Wendy McMurdo’s work explores the now ubiquitous nature of technology, computers, and simulation in children’s lives, using digital techniques to edit her work in a way that reflects this. She has crafted a body of work which charts the assimilation of technology into young people’s lives, what this means for them, and how they view themselves.
Wendy initially trained to be a painter at the Edinburgh College of Art. Her attention turned to photography after she encountered photographers such as Cindy Sherman during a postgraduate study year at the Pratt Institute in New York. Following an MA at Goldsmiths College, London, Wendy was awarded with a fellowship from The Henry Moore Foundation, during which she first worked with a computer and the key theme of her work was born. Girl with Bears, Royal Museum of Edinburgh (1999) is arguably her most famous photo from her time shadowing school parties on visits to museums. It explores the way children engaged with the museum in the face of increasing simulation. This theme continues in Let’s Go to a Place, which coincided with the rise of Pokémon Go, a location-based game. Wendy was fascinated by the dual existence of players in the real world and the imaginary one.
Wendy examines this combination of worlds further in Indeterminate Objects (classrooms) by combining traditional photography with digital animations; in the series, geometric forms overlay traditional Victorian classrooms. The work was inspired by young people’s obsession with immersive digital environments such as Minecraft and Fortnite. Wendy also has extensive experience in teaching and assessing; she was a lecturer at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, from 1990 to 2002 and an External Assessor for Central St. Martins in 2015, among other positions. Currently, she is the Module Leader for MA Photography at Falmouth University.
By Briony Taylor