Interview: Charlie Hillhouse

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Charlie Hillhouse is an Australian based image maker, working across video, photography and printed forms. He enjoys exploring the everyday to find new possibilities.

From 16 to 22 April 2018 Charlie shared some of his snaps on our Instagram @inresidenceari.

Interviewed by Isabel Hood


Isabel Hood: You were introduced to us a multidisciplinary creative, in terms of video, photography and printed forms. How does your experience of working from print to digital shift - if at all? Are there preferences to either two?

Charlie Hillhouse: I kind of view it all as one. Print and digital are more comfortable for me technically, so it has been exciting and challenging to move into the moving image space. I think I will always fall back onto photography though as it’s where I started.

IH: Working across each of these various mediums requires a fair bit of practice and knowledge. Have printing, publishing, photography and film all been a self taught activity or from a more traditional education process?

CH: I studied photography at university, but everything else I have pursued out of interest. However, I think they are all pretty connected and mostly the same principles apply across all the mediums. I think the hardest part in most things is the doing part. Making everything happen.

IH: Your 2017 photos seem to be documentations between Japan and Australia. Do you find certain creative liberties or different approaches to your work according to either location?

CH: I wouldn’t necessarily say a different approach, but place is incredibly important. It’s really hard sometimes to describe why somewhere feels right at the time, but it just can, and that small thing can flow on to create a whole new set of possibilities and ways of thinking about everything. So I guess that is a kind of creative liberty.

2 Kurokawa buildings

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IH: One of the photos you shared with us was located at the Kurokawa buildings. Are you able to map out the locations of the rest of the photos you shared with us during your takeover? Does the anonymity of place play an important part in your work?

CH: The anonymity of place in not important to the photographs, and at the same time I think it’s not always tied to the accuracy of location. I think location somehow places weight on certain images, clouding its significance, when it should be read on its intention.

IH: We observed images of fences, scaffolding and railings during your takeover. Is there an attraction to industrial/urban environments in your photography?

CH: I love it :) I’m really interested in looking at how we as people have created cities and our built environment. From how something was intended, to the actuality of living. I have been really fascinated with train lines. I think they typify this idea, the architecture and space around them. It is this perfect blend of human functionality, aesthetics and the playfulness of the unintended.

IH: Do your explorations into the everyday have derisions from a dérive-like experience? By that I mean the act of meandering through a city, allowing yourself to be drawn by certain terrains and ambiences from the built environment and, in your case, documenting this psychogeographical journey via photography or film.

CH: That’s a nice idea and it is close, but usually I think about it as a kind of meditation for me or from a Japanese concept called Yutori. Yutori is defined as elbowroom; leeway; room; reserve; margin; allowance; latitude; time, but it’s applied to everything and more accurately called a spaciousness for living. It is a really wide term and can be applied to almost anything - like intentionally arriving at your destination early or the correct feeling of space between the person next to you on the train. But Yutori is also described in relation to poetry as “You don’t have to explain it. You don’t have to paraphrase it. You just hold it, and it allows you to see differently.” This is what I think about - or try not to think about when I am photographing.

IH: During your 2017 photo series, is the absence of individuals in your photos intended?

CH: It’s not intentional or unintentional, it just seems to be the way it happens most of the time. Maybe 2018 will be filled with people.

IH: Can you let us know about any upcoming shows or projects?

CH: Recently I have been working on a few film projects, so hopefully I can talk about that in the near future. I have also just completed a bag for Outer Space which will be exciting to see out in the world.


See more of Charlie Hillhouse's work on his website here. Stay up to date with takeovers by following @inresidenceari on Instagram.