together raising questions about what is contained, what is revealed, and who is in control. These questions are still relevant today.
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