University: Edinburgh College of Art & London College of Communication
Graduation: 2008 & 2014
Statement: Nothing is Impossible Under the Sun brings together drawing, writing, conversation transcripts and photographs collected over two years working with migrants and refugees in Calais. Rejecting the linear narrative so often required of refugees, this playfully designed book presents an important, complex and negotiated alternative to mass media representations of those without documents.
What university did you attend and when did you graduate? I graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2008. I then completed an MA in Photography at London College of Communication, graduating in 2014.
What is your favourite photobook by another photographer? It's difficult to select just one. Maybe Paloma al Aire by Ricardo Cases.
Direction: I had been through a whole range of dummies, one of which had been shortlisted for the MACK First Book Award and I was considering self publishing when Sound of a Picture (a publishing collective based between Glasgow and Malmo) offered to fund the project. We've dealt with the practicalities and distribution together. They arranged launches at Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow and at Breadfield in Malmo. The exhibition in Malmo just closed.
Considerations: I always planned this project as a book but I exhibited it several times first. The book format brings together a range of richly varied materials (handwriting, Facebook photographs, drawings, negotiated portraits) in a way that gives the viewer some structure while allowing enough space for them to make their own connections. The project is evokes a separate space where logic doesn't apply and the book facilitates that. The book is singer sewn, card bound and lightweight, a bit like a note book. It was beautifully offset printed by Narayana Press.
Interior: There is a smaller text booklet of thinner paper bound into the centre. The text is transcripts of conversations I had with people, sometimes discussing photographs, sometimes discussing dreams, sometimes questioning what I'm doing. It's really important to the project. The book also contains two loose prints, which slide between the pages and fall out easily, temporary and transient. Similar images are repeated occasionally to give you the sense that you may have been here before. The book begins and ends with the sea.
Inspiration: I was thinking about Waiting for Godot a lot when editing and sequencing. I was interested in the suspension of logic and the endless awful repetition. I love Julien Germain's book about football and Wendy Ewald's work with children around their dreams. The most important thing I read was Abigail Solomon Godeau's Inside/Out, where she suggests: 'might it...be the case that a photographic practice that affirms its own implacable exteriority yields a certain truth of its own?'
Advice and Future Goals: Self Publish be Happy have a great guide to self publishing that I only encountered once I'd already done it. I did quite a lot (and probably could have done more) of speaking to booksellers before making any decisions. They were all really friendly and helpful. My future goal is to try to expand the strategies I started developing while working in Calais in a different context. I'd love to make work in Scotland, where I live and am working on setting up a long term project in a prison. And I'm doing much more moving image work recently.