Linda Lieberman was approached last year by Talkback TV to be featured in an episode in the latest series of “The Apprentice”. Thinking it was one of those funny e-mails she now recollects “I am very glad I didn’t hit the delete button!”
The young freelance researcher and producer Richard Wakefield had found some of her Ocean Fish Series on an international photographers website, and had found the images arresting. Linda says that “to be found in this way is enormously encouraging for any artist.”
The TV producers had felt that the strong ecological issues that Linda was tackling in her black and white photography were a powerful contrast to the work of the other photographers’ who were being considered for the programme.
Linda’s Ocean Series deals with man’s commitment and responsibility to the ocean, our physical connection with water, and our intuitive sense of what is right and wrong.
Linda believes that “if we battle politically around the table about issues like fishing rights, it is the ocean as well as humans who will feel the consequences. All great tribal communities understand the fine intricacies and basic principle of man’s need to remain in harmony with nature.”
The inspiration for her photographic Ocean Series came from her Three Fisherman Sculptures, and will continue to be a lifelong series of work as the ocean holds a passionate ecological concern and an endless personal fascination for Linda.
Linda’s role in “The Apprentice” was to have ready a number of framed photographic artwork images on her Ocean Series from which the teams could chose from. At this time Linda was under pressure, she was not sure if she had enough hours in the day to complete all the work. There was the added disadvantage of not knowing if she would be chosen or not. Linda was also busy with other commitments. “I was off to New York, where I was exhibiting a sculpture in a show, and giving my first ever public talk on my artwork. I would only return two days before filming for the TV programme would commence.”
On the first day of filming, Linda was at her studio early waiting to receive a call from the teams. The first team to visit her, Eclipse, did not chose her work but the second team, Stealth (led by Christina Grimes, who was very strong as a leader), showed great interest in her Ocean Series.
Little did Linda know then was that she was a second choice as both teams wanted the famous photographer Tim Flach’s work. Linda says “thank goodness for me, Christina had felt an empathy with my work.”
The next day Linda was brought back for further filming and interviews, and then that evening was the Opening Night of the exhibition at The Brick Lane Gallery where her images were exhibited alongside Tim Flach’s work.
“I was thrilled to find out that my work was in the same exhibition as the renowned Tim Flach, whose stunning images of horses were so complimentary to my artwork on the ecology of the ocean.”
Christina had put Tre Azam to work on arranging and hanging Linda’s work, while she and the rest of the team attended to Tim Flach’s work and to the details of setting up an exhibition.
Tre had issues with accepting Linda’s work, which Linda understood and respected as it merely confirms to her that “art does not tread an easy path, it’s there to challenge our believe systems, to make us see in a different way and to make us laugh or cry.”
The Stealth team were supportive of her work, but Linda felt without a doubt that Tre’s attitude towards her work gave some extra spice to the programme.
“On the night of the exhibition it was fun to see people spilling out of the gallery into the street, and watching the apprentices working like crazy, but loving what they were doing. Tre did me proud, and sold my work well, but by the end of the evening the bronchitis I’d acquired in New York was burning me up. When I finally got home, it took me a week to get back on my feet!”
Excitement mounted as the date for airing the show drew nearer. Linda could not discuss her part in the show with anyone. “The whole build up and the subsequent waiting until I could officially discuss being in “The Apprentice” was hard to conceal, but the signed confidentiality clause was binding!”
“Watching the show was stressful. I had no idea what had transpired and no idea how I, or my work would be shown or edited. The risk of things being different to how I imagined it was high to say the least! In the end I feel I survived with my work and my dignity intact.”
Linda has recently been asked if she would donate one of the black and white images from “The Apprentice” TV programme for the Norwood Children’s Charity. Tre Azam was the auctioneer of her image Backbone 01. Linda says “apparently he did a fine job, for which once again I thank him.”
“The Apprentice” was certainly one of those offers in life that Linda felt she could not refuse, and feels glad that she did it.