Slept Bad But Photography Mad: Viewing David Hurn’s Archive

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Jake Griffiths interviews documentary photographer David Hurn as a collection of his archive joins National Museum Cardiff for the Swaps exhibition.

I had a headache, bad back, twisted belly, arm bruises and was running on 3 hours sleep. I got up and listened to House of Pain in the shower. It didn’t make me energetic, it made me more tired. I got to the station, hair still wet while the radio blared Blurred Lines.

1. it is 2017
2. It didn’t help my head
3. …!

I got to the museum with more sweat on me than skin. I got upstairs. The speeches had begun, I sauntered in with my fly undone. I was ready for photography.

Picture by Tracey Paddison

The pained ideology that follows the exploration of presenting photography is the double dipped voyeurism. We are watchers of a moment played and watched before. It is a part of my view that we should live in the now. I do accept that living in another person’s grasp of a lost now is rewarding. We are onlookers of the dancing of life, passers-by without thought. We find love in the lens that stops time, it shows us the beauty of the normality of life. It came to my conclusion that my favourite movies are documentaries, my favourite books are autobiographies. So I would find it powerful to ruminate in a room of reality.

You can listen to my chat with David Hurn here:

I went for lunch with him and other folks from the event. We spoke about the future of photography and what our generation can do. We came to the conclusion that we need more independent spaces for artists to be presented. A testing ground for the inexperienced to become more comfortable.


Picture by Ffoton Wales

I had a halloumi burger with fat chips, it was great. Not too heavy for the weather.

I killed an hour by eating mango, drawing and watching an old man eating a sandwich without noticing that the contents were falling on his leg.

6 pm – The Launch

I feel distant. It is the nature of evenings of free wine and empty conversation. I understood that I would never get near anybody whose words would benefit my article, so I accepted my fate.

I spoke to some folks, ate some crisps and drank some fizzy elder-flower water (not so good) and legged it.


If you would like to see the extensive archive of David Hurn then go to the National Museum Cardiff from September 30th till the future. This is a permanent part of the museum that will change every six months.

It is a powerful, endearing and beautiful array of the tongue and cheek, the pained realism and the unbelievable. His mind is presented through his beloved choices and we are blessed with the possibility of experiencing it.


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