An interview with Photograd Open 2018 exhibiting photographer Claire McIntyre

Photography students at London Metropolitan University supported in the curation of our very first open exhibition and also selected a number of exhibiting photographers to interview about their work.

Here we have an interview with Claire McIntyre.


FMP Claire McIntyre25.jpg

What was the inspiration for the project? This was my very first venture into the documentary world. Leaving the fashion universe behind, I realised that the garments are still a focus of mine. After an arduous breakup, I took to Tinder and started meeting a number of London guys. I was spending a lot of my time discovering the city though these dates, and decided to start shooting. Tinder became my agent. Through the app, I photographed around 30 men. Conversation and psychology are dear to me. As I chatted with these men, I came to realise how sensitive and genuine they became, being in the comfort of their own home. The conditioning society created - the “male” behaviour - dropped, revealing a beautiful and sensitive soul and consciousness, so often repressed. This led me to be extremely inquisitive in regards to capturing this state. I made it my project to photograph this modern masculinity, men in their comfort zone, through the female gaze. As a female photographer, having power of representation over the masculine body in todays’ society which is extremely self-conscious in regards to external approval seeking is also a theme I explore.

How has the course at The Ravensbourne University shaped your practice? I don’t feel that the institution played any specific part in shaping who I am as a photographer, nor has it had any effect on my work. The tutors, however, have been key in my personal and artistic development. Due to the self-directed nature of the course, I do feel that I had the time and space to move around with ease through a range of photographic disciplines, thus allowing me to try a variety of topics and subjects, allowing me to explore and deepen my research and skills.

Who is your main photographic inspiration? As stereotypical as this may sound, Nan Goldin has been, from day one, my original inspiration. Someone I look up to as a person, as well as an artist. Her work and subject matter, as well as her over all aesthetic seduce me overtime. The raw and genuine elements composting her shots are beautiful and admirable. Wolfgang Tillmans is another artist I admire, shedding a golden light on the scene of everyday life. His curation style is one of my favourites as well, bringing life to the static world of a photography exhibition. Mark Neville and Stefan Ruiz are equally major influences in my work. I like the interactive aspect they practice, creating a bond with their subjects. Most recently I’ve been quite keen on Campbell Addy’s imagery, exploring topics of identity and representation.

What do you want to achieve and say with your portraits? I’ve touched on this earlier. I wish to address the notion of the social pressure and conditioning men go through. My question here is: “What is Masculinity?”. Is it gender related in any way? How conscious are we of our actions and reactions? How programmed are we in relation to our gender and in regards to our surroundings? This series depicts an alternative image of the viral male, not conforming to external pressures.

Do you have a favourite image? And why? I am not precious about the final outcome. This was a very personal project, reflecting my state of mind, as well as the phase I was going through. The process and conversation I developed with the subjects was the interesting part.

What camera and lens did you use? Canon 60D Lens 24-70mm (sometimes 50mm).

What are your future plans for self-development? I am currently the in-house photographer and a booker for Ciel Model Management. In February I will be traveling to Cuba to shoot a series and explore the topic of women and femininity. The female realm has always been harder for me to connect with, thus I wish to challenge myself. I am now in the process of applying for grants and artist residencies abroad, quite keen on developing documentary stories and venturing into photojournalism. I would like to carry one doing social work, bringing the notion of art and photography to troubled youth and prisons, working with individuals eager to tell their stories, as well as their versions and views on this concept we all share and call society.

An interview with Photograd Open 2018 exhibiting photographer Natalia Poniatowska

Photography students at London Metropolitan University supported in the curation of our very first open exhibition and also selected a number of exhibiting photographers to interview about their work.

Here we have an interview with Natalia Poniatowska.


 From the series  Moments I Never Showed You

From the series Moments I Never Showed You

How would you describe your project and the relationship to the title Moments I Never Showed You? For many years of being a natural picture maker and taking photographs of whatever caught my attention, I’ve noticed that people became a part of the landscape I create. Observing, sitting, relaxing. The images place the figure in surroundings that complement simultaneously two conditions – being and looking. This project focuses on my observations but also raises wider questions about photography as a medium and the act of observation itself. It is an attempt to look at my practice and question my selection of images in which unexpected connections and conversations can occur between images.

The body of work includes an animated scan of 35mm black and white negative. As some images remind me of either smell, sound or movement, I wanted to bring this photograph back to life by moving selected still elements. This project has been shot in several countries, mostly outdoors and shows places I don’t belong to and people I have never got to meet, and as such, it is a departure from previous work that had nostalgia, homesickness and concept of belonging at its heart. This project accepts personal and visual encounters that speak of a connection that is grounded in photographic composition and as such are a pause in the flow of time: fleeting. These images propose questions and allow me to evoke the conditions that occurred during the moment of taking the picture again.

Selecting a title for a project and the book was a real challenge as the project hasn’t started with the idea or research but with a selection of already taken photographs. The research came after. With a title, I could easily add any narrative, but I decided to call it directly of what it really is – Moments I Never Showed You, as it’s a selection of photographs never shown before that didn’t belong to any project or didn’t work as strong as a single image. I like that the title made the book/project more personal and direct to the viewer. My tutors were not really happy with it, but for me, it works because of its simplicity. I was happy when I could throw away an A4 page full of title ideas that were overthinking the subject and I used words of whom I had to google the meaning of. This title is more “me” than what I was trying to achieve with other titles for the project.

What was the inspiration for the project? I don’t know if that’s an inspiration but maybe more like a regret about all single photographs that I’ve taken in the past 6 years that were never included in other projects. I started my selection for the book and exhibition with more than 2000 digital and film photographs. When working on the selection, book layout and exhibition I read a lot about photography and observation. I came back to books like About Looking and Ways of Seeing by John Berger and On Photography by Susan Sontag. I think the main inspiration was my interest in photography itself. In capturing the moment. In December 2017, I attended Joel Meyerowitz’s talk in C/O in Berlin for the opening of his exhibition “Why Colour”. I asked him for the advice for young photographers and he replied with something like: “If you are passionate about it, you’ll be fine.”

