Robert Hackman’s Matchbox Gallery is an unusual and rather clever promotional tool. While many photographers in Arles were lugging around laptops, box portfolios of prints and ‘dummy’ books with business and postcards at the ready, Hackman was carrying a pocket-sized solution. A matchbox sleeve containing small cards featuring his Bunker Albania series “examining the reuse of these bunkers today”. (From his website: Albania’s ruling communist regime built 700,000 military bunkers as a defence against invasion). His Matchbox Gallery functions as a way of introducing his work and also allows people “to look at it at leisure” – something gallerists, publishers and editors may well appreciate at busy festivals. Hackman wanted to make an impression, “especially in Arles where people are seeing so much work” and created a Victorian sleeve design so as to “relate it to things that are collectable; to evoke a feeling and perception of those times”. However, the mini gallery doesn’t replace having a portfolio of prints – it piques interest and allows for a follow up.
Most of Hackman’s work is shot in Albania – he has worked there for a number of years and is married to an Albanian journalist with whom he collaborates on projects. Two of three photographs he submitted to Foto8’s second annual Summer Show have been selected and will be on show at the Host Gallery, London for its 2009 Foto8 Summer Show Opening Night Party on Friday 25 July. Gallery manager Harry Hardie gives a sneak preview of the hanging of the show on the Host Gallery Blog. The summer show runs from 25 July – 8 September. One of the images is from a series, Energy and Chaos, shown here, while the other is from an on-going personal project focused on Roma culture.