Profile: Gina Glover
The photographer of military landscapes discusses her background and future
What made you want to be a photographer?
I had trained as a painter in the 60s but I found this a very isolating activity. I realised I wished to communicate and collaborate with people. In the 1980s I jointly founded Photo Co Op, which became the Photofusion Photography Centre in Brixton, London.
Your practice involves taking photographs of abandoned military bases. What drew you to this subject?
As a child I grew up near the secret World War 2 aerodrome, Harrington, which in the late 50s became a nuclear missile base. I now live on part of this site. Over the road from my home is where the Thor Nuclear rockets were housed – the first intercontinental ballistic missile, and during the Cuban missile crisis, these Thor missiles were primed for firing. As a child I had no understanding of this history so it has become my obsession to continually revisit and collect artefacts and stories from neighbouring farmers, who equally share this passion for this wasteland.
My pictures in this exhibition reflect my own changing photographic practice. This began with black-and-white toned photographs, then changed to working in colour and using a pinhole camera. Using long exposures and the layering of light, I can makes images where water or sky can appear to dislodge massive blocks of concrete.
How did you come to exhibit at Street Level Photoworks?
My son was at Glasgow University so I went there whenever I visited him. I met the director Malcolm Dickenson at a Portfolio Review session in Birmingham and showed him this work. I was delighted to be invited to have a show at the gallery and also to have a small residency to include war sites in Scotland.
Can you tell us about your next project?
I have recently visited Kaliningrad, Russia. It is a tiny enclave on the Baltic jutting out between two EU states. The Russians keep much of their military armoury there so a great part of the country is off limits. It used to be Prussia until the carve-up after the WW2. It was the home of the great philosopher Immanuel Kant. So I think the subject matter will be a blend of three things: secrecy, no-man’s land and Kant’s ideas on how we perceive the world. He was also the first person to call for world peace. So that makes Kant the world’s first hippy.
Gina Glover: Playgrounds of War, Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, until Sun 7 Aug.