While making the project I had a few moments of doubting in photography. I’ve seen many exhibitions where I didn’t feel anything, that didn’t provoke any thoughts or didn’t give me any aesthetic inspirations. That made me wonder – are my works giving some emotions to others? I meet Thomas Joshua Cooper, founder of the photography department at the Glasgow School of Art, when he was leaving his studio and told him about my feelings towards the subject. He replied with a smile: “You need to trust your work”. And for a while, I didn’t understand what trusting the art means, but now I know this feeling and I know it really helps.

I also believe that all those chats, books I read, exhibitions I visited, movies I watched, music I listen to and everything I’ve seen was the inspiration for Moments I Never Showed You.

How has the course at The Glasgow School of Art shaped your practice? It’s been a great 4 years that closed my long journey in photography education – I first started attending photography classes when I was 13 in the youth centre in my hometown – Bytom, Poland. Studying in Glasgow was a great fun and also hard work. I made friends for life and I fell in love with the city. Fine Art Photography course was very individual. If you wanted to take all the best out of it, you could but you could also just spend those 4 years taking photos at the parties and printing on any paper and putting up on the wall with pins. You could do everything without really questioning it but then when degree show comes you can easily fail with all the stress. I was thinking about every step I made and I know I used these 4 years in the best way, not worrying about the degree show.

Having access to such a great facility and my own studio is definitely something I miss since June. I also miss tutorials and crits, ability to talk about the project and also to speak about other’s work. This summer for the first time ever I sent my films to the lab and when I got them, I knew it’s the process I miss the most. If the process of developing and scanning myself is taken away, I could just stick to the digital. I like to have the control and the feeling that I made it since the moment when I put the film in the camera until I printed it.

Who is your main photographic inspiration? I would like to reply saying life is the main inspiration – everything what’s happening around. Every single moment. But if it’s about names of artists, I would name a few that I’m currently spending lots of time looking at their works: Mark Power’s book The Sound of Two Songs, Wojtek Wieteska, Harry Culy, Tacita Dean and Theresa Moerman Ib.

What do you want to achieve and say with your photographs? I think my artist statement describes it the best:

“It is enough that I come from a country that lies east of the west and west of the east” - Sławomir Mrożek.

I am an observer. Through digital and analogue photography, still and moving images, I explore the potential ground that exists between fine art and documentary photography. Drawing inspiration from various conditions of the reality around me, from the great interest in the modern, dynamic art scene but also from my personal experiences, I believe in the power of images to convey the emotions, truths and challenges of modern reality. Having spent the majority of my life away from my motherland, I often return to the theme of homesickness and belonging in my artwork.

My approach to picture making is to present ordinary, non-idealised, never staged reality. Such practice is the formulation of an interest in things as they are. By using only one lens which is the most similar to a human field of view, I am capturing the moments and non-moments that drag my attention. I am a sentimental and nostalgic artist and the camera is the best tool to anchor oneself to memories and emotions that are constantly fleeting.

My work starts with a strong interest in the moment, light or a situation. The process of looking begins before taking a photograph and continues afterwards. Selecting pictures, printing, making connections, framing or setting up an exhibition space, all of it seems connected to the way of seeing. I immerse myself in the medium fully and utterly.

What camera and lens did you use? This is the most common question I get on Instagram and the most annoying one in commercial photography world. “Photos are amazing, you must have a great camera”. Sometimes I say what camera I used, sometimes I say it’s about my sight, not a camera. I’m completely not interested in the technical aspect of photography. I can’t help when friends asked me what camera they should buy as I simply have no idea what’s on the market or what lens would be the best for their needs. I use Nikon F3 and Nikon D800. The digital one for commercial, colour and moving image work, a film for black and white. I mix the film and digital photographs when it comes to exhibitions or books and I usually carry two cameras with me. There’s something in black and white digital photographs that I am not a big fan of and there’s something in a black and white film that I really love. I only use one lens - 50mm 1.8, as it’s the most similar to what we see with our eyes. And the reality is what I like in photography. Presenting reality but in such way that we don’t notice it every day.

What are your future career plans? I’m currently exhibiting work in the Scottish Portrait Awards. In March, I’m showing my work at the New Contemporaries exhibition in the Royal Scottish Academy, for which I’m super excited. This summer after graduation was busy – I started working on two projects – I travelled with my grandma to Ukraine where she was born and has not been back since childhood when her family had to leave due to the war. I know I need more time and conversations with my grandma to finish this project. I would like to go back there during winter. The second work was my residency to Iceland organised by WeTransfer and The Jaunt. I can’t wait to print this work and just put it up on the studio wall. I’m sharing some of it on my Instagram.

I’m supporting myself by working as a wedding and commercial photographer, but ideally, I would love to work for a photography gallery. Well, of course, I would love to be just an artist and pay rent from selling my works, but we all know how it is. There’s a huge gap between emerging artists and established artists who can hire hundreds of assistants. I just wish these two worlds, especially in contemporary photography, could somehow connect and there would be more paid opportunities for graduates. I’m sick of hearing about unpaid interns or even internships that artists have to pay for. Or paid entries for open calls (for example Fotofilmic $50 entry fee). And as I know from the experience there are young artists whose parents would pay for it all. They have a way easier career start. I’m sorry for speaking about money so much when the question is about my plans, but I get a feeling that this subject is neglected, especially in the art schools. We are not told how to make living. And then there’s also this look – how can you be an artist when you shoot birthday parties and use a camera in a commercial way? I disagree and I presented my disagreement with a project called Celebration where all photographs come from events I worked at.   So… coming back to my future plans – I know that photography is what I love and I’m super passionate about. If in the future I can survive as an artist, that’s amazing. But I also would like to do something for contemporary photography – either working in a gallery or teaching. And commercial photography? I also enjoy it. Client satisfaction and some good words about my photographs make me really happy. And weddings are fun! 

An interview with Photograd Open 2018 exhibiting photographer Lottie Wilson

Photography students at London Metropolitan University supported in the curation of our very first open exhibition and also selected a number of exhibiting photographers to interview about their work.

Here we have an interview with Lottie Wilson.


Why do you still use film? Is there a reason? I started using film in my first year at university. Initially it was something new and exciting (we hadn’t used film at my sixth form) so I enjoyed learning about a new process. However, now it is integral to my practice.  As an artist I believe that the working process is just as important as the images, and the beauty of analogue is that there are so many different opportunities for the final image. When working with digital all of the editing happens post production, however, the analogue process is totally organic. The process can go wrong at any minute – you can over expose or under develop – and this is the magic for me. The final image has always felt like a collaboration between the darkroom and myself. I can never quite predict what is going to happen.

