In this edited excerpt, photographer Sarah Pickering talks about two series from her Aperture monograph: Fire Scene and Incident, made during her residency at the UK Fire Training College. For Fire Scene series, Pickering shot in "Burn Units" used for training purposes and she explains her interest in depicting a suspended yet cyclical moment of the blaze. She also reveals how these units are "socially coded", meticulously recreating a working class environment.
On Incident, Susan Bright describes this series in black and white as the most "explicit" presenting charred remnants of fake urban settings after the scenario fires had been put out, including traces of human bodies. Pickering agrees and speaks about her distress working in these spaces that appear both tragic and "aesthetically compelling". Pickering also touches on her choice to print this series on a mat paper which has more texture as she is interested in the photograph as an object.

The full version of this talk is available on vimeo and on our multimedia section, divided in five different clips.

This conversation between photographer Sarah Pickering and independent writer, lecturer, and curator Susan Bright, took place March 31, 2010, on the occasion of the publication of Pickering's first monograph: Explosions, Fires and Public Order. This monograph brings together four of Sarah Pickering's photographic series which collectively present a visually arresting glimpse into the secret world of civil defense.

Sarah Pickering (born in Durham City, England, 1972) finished her MA in photography at the Royal College of Art in London in 2005. She is the recipient of several awards, including the Photographers' Gallery Graduate Award and a Jerwood Award. Pickering has exhibited internationally and in the UK where her work was part of How We Are: Photographing Britain, at Tate Britain co-curated by Susan Bright.

Susan Bright is well known internationally for her contributions to the photographic world as commentator, exhibition curator, and author. Previous posts include Assistant Curator of Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, London; Curator at the Association of Photographers, London; and Acting Director for the MA photography course (Historic and Contemporary) at Sotheby's Institute, London. As an author, Bright is best known for Art Photography Now, published by Thames & Hudson and Aperture.

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