This interview was created in collaboration with #PHOTOGRAPHY Magazine and their brand new issue | The Europe Edition. To read the magazine in full, follow this link.
University: Blackpool & the Fylde College
Statement: Exploring the intersection of place, identity and memory and the connection we feel toward our immediate physical surroundings, gives us a sense of place, a particular experience that occurred in a particular setting. These experiences can be feelings of joy or excitement, the feeling of stimulation, or they can be negative feelings of embarrassment, neglect or humiliation.
Place identity is attachment in terms of emotional or symbolic meanings that are assigned by an individual. The physical landscape or place becomes part of a person’s self-identity.
From childhood to adult life we are exposed, through our upbringing, to many different things, the landscape being one of the core things. Be it through positive or negative associations, pieces of the places we leave become memories in our minds. Our attachment to these places in which we exist can be perennial. Yet, when we revisit those once-familiar places, we can sometimes return to a different reality. The leisure activities and past times we endure throughout our lives shape the people we become, through the experiences we have and the way we interact.
How would you consider your work to portray the familiar? Recently I decided to document the place I grew up and document the places I spent my youth. These were familiar places I had not seen for many years and the feelings that these places provoked led me to exploring place attachment and the emotional response we have to it. Emotion is central to place attachment, when we revisit those once-familiar places, we can sometimes return to a different reality and have strong emotional responses to what was once familiar.
Describe how your work could represent the UK? Reflecting on personal identities, this work not only portrays a typical urban area of the UK, but I have introduced aspects of my culture and views that influence the finished product. Those who view the photos can bring their own knowledge, experience and beliefs, and that can also influence their perception of the images, but these images can unmistakably be perceived as British in their content.
Does your nationality hold importance over your work and working style? I think subconsciously it does. The places we grew up and what we were exposed to will leave certain impressions. We may not fully realise the subtleties of our individual cultures but it will always be inherent in our actions.
Was there a particular stand out reason as to why you decided to study in the UK? No not really. I just went to the university that was local to me, although I would love to do my masters degree in Amsterdam. They have a more unique approach to study and there are a lot of cool opportunities happening with photography in Amsterdam at the minute, but with Brexit, it could make that infinitely harder.
What does Brexit mean to you and do you think it will influence your work in the future? Brexit for me was a disaster. It was a campaign led by scaremongering and lies. I felt there wasn’t enough time spent doing research or thinking about the impact or what terms we could negotiate with Europe for our exit. We now face a lot of uncertainty until this negotiation takes place. It is unclear how this could affect my work as I would like to spend time in certain European countries producing work, but at this time the uncertainty of what rights we will retain for European travel etc has put a hold on my decisions.
Has your practice given you any unique opportunities or encouraged you to travel into Europe? What were your experiences if so? I travelled into Europe last year for my project On the Fringe. The experience was great, I had to change the way I usually approach a project (which kept me on my toes). I would like to expand upon this project further as there was still so much to capture that I didn’t have time for. I am now also interested to see how the effect of Brexit further impacts Benidorm as a place as i imagine it may get infinitely worse.
Click here to read more about Andrew and his work via his Photograd Feature.