 From the series  Observing

From the series Observing

Screenshot 2018-11-28 at 15.32.03.png

Your work shows a lot of experimenting in the darkroom, what was your best ‘Mistake’? My best mistake was made out of forgetfulness! With images that no longer have any meaning for me I like to disrupt them and alter the memory past recognition. There’s no science with the experimentation that I do – it’s simply a case of trial and error. One particular image was not reacting to my chemical solution so I decided to leave it for another few days. Fast forward ten days and the whole image had disappeared. Whilst this was never my intention it was a real learning process for me. I really began to understand my medium. By leaving the image for too long I broke down the layers of the negative until there was pretty much the bare film left. Whilst a photograph distils a single single moment forever, this photochemical process allowed me to change history. It was as if that captured moment had never happened. This is my favourite image to date.

How was your university experience? I loved going to university and am missing it so much. My university journey wasn’t easy though. My school encouraged academic subjects, so originally I applied to study English Literature leaving Photography as a well loved hobby. Once being accepted into the another university I realised that this was not what I truly wanted. I decided to take a year out to fully consider my options and decide whether further education would be the right choice for me. After visiting the University of Brighton there was no other option, this was where I needed to be. Throughout my three years at University I met an eclectic mix of individuals who encouraged both creative and personal growth. I’ve never looked back. Going to university made me a better photographer in every respect, yet the most important lesson was finally understanding and accepting myself.  

 From the series  Observing

From the series Observing

What photographers help inspire your work? I am a huge fan of Miho Kajioka. Whilst very different in concept (Kajioka’s work discusses natural disasters), I particularly like Kajioka’s printing style. The images appear so delicate and whimsical. I am also greatly inspired by her working style. Kajioka draws off the Japanese tradition of “wabi-sabi” – the appreciation of beauty in imperfection and transience. This appreciation allows for mistakes and even encourages them. As an artist I constantly re-evaluate my work and my belief in “wabi-sabi” underpins my whole practice. I love that my work is always changing and may not always be as I first planned, it gives me confidence to make work without any concern.

 From the series  Observing

From the series Observing

Your work will be on display at the Cass as part of Photograd Open 2018. The Cass has a great darkroom- what would you say to students or any photographers thinking about working with film or in the darkroom? I’d say just go for it! I spent so long being scared of the darkroom but it’s the most magical place - I still get excited watching an image develop in the wet trays. Whilst you will be taught traditional darkroom processes you do not have to stick to them. There is never just one fool-proof way to make work, and this notion definitely applies in the darkroom. Experiment with exposure times and chemical reactions and see what happens to the original image. The darkroom is full of endless creative opportunities and all you need is the confidence to try something new. 

 From the series  Observing

From the series Observing

Do you have any plans for your photography in the future? Any current ideas for this project or any new ones? Since graduating this summer I have spent a lot of time contemplating what it means to be a photographer. For me, it is the opportunity to capture a single moment and the power to change it. Much like memories, images are pliable and I am fascinated how their meanings are constantly adapting. 

I have just joined a community darkroom so am excited to start my next project. I am planning to further explore the transitional elements of a photograph - of course with my “wabi-sabi” beliefs fully in tact. I am excited to see what comes next. 

Loupe Magazine issue 8


This issue, though having no intended theme, contains a particularly poignant selection of projects spanning varying genres. Much of the work is sincere by nature, and the subjects thoughtful; exploring religion and worship in the technological age, unearthing buried and forgotten transgressions, and contemplating impermanence. It’s heady stuff. As ever, we are proud to provide a free platform that shares such varied and exciting work from promising new photographers.

Mary Perez makes this issues lead feature with Full Gospel, documenting the megachurches of South Korea. Her photograph of Yoido Full Gospel Church is our first non-portrait to feature as cover, and it’s a striking image to break tradition with. Tom Roche interviews Perez about the importance of her background in religion for the project, her stylistic approach, and her plans to further explore the subject.

VT0A7378.jpg

Bertie Oakes, who oversees our new online series Photographic Duos, summarises Martin Errichiello & Filippo Menichetti’s shared body of work. In Quarta Persona is a complex historical investigation of the region surrounding the A3 highway in Italy, uncovering a troubled geopolitical past using varied mediums.

We feature 4 images from iBacteria by Anders Gramer. His series of portraits peering through the growth of their own skin flora is a nice idea neatly executed, and well expanded upon by writer Iris Veysey.

VT0A7392.jpg

We also share a selection of images from Julien Martinez Leclerc’s broad and yet refined portfolio, thoughtfully discussed by Rosey Wadey.

VT0A7384.jpg

I spoke to Holly Hay, photographic director at Wallpaper* magazine about her role, and asked what advice she has for photographers trying to get noticed.

Also featured is the Turning Point in Briony Campbell’s career, Gemma Padley’s review of Do Not Feed The Alligators by David Shama, Adrien Blondel’s Centrefold submission, and Maren Klemp’s sombre image on the Portrait Page.

You can pick up a free copy from one of over 60 stockists across the country. Single copies, back issues and annual subscriptions are also available to purchase from our online store.

We hope you enjoy the issue.

Written by Harry Flook.

An interview with Photograd Open 2018 exhibiting photographer Joel Biddle

Photography students at London Metropolitan University supported in the curation of our very first open exhibition and also selected a number of exhibiting photographers to interview about their work.

Here we have an interview with Joel Biddle.


 Images from the series  Tectonic

Images from the series Tectonic

Joel Biddle Stretch_1.jpg

Which photographers inspire you? I find my inspirations come from a mixture of landscape photographers and conceptual artists. The simplicity that some conceptual art can have has always been a draw for me, and a lot of the time that kind of work is more about only showing what is absolutely necessary and simplifying the message. I think one of my earliest influencers was Michael Kenna, whose work was a huge inspiration for me to create and experiment in the darkroom. The minimalist aesthetic and his approach to a mixture of geometric, manmade shapes and the shapes of the natural world has always been impactful. Hiroshi Sugimoto’s work was introduced to me just prior to university and has since been influencing my approach to my work as well. I think these photographer’s work changed my mindset about photography and made me take more time with my work. 

