At Home with the Furries - Tom Broadbent
Location: ‘Platform 2’ - Colwyn bay Railway Station
Open: Monday 7th October - Sunday 20th October // Time: 24/7
Spanning his ten-year engagement with the British furry fandom subculture, Tom Broadbent’s At Home With The Furries takes a fluffy, scaly and feathery peek at a community of people who happen to identify as animal characters.
All the photographs are taken in the furries’ homes, gardens and favourite local haunts. A selection of images will pop-up along Platform 2 of Colwyn Bay Railway Station for the duration of the festival fringe.
Tom’s work communicates a feeling of empathy and camaraderie with his subjects. Exploring the relationship between each character and the fursona they inhabit, he describes a keen responsibility to tell their stories in a respectful and honest way:
‘The pictures only start the process of understanding what this subculture is about. It is in fact a collaboration, a trust between me and the furry. That relationship and the importance of maintaining that bond may go some way to explain how protective I am of the project and the furries themselves.’
Kinship is found through a shared, improvisatory approach to life that goes beyond the costume. Congregating online on websites and at furry meets and conventions all over the world, furries are unlike any of their cosplay brethren. Almost always invented by the wearer, every fursuit is unique.
On one level, Tom’s work is gently humorous, but never mean-spirited. We are invited to share in the fun, or if so inclined, to explore more deeply.
Reasons to be a furry vary widely:
– ‘I always knew I was different. Spiritually you might feel you’re a cat or a dog. By dressing up you’re replacing that’, says Lupestripe, a wolf
– ‘I just wanted to be able to turn into a hawk’, explains Akil Tawnybird, a gryphon
– and ‘You get to act the daft’ notes Alfa Fox.
Just over a year ago Tom successfully launched a Kickstarter crowdfunder campaign to turn ‘At Home With The Furries’ into a book. Featuring 29 colour plates the book contains an essay by Laura Noble of L A Noble gallery and a text by Uncle Kage, the chairman of Anthrocon, the world’s biggest furry convention in Pittsburgh. It even has a furry cover!
Stocked in The Tate Modern and Photographers Gallery the book can also be ordered directly from Stay Free Publishing HERE
Tom Broadbent b. 1974 is a freelance photographer living in London. He works in the fields of editorial and commercial photography and pursues his own major projects around identity and belonging.
He has been published in 1001 Photographs You Must See Before You Die, The Sunday Times Magazine, Wired and Featureshoot and has been exhibited in the UK and Europe.