What do you find interesting in landscape photography? The possibilities involved in landscape photography are the reason I’m drawn to it, and the challenge of finding somewhere that connects with you is very rewarding. It can be a timeless for of photography, and you can create a landscape that can be very hard to place location wise, leading to an image that is very open to interpretation.  

 From the series  Tectonic

From the series Tectonic

The juxtaposition between the smooth, changing shape and texture of water against ancient and seemingly permanent and harsh shapes of rock structures in the sea fascinates me and I try to highlight this. It’s almost an instinctual thing for me to photograph the landscape, and I sometimes don’t even see my work as landscape, as it can be broken down into a shapes and textures very easily and become abstract. 

Do you prefer using digital or analogue camera? Why? I’m in the process of moving to 100% analogue photography for a few reasons, one is the look of film grain has a lot of character to it, its quite organic. There is no instant gratification involved in analogue photography, which I find very motivational to get out and work more and concentrate on capturing what is in front of me. Film suits me very well as I found myself shooting a handful of images a day with a digital camera, which almost seemed like a waste of the potential of a camera that could easily shoot a thousand images a day, so it seemed obvious to move to a slower medium. The hand made element of a print produced in the darkroom is very appealing to me as well, and it’s a very expressive way of doing things. 

 From the series  Tectonic

From the series Tectonic

What do you want to transmit with your photography? I want a calming sense of tranquillity to be found from my photography, and a sense of quiet that reflects the locations I photograph. There are no people in my work landscapes and very rarely any buildings, which leads to a sense of isolation, but its not a bleak isolation, its more of a break from chaos, and a choice rather than something forced.  

I don’t seek dramatic imagery when I choose my subject, and this is reflected in what I’m trying to say with my landscapes, and the feeling I hope to generate within the viewer.  

What did you try to achieve with this project? I started this project as a way of experimenting with the contrast between hard, rugged element, hence the use of the aggressive title ‘Tectonic’, and the flowing of glassy waters, with a focus on attempting to avoid any stereotypical landscape. This is why I was opposed to using vivid colour, avoided the golden hour and used telephoto lenses instead of wide-angle lenses and I find it very natural to photograph in portrait orientation, something that is somewhat ironic about my landscape photography. 

 From the series  Tectonic

From the series Tectonic

I wanted to create something that had staying power, something that I wouldn’t get bored of looking at. A lot of the images I was taking before I wasn’t even printing, I was leaving them as digital files and looking at maybe once or twice. I had a different mindset when I started to create work for ‘Tectonic’, which was to work towards a body of work rather than a standalone image.  

Have you worked on other photographic project that are not landscape-based? I have been working on and am continuing to work on an astrophotography based project that involves photographing starlight with expired film that equals the age of the light of the star, for example I photographed Capella, a star that is 42 light years away with film that was produced 42 years ago. The idea that the film and the light were produced simultaneously but it takes decades for the light to reach the destination is fascinating and I hope to move the project on to use expired photographic paper to capture starlight and create one of a kind works, though this has many technical challenges. I have a broad interest in conceptual based photography and alternative processes, and may apply this to my landscape work at some point. 

Robert Darch 'The Moor' - pre-order now

Plymouth University graduate Robert Darch’s The Moor has been published by Another Place Press and is currently available to pre-order here.

unnamed.jpg
 
unnamed (1).jpg

The Moor depicts a fictionalised dystopian future situated on the bleak moorland landscapes of Dartmoor. Drawing on childhood memories of Dartmoor alongside influences from contemporary culture, the narrative references local and universal mythology to give context but suggests something altogether more unknown. The realisation of this dystopian future is specifically in response to a perceived uncertainty of life in the modern world and a growing disengagement with humanitarian ideals. The Moor portrays an eerie world that shifts between large open vistas, dark forests, makeshift dwellings, uncanny visions and isolated figures.

The sense of an on-going narrative is reinforced by the reoccurrence of characters, often appearing on edge, in peril or distressed. The inherent wildness of the landscape heightens this fragile sense of existence, with the suggestion of an unseen presence adding to the isolation and tension.

The fiction is grounded within the landscapes of Dartmoor, using found locations instead of overt staging, artificial lights orconstructed sets. Shifting between pseudo documentary and constructed photography the Moor blurs that liminal space between fiction and reality.

1.jpg
 Images from  The Moor

Images from The Moor

2 (3).jpg
19.jpg

An interview with Photograd Open 2018 exhibiting photographer Kerry Curl

Photography students at London Metropolitan University supported in the curation of our very first open exhibition and also selected a number of exhibiting photographers to interview about their work.

Here we have an interview with Kerry Curl.


KERRY_CURL_PHOTOGRAD_EXHIBITION_MAY_2018_NORWCH_JORDAN_WAKE_2017-7274.jpg

Who inspired you as a fashion photographer? I’ve just always been interested in style and people. As a child I’d draw fashion designs and would have sketchbooks full of entire wardrobe ideas for films I’d seen. When I thought I was destined to spend my life in call centre type jobs I’d be reading art books as an escape. Tracey Emin’s My Bed, I discovered by looking through those Best Of…, A-Z of Artists type books and not only did I connect with it on first sight, in that way you’re sometimes just grabbed by a piece of music right away, I found the artist herself really interesting. Her story made me question my own. Not coming from a creative family/background I found those books a really accessible way to view and learn about the visual arts. I still do.

There wasn’t really a ‘fashion’ photographer, who made me think ‘I want to do that!’ but the photographer who gave me what I refer to as That Emin feeling was Daido Moriyama. I saw his work exhibited at the Tate in 2012 and that’s when I knew I needed to start thinking about what photography means to me, what do I want from it, how can I learn more?

Although fashion is within my work and most people do refer to me as a fashion photographer, I actually find myself wondering more and more what a fashion photographer is in 2018?  Where do I fit in? Photography genres can and do merge. I’ve really started to question fashion within my work. It is part of the imagery but it’s not the works sole purpose.

A by-product of the way I create is that I often find myself working with second hand clothing. I’ve been wearing second hand clothes since birth really, starting from necessity and then as I got older through choice. It’s not a new notion to me at all. However now this shopping approach, chimes with the increasing interest in the mainstream for sustainability in the fashion industry.

There’s growing desire for sustainable fashion as consumers begin to ask where their clothes come from. Almost paradoxically, the consumer demand for sustainability imposes a commercial imperative on this most egalitarian of impulses. These are interesting times to be contributing to fashion media.

Many people are more conscious than they once were of the social implications of what they buy and wear, rather than the sheer quantity of what they could consume or the status it would afford them. In a portfolio review I once talked about fashion in this way and was told that I wasn’t talking about the photography enough. However as a medium, photography for me is so intertwined with other art forms and our world around us, they exist together and that’s a key part of my work. Beyond fashion, I will always cite music and film as things which inspire me greatly. Inspiration is everywhere, that may be a cliché but it’s true.

What advice would you give someone starting off as a fashion photographer? My honest advice is to drop the focus of ‘fashion’ and just start photographing style/people/subject matters which interest you.

Be inquisitive, be genuinely inquisitive in knowing and learning more, look to different art forms for inspiration. Explore who has influenced your influences. If you are shooting fashion work because you feel you should or it’s a trend you think you must follow, then don’t. That applies across the board with all subject matters really. I wish I could remember who said to me  “show the work you want to talk about” - it’s such sound advice.

What camera do you use for your portraits? My go to camera is a Nikon D810, but I’ll also still use an array of 35mm SLR cameras sometimes and we’re not talking top of the range. I mostly use ones I’ve picked up second hand, some are what would probably be classed as an ‘entry level’ SLR. I’m always in charity and second hand shops looking for things I can use within my work so I pick up random cameras from time to time, even point and shoots. If I can make work with it then I’m interested. I shoot with ANY film I can afford. How amazing it was when Poundland used to sell 35mm film, sadly I think that’s passed but I still always look out for it.

I also really enjoy instant film, I found an old Instax Wide camera in a charity shop for £1.50 which it turned out was in full working order. Although I’ve used Polaroid cameras, Instax film is more friendly for my budget and I’ve also found the film to be more reliable but there is still that interestingly  unpredictable quality of tone and focus which can be bitter-sweet. I read an interview with Brian Eno on openculture.com where he said:
“The real hooks, the moments that we most connect with and return to again and again, are often happy accidents.”

Although he was referring to music, this also really connects to the visual arts for me. The different materials and approaches keep me inquisitive. People have expressed surprise because I like to work with both digital and film but I just don’t feel the need to be exclusively one or the other right now.  I learned photography on film - before digital was a thing. I just like cameras really, not from a techno-geek sense, just as a physical object that I can create imagery with.

Where did you study? I did my BA (Hons) Photography at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) , graduating with a 1st in 2017. I was thirty seven when I started my degree, although during my twenties and thirties I was lucky enough to access the adult education system whilst courses such as photography were much more available and accessible, with many classes being conducted in local secondary schools.

Indeed my first City and Guilds course was in my old school, which is ironic as the art options available when I was actually at that school as a teenager, were somewhat lacking and photography was certainly not on the curriculum. The Adult Education offerings, certainly in Norwich have changed so much over the last decade, they’ve really declined in course choice and have become much more expensive. This is a real shame.

Do you think social media such as Instagram has an effect on photography; does it benefit your work? Interesting question. I have a bit of a love vs ‘bored now’ relationship with social media but there’s no doubt that platforms like Instagram have democratised access to images and ideas that would once have been obscure or inaccessible.  You are not restricted to the grubby dog-eared stock in your under-resourced local library, or on what happens to be flavour of the month in The Face or NME.  Today, an image maker can be a self-curating cultural magpie in a way a predecessor even just a few years ago could not have imagined. However, I do feel lucky to know what life without social media was like...

It concerns me that it’s easy to put pressure on ourselves to constantly be ‘seen’ to be making work, checking if it’s being well received etc when really we just tossing it out in to an unknown seemingly ever changing algorithm which is someone else’s business model and so we are not really in control of its future anyway.

The positives are that it’s a great way to meet people to work with and it’s brilliant as a way to stay in touch. It can be a very supportive place but there’s a tipping point and it’s important to remind ourselves that we are more than a number.

What are your future aims and do they include photography? It feels like it’s taken me so long to finally be working with photography (my creative life has been far from linear!) that I can’t imagine photography not being a part of my future. I’m always questioning my practice, I learned through keeping journals at uni that I’m naturally a reflective person and that the work I make is often a response to what’s around me.

I’m planning on returning to education to do an MA in two or three years time. At present, I really want to spend some time making new work and gaining more experience out in the world - all of which I can take with me to my next education phase. I was approached by a uni professor who very kindly visited my degree show work and he suggested I could think about going straight for a PhD which whilst amazing to hear and has certainly made think of the long term possibilities, I feel personally if there is a PhD within my work (within me...)  then an MA is the stepping stone that I need to get me there. I can’t image not returning to education, it may sound dramatic but it has been life changing. It’s not a case of if I go back, it’s just a matter of when.

My degree show, final uni project and my dissertation continues to inform my personal work and ideas.  The show featured installation work of a seventies inspired lounge which I really enjoyed creating. The space invited the viewer to become part of the work. With my photography on the walls and my moving image work looping on period correct televisions, everyday I observed how the audience interacted with the work and I became even more convinced that photography for me was about imagery across disciplines and multi-media innovation, driving me to question the role of a photographer today.

I didn’t realise at the time when I was hauling pieces of furniture across London for my degree show installation that this wasn’t actually the final product, but in fact it was further research. I’m so glad I helped look after the degree show everyday because being able to watch the reactions to my work was really a lightbulb moment about it’s possibilities.

I’d love to exhibit again, I’m planning to keep working through ideas using photography, moving image and installation and I’m also looking at releasing work within a zine format. Ultimately I just want to keep making work which interests me enough to continue making more work.

An interview with Photograd Open 2018 exhibiting photographer Katie Hayward

Photography students at London Metropolitan University supported in the curation of our very first open exhibition and also selected a number of exhibiting photographers to interview about their work.

Here we have an interview with Katie Hayward.


How would you describe your project and relationship to the title Between Darkness and Light? Between Darkness and Light is an observation of the landscape of the coastal town of Lowestoft in Suffolk. The town occupies the most easterly point of the country and so is positioned as one of its extremities. The body of work seeks to provide a subtle acknowledgement of industries won and lost over time, giving a glimpse into Lowestoft’s tumultuous past and tentative future. It is a town, like many in the UK, forced to live through governmental decisions made at a distance, which directly impact upon the communities that live and work there. While our government negotiates for our exit from the European Union, potentially using our fishing waters as the bargaining tool, this is more prominent now than ever before in this town.

 From the series  Between Darkness and Light

From the series Between Darkness and Light

The title of the project is derived from my research into the writings of W. G. Sebald and his book titled The Rings of Saturn whereby he narrates his journey along the East Coast.  When describing his experience of Lowestoft, he recalls looking out towards the sea through a bay window of the dining room of his rather lacklustre hotel, stating that “Outside was the beach, somewhere between the darkness and the light” (Sebald, P.43). These words resonated with me as they seemed to fit with the general essence of the place that I had experienced and also politically, socially, economically and emotionally in a metaphorical sense.  

What was the inspiration for the project? I had developed a genuine interest in the concept of place photographically and having recently moved to the East Coast I was curious to see how documenting a place with which I had no knowledge of, or emotional connection to, would impact upon the images I produced at the other end. Would my photographic exploration create an emotional connection or attachment of sorts or would my role in documenting it keep me distanced from it? This was the catalyst for starting the project. 

How has the course at the University of Suffolk shaped your practice? When I started my course at the University of Suffolk, we were taken right back to basics with 35mm black and white film where we learned to develop and print our own work.  This really helped me connect with where photography had grown from and allowed me to join the dots with where photography is now.  I had never stepped foot into a darkroom and so the learning curve was a steep one for me, but very rewarding.  I’m quite an impatient person and the medium of film photography truly challenged me and took me out of my comfort zone.  It made me a more considerate photographer as the process was considerably slower. This helped me to truly appreciate the photographers of the past who never had digital as an option and what an undertaking it must have been for the work that they produced at that time.  The course structure was also a huge thing for me, it really guided me through how to produce a project from proposal through to exhibition and everything in-between, with group critique sessions and presentations of my work I gained the confidence in critiquing my own work as well as the work of others in a constructive way.  

 From the series  Between Darkness and Light

From the series Between Darkness and Light

Who is your main photographic inspiration? It is impossible for me to put this down to just one person, but I will try to be as concise. Gerhard Stromberg and his Coastline Catalogue work. Chris Killip and his Inflagrante and Seacoal series. Michael Collins and his Landscape and Industry publication and Hoo Peninsula work.  There is also a small independent publisher called Another Place Press run by photographer Iain Sarjeant who publish books focusing on contemporary landscape photography. Everything they publish is in line with my interests photographically. Iain’s photographic work is also quite something.  

What do you want to achieve and say with your project? I wanted to present images which provoked thought and questions. I wanted to convey a sense of place, an acknowledgement of its community, of its past via the apparatus of its landscapes. I like working in a series-based format with narrative imbedded in the work and I hope the work achieved that in some sense.  

What camera and lens did you use? Initial location scouting and test shooting was done on my trusty Canon 7d mark ii. The formal images were shot on a Shen Hao 5x4 XPO 45-A camera with a 150mm lens.

 From the series  Between Darkness and Light

From the series Between Darkness and Light

Why did you choose that equipment? Shooting digital to initially test locations, times of day and compositions enabled me to quite quickly find what worked and what didn’t, I had a lot of ground to cover. I knew I wanted to have the final images on large format as this felt right for the subject matter and detail within the landscapes. I also wanted the images to be presented in large scale and large format is best placed for this to retain as much quality as possible when taking prints large. I also really enjoy the pace of large format and the fact the lenses are fixed focal lengths, it forces me to be more patient and considerate about what I am doing and to really focus on composition. 

What are your career plans? The aim and intention is to continue to grow and progress as a photographic artist, and to push forward with developing bodies of work for exhibition and publication. I am currently in the process of researching several projects of which I am incredibly excited about. I believe I have some very captivating narratives to put out there and hopefully I can do this in a visually compelling way. I want people who engage with my work to feel compelled to enter into wider discussion and debate about its subject.

Photograd Open 2018 - showcasing photobooks and zines

Photograd will be part of Photomonth this year with an exhibition at London Metropolitan University from Friday 16th to Thursday 29th November. We’ve already released the 30 photographers who will be exhibited, which you can find here, but in this post we introduce you to the 15 photographers whose book or zine we will be displaying in the space.

Harry Crown
Judit Sánchez
Daniella Gott
Daniel Harrington
Billie Blossom
Holly Farndell
Krasimira Butseva
Stan Dickinson
Scott Perry and Zoey Barton
Jasper Jones
Arran Davis
Amy Pezzin
Jake Kehar Gill
Callum Beaney
Charlotte Bond

 University of Westminster graduate  Jasper Jones  and the series  Scroll

University of Westminster graduate Jasper Jones and the series Scroll

 Manchester School of Art graduate  Daniel Harrington  and the series  Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community

Manchester School of Art graduate Daniel Harrington and the series Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community

 Falmouth University graduate  Amy Pezzin  and the series  Garden of Extinction

Falmouth University graduate Amy Pezzin and the series Garden of Extinction

 University of Westminster graduate  Scott Perry  and the series  Omniscient London

University of Westminster graduate Scott Perry and the series Omniscient London

 Falmouth University graduate  Harry Crown  and the series  M A T E O

Falmouth University graduate Harry Crown and the series M A T E O

 University of Portsmouth graduate  Krasimira Butseva  and the series  Slices of Red

University of Portsmouth graduate Krasimira Butseva and the series Slices of Red

 University of East London graduate  Billie Blossom  and the series  Queer Porn Portraits

University of East London graduate Billie Blossom and the series Queer Porn Portraits

Photograd Open 2018 - exhibiting photographers

Photograd will be part of Photomonth this year with an exhibition at London Metropolitan University from Friday 16th to Thursday 29th November.

Here is a list of the 30 photographers who will be exhibited followed by a few select images.

Daniel Morgan
Alvaro Lopez
Katie Hayward
Judit Sánchez
Giulia Parlato
Dulcie Wagstaff
Peter Spurgeon
Natalia Poniatowska
Elisabetta De Guio
Claire McIntyre
Cheryl Newman
Tom Owens
Miriam Winsor
Zsuzsanna Pálmai
Lottie Wilson
Michael Morgan
Joel Biddle
Kerry Curl
Sarah-Jayne Webb
Matt Terry
Chiara Avagliano
Charlotte Bond
Paula Tollett
Ryan Hardman
Sara Cucè
Steve Le Grys
Jack Johnson
Beata Stencel
Rose Sapey
Sara Fiorino

 London Metropolitan University graduate  Zsuzsanna Pálmai  and the series  1 to 7 Billion

London Metropolitan University graduate Zsuzsanna Pálmai and the series 1 to 7 Billion

 University of Brighton graduate  Dulcie Wagstaff  and the series  Familiar Gardens

University of Brighton graduate Dulcie Wagstaff and the series Familiar Gardens

 Carmarthen School of Art graduate Sarah-Jayne Webb and the series  A Happening

Carmarthen School of Art graduate Sarah-Jayne Webb and the series A Happening

 Ravensbourne University graduate  Rose Sapey  and the series  Masterpieces Responses

Ravensbourne University graduate Rose Sapey and the series Masterpieces Responses

 University of South Wales graduate  Peter Spurgeon  and the series  Docoy

University of South Wales graduate Peter Spurgeon and the series Docoy

 University of East London graduate  Steve Le Grys

University of East London graduate Steve Le Grys


 

Private View: Thursday 15th November, 6pm.

London Metropolitan University, The Cass, Atrium Space, Goulston Street. E1 7TP

Use Aldgate or Aldgate East underground, or Liverpool Street for a 10 minute walk.

Milda Books presents the photobook "Homeland. The Longest Village in the Country" by Georgs Avetisjans

Milda Books presents the photobook Homeland. The Longest Village in the Country by University of Brighton graduate Georgs Avetisjans at the Photo Publishers Market organised by Brighton Photo Fringe and Photoworks.

Phoenix Brighton, October 20th - 21st. 11am - 5pm.


“Landscapes – actual, remembered or idealized – feed our sense of belonging to whatever place, region or nation that we view as homeland.”

Liz Wells
Homeland. The Longest Village in the Country (2015-2018)
is a multi-layered photographic narrative in a form of a photobook with cross-references like hyperlinks to additionally inserted stories connected to the subjects and landscape. The book is about the village where my Armenian-Greek father once had a dream to build a house for our family, but unfortunately couldn’t finish it as he passed away when I was only 6 months young.

The project explores the sea, the land and memories, how the time affects and changes our sense of a place at the same time serving a nostalgic representation of the village in Latvia - Kaltene and its recent history from World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 via interviews, notes and archival imagery. As the Iron curtain fell, the local economy changed and upon joining the EU in 2004, it changed again. These historical shifts made a huge impact on the society and its dreams, many of which the younger generations have abandoned.

The place is located between the forest and the sea about 100 km northwest of the capital Riga. In the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th century it was the second most productive village in the country as 55 seagoing sailing ships were built there.

02 GA Homeland.jpg
03 GA Homeland.jpg
 Images from the series  The Longest Village in the Country  by Georgs Avetisjans

Images from the series The Longest Village in the Country by Georgs Avetisjans

06 GA Homeland.jpg

London Independent Photography presents the 30th annual exhibition at Espacio Gallery + free talks by photographic artists

Preview: Thurs 4th October 2018, 6pm – 9pm

Exhibition: Tues 2nd – Sat 6th October 2018, 1pm –  7pm

Sun 7th October, 1pm – 5pm

Venue: Espacio Gallery, 159 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 7DG


London Independent Photography celebrates its 30th annual exhibition this year at Espacio Gallery in Bethnal Green, from Tuesday 2nd of October to Sunday 7th of October 2018.

The members of LIP were invited to submit their most innovative and creative works through an open call launched in August 2018. A panel of professionals from the photography industry were invited to select the works taking part in the exhibition, including Tom Lovelace who is an artist, curator and visiting tutor at RCA and has been nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize, along with Hazel Watts, who is a managing partner at Spectrum Photographic and have worked on projects such as Brighton Photo Biennial and Focus Mumbai, and also Wendy McMurdo, who is an artist, photographer and tutor at Falmouth University and has exhibited at TPG and The Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

More than 100 photographs created by 72 photographers were selected and the varied collection includes landscape, portrait, still-life and experimental photography. The 30th annual exhibition is also a part of prestige International Photography Festival Photomonth, happening each autumn in East London.


Joint statement by LIP: ‘’Our annual exhibition is a celebration of the 30th anniversary year and the great talent of all LIP members. This year the selectors have chosen thought-provoking and innovative photography, which will display the diversity and craft of the photographers behind the organisation London Independent Photography.’’

In addition to the LIP 30th annual exhibition a programme of free talks by photography practitioners will take place between Tuesday and Sunday. On the 3rd of October, Wednesday from 6:30pm Dafna Talmor - an artist and lecturer will speak about her on-going series Constructed Landscapes made from collaged colour negatives through historical and contemporary references. On the Friday, 5th of October from 5:30pm, the artist Peter Ainsworth will discuss his current research practice surrounding the museum space examined through the use of consumer level photogrammetry apps. On the following day Saturday, 6th of October from 6:30pm, Thom Bridge will present an on-going collaboration with his identical twin Theo challenging the twin as a photographic trope and his project Field/s in collaboration with other artists funded by Artquest. The last talk of the series will be by the Ukrainian photographer Alina Kisina, on the 7th of October from 1:30pm, where she will discuss the ways to enrich one’s artistic practice by combining one’s photographic practice with teaching.

LIP invitation2.jpg

Revolv Collective presents 4UZHBINA

Preview: 29th September, 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Open daily: 30th September – 29th November, 11:00am-5:00pm

Venue: Phoenix Gallery, 10-14 Waterloo Place, Brighton BN2 9NB


Revolv Collective invites you to The Collective’s Hub, part of Brighton Photo Fringe taking place at Phoenix Brighton from Saturday 30th September to Sunday 29th November 2018.

4uzhbina is a photographic installation, created collaboratively by the artists Krasimira Butseva and Lina Ivanova, for Brighton Photo Fringe 2018. The word ‘4uzhbina’ describes a non-existent place, an illusory location, which cannot be found on any map, nevertheless it could be accessed by anybody. It is simply an invention of the tongue, existing only in the spoken and written Bulgarian language. The term contains simultaneously the essence of a no-man’s land and a dolce vita. 

In her new work, Krasimira Butseva uses moving image and appropriates found photography and materials, entangling personal and fictional histories. In her short film, she remembers the day, in which Bulgaria was accepted in the European Union, while performing repetitive rituals and readings. Using a found family archive originating from Kent, Krasimira plays with connotation and denotation, shaping a completely new narrative out of the photographs. Through this body of work, she explores the way in which politics inform nations and form identities, along with the correlation between native roots and cultural routes.

Lina Ivanova’s autobiographical piece explores issues of representation, identity and status of the migrant in the birth country. Photography becomes a power tool to remember, to store memories and experiences and possess a space, in which one feels insecure.  The manipulation of family archival records creates a personal interpretation of one’s own origin. The use of alternative processes suggests the transition from a state of familiar to a state of the foreign. Fragile family photos are reproduced on the surfaces of domestic objects and removed from their expected setting providing a context of the every-day in a moment of return. 

Poster Revolv2.jpg

Events

4UZHBINA: Artist talk 

20th October 2018 (Saturday)
1:00pm – 2:00pm

The founders of Revolv Collective, Krasimira Butseva and Lina Ivanova will form a dialogue about methods of using found photography and objects, alongside alternative processes to create new bodies of work. Reflection on current work on display at the Collective’s Hub, will lead to a discussion about belonging and identity. 

Invitation for Talk.jpg

Routes OR Roots

27th October 2018 (Saturday)
12:00pm – 2:00pm

Routes OR Roots invites participants to take part in a two-hour long workshop delivered by Revolv Collective. The activities encompassing notions of belonging and the self, welcomes participants to contribute to the workshop with personal objects, photography and memories in order to form a narrative of personal and collective diaspora. The workshop is open to people from any age and background to join.

[City] Stories - Urban photography exhibition

WORLDWIDE COLLECTIVE OF URBAN PHOTOGRAPHERS STAGE EXHIBITION AT FOUR CORNERS IN BETHNAL GREEN

13 urban photographers from Goldsmiths are opening their MA Degree Show at Four Corners gallery from 3rd-6th October 2018, including an exclusive lecture from Danish photographer Lene Hald.

The exhibition will feature new work made as part of the Photography & Urban Cultures MA at Goldsmiths, University of London, exploring the creative interplay between urban theory and the visual representation of cities & communities.

Coming from all over the world, the artists featured share their take on the contemporary life of the city, informed by urban theory and sociological research.


 
Poster final.jpeg
 

3rd - 6th October, Four Corners Gallery (London), part of Photomonth

10th - 14th October, Phoenix Brighton, part of Brighton Photo Fringe

Private View - 4th October, 6-9pm - register here

Urban Photographer's Association Annual Lecture by Danish photographer Lene Hald - 5th October, 4-5.30pm

Artist's Panel & Urban Photo Walk - 6th October, 2-4.30pm

*All events are free.


Co-curator Becky Morris Knight commented:

“As global urbanization speeds up and our political and media environments become more fragmented, exploring and examining how we live together becomes an urgent task and one which artists can make a valuable contribution to.”

“The work we make is informed, inspired and underpinned by sociology and urbanism, helping us to create meaningful images which speak to important issues our society faces, such as gentrification, media censorship, the body, identity and class.”

About the exhibition

Ting-Ling Yu shares a delicate exploration of nudity and public decency in London, while Yihong Wu’s work offers a consideration of typical interiors in China through carefully composed medium format images.

 Image by Steve Jones

Image by Steve Jones

Other projects include Steve Jones’ forensic examination of the staircase as a shaper of architectural space and Henry Woodley’s personal journey through the waterways of London and the communities of boaters he lives alongside.

 Image by Henry Woodley

Image by Henry Woodley

Artist Shan Ye worked in green spaces in London to think about how citizens in a wealthy country use their leisure time. Bo-Cheng Liu took inspiration from the margins, walking over 100km to explore the liminal land between airports and the city, often overlooked and unconsidered.

 Image by Becky Morris Knight

Image by Becky Morris Knight

Becky Morris Knight approached the idea of how our online spaces influence our urban lives, with a series which looks at how censorship works on Instagram and what that might look like if applied to our cities.

 Image by Qiunan Li

Image by Qiunan Li

Taking a personal approach, Mia Irmgard Klit will be launching an innovative photobook which challenges conventional approaches to medical sociology by exploring her sister’s experience of coma. Qiunan Li is also looking at memory and individual experience in his project in which he picks out images he cannot remember making and creates a new narrative from them.

 Image by Lee Gavin

Image by Lee Gavin

Lee Gavin will be showing a series of portraits which investigate class, life milestones and identity, while Korean photographer Suhyuk Chai shares images made within a transient community on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

 Image by Lorena Sanchez Pereira

Image by Lorena Sanchez Pereira

Kat Huber’s poetic work captures a fleeting moment within the landscape, layering the past, present and future in images of a derelict fairground slated for renewal in Berlin. Also considering a landscape in flux, Lorena Sanchez Pereira creates large-scale images exploring the regeneration of Hackney Wick in her series Gentricity.

Special Events

The exhibition also has a series of special events taking place throughout the run, kicking off with the Private View on 4th October, 6 – 9pm.

Danish photographer Lene Hald will fly in to deliver the Urban Photographer’s Association Annual Lecture on the 5th October, 4-5.30pm in the Four Corners gallery.

Titled Photography, care and co-creation, the talk will set off in Hald’s own photographic work, which is situated in the intersection of photography, visual storytelling, social engagement and participatory practice.

On Saturday 6th October, urban photographer and Director of Urban Photo Fest, Paul Halliday, will be chairing a panel discussion with 3 of the artists from the exhibition, considering the role photography can play in generating new knowledge of the urban.

After it closes in London, [City] Stories will transfer to Phoenix Brighton as part of Brighton Photo Fringe, from 10th – 14th October.

www.citystorieslondon.com

https://twitter.com/citystorieslon1

https://www.instagram.com/citystorieslondon/