An Interview with Pop My Mind

As you know, Photograd are working with Pop My Mind again on a brand new, exciting challenge. Head over to their platform to read more about Creativegrad which will be officially launching soon.

To give you more of an insight into Pop My Mind we've interviewed the team. We hope you enjoy the read.


Who are you, what's your motto? We are a powerful art community creating stunning content that will make you POP! In other words, we are a collective of creative people from around the world who like to experiment and create new, engaging pieces of work in response to each other’s work, current topics and for larger projects.

What's your creative style? As a company, we are all about authenticity – all the work we create is genuinely influenced by something else on the site, and is made by real people who love what they do (and are great at what they do)! There are so many of us in different disciplines – artists, writers, photographers, musicians, film makers – that we don’t have an overarching style. But it is this diversity that makes our community so powerful, and why the work we make is so unique.

Can you tell us what Pop My Mind is? We are an organisation built around an online community of hand-picked artists and creatives. Brands, agencies and festivals can hire us to use our platform and challenge our community to produce dynamic new work in response to their products and brand. This work is completely bespoke and can be used in all sorts of ways to help them stand out from the crowd.

What were the initial aims for the platform? We are always trying to expand our community and get more people working with us on exciting projects. Our aim is for a good percentage of our community to be able to earn a living income through us from doing the creative projects which they love to do!

What’s your biggest achievement to date? I think getting our first client was a pretty exciting day for us. That was the point when we knew that we had the potential to do something really great for our community who have been so supportive, enthusiastic and involved in our organisation from the beginning. We also realised the power that creative content has, and that it can be used in such a wide variety of applications to make an unforgettable impression on an audience.

What do you look for when accepting new users onto the platform? We look for people who experiment and explore in their practice, who have creative ideas and make inspirational work. We also like their work to have a distinct or recognisable style, and we’re always interested to see how people engage with fellow artists and take influences from different sources. That’s what we’re about after all! 

What does Pop My Mind provide its users? Our community receive access to exclusive opportunities to expand their practice and creative careers, such as being included in group exhibitions and events, getting online and real-life exposure, and earning money for the work they produce.

P.S. we always get asked this, but there is no catch! It is our honour that creatives want to join our community and so being part of it and accessing our opportunities is completely free.

How can people get involved? Being part of Pop My Mind is simple – you just have to visit www.popmymind.com/joinus, pop us an email and we will be in touch with you to say hi. 

Give one tip to new creative graduates. Meet as many other creative people as you can - listen, share, and get inspired! Getting a network of like-minded people around not only gives you a great support system, it means you are constantly presented with fresh ideas and new perspectives, which is essential for developing your ideas and methods.

Also, take as many opportunities as you can. It can be so difficult to make a name - or a living - for yourself in the creative industries, but that first foot in the door is all you need.

And you know where to look for both of those… 

What does the future hold for Pop My Mind? Well that would be telling! We’ve got some exciting things on the horizon including our Think Travel project with spoken word artist Roseanne Ganley, which aims to combine travel and creativity to understand and promote mental wellbeing. 

We’re also currently in conversation with some trendy businesses and setting up creative projects with them that our community can really dig their teeth into. However, details on these have yet to be announced… stay tuned for more!

Introducing Spectrum Photographic Graduate Discount!

 

 

The wonderful team at Spectrum Photographic are now giving 20% graduate discount 🎉

Up until the end of the year that students graduate, 20% discount is applied, and for the year following, 10% discount is applied. All you need to do is sign up via Spectrum's Student Page, or head over to their website for more info.

A must for all soon to be graduates!

Pop My Mind: An interview with Sat Biswas.

Photograd were recently made official partners of Pop My Mind and we're working with the team again to bring you an exciting new theme. You can find it here, but we'll be officially launching it soon.

To give you more of an insight into Pop My Mind we've interviewed some of the more photographic based users on the platform. First up is Sat Biswas who describes himself as a visual storyteller with inspiration arising from film and poetry. 

Enjoy.


Tell us who you are. Where do you live and make work? My name is Sat Biswas. I am a 40 year old visual storyteller based out of Mumbai, one of the largest metropolises of India. Though i make my living out of IT based Consultancy, most of my time is spent in documenting life and living around me using photography as a medium.  

Have you studied a creative subject? What are your thoughts on doing so? I have studied Comparative Literature. Though I have not studied specifically Art as a subject but my career began with an Advertising agency as a copywriter. Now these two elements have shaped my understanding on Art & Aesthetics. It has helped me effortlessly swim through all the creative genres and lends me an ability to compare and compose. I am greatly influenced by Poetry and art of Film Making. 

What sort of work do you make? I specialise in Photography and Mixed Media Art. Photography was a way to explore my lonely childhood and tumultuous boyhood, until it became a sacred part of my expressions and existence. I love depicting the smaller visuals of life and narrating the finer aspects of the abstracts around me. Stylistically, I am deeply influenced by “Lyrical Abstraction.”

What do you use the Pop My Mind platform for? I use Pop My Mind to think, compare and create from a diversified pool of creative and comparative Art. I believe that this is the only platform which gives an opportunity to all the creative genres to come together and create a unique Expression of Art and Aesthetics. And that is quite exciting. 

What's your biggest inspiration? I take a lot of inspiration from Poetry and Art of Film making. But I think my biggest inspiration is my differently able daughter, Ira. Her disability to communicate in her initial days of childhood made me resort back to photography and try to use it as a medium of expression and communication between us. And through her a whole new world has opened in front of me. 

What are your thoughts on sharing your work with a wider audience? Have you got any advice? I have never thought about it actually. Photography for me is a very private, individual journey and a sort of much needed therapy to spring back to life from the mundane. I have been told to share my work for numerous competitions but somehow I did not feel the urge for that. Maybe I am fearful to open up my expressions for a review by the wider audience.

Give one tip you think every creative should follow. Frankly I am not sure. For me either you are creative or you are not. And if you are creative then you would always have your own individuality and your way and manners to express. That workflow of ingenuity is creative for me. But if I have to give one suggestion then I must say that one should never cease to become ‘curious’. 

What are your plans for the future? I have no larger plans. I just have a few environmental and social projects in mind and I'm trying to arrange funds such that I can go for it. These will be long projects in the remotest environment which will require a deeper study to understand and subsequent document.

Photograd Experience: Joanne Coates at Photo Scratch

LCC graduate Joanne Coates is a firm supporter of Photograd and we've caught up with her again to find out about her experience of speaking at Photo Scratch. We hope you find some inspiration from Joanne's write up!


From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

Introduction: I am Joanne Coates, a photographer born and raised in rural Yorkshire and working internationally. I am based in the North of England after completing a BA (Hons) Photography degree at LCC London in 2015. My interest lies more with a visual prose, an appreciation of rurality. I identify with the marginalised, the edges. I have a democratic and poetic approach to what can be termed as the medium of "photography". Inspired by everyday stories, landscape experiences and Northern Realism. 

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

Experience: On Monday 24th April I took part in my first Photo Scratch. I had seen the event shared on social media. The night saw works-in-progress from several photographers, myself included exhibited across Hotel Elephant. Each project had a feedback box, attendees left feedback on the projects. Photo Scratch is a supportive evening for working photographers and bring with us our experience and understanding of the documentary photography and associated industries. Founded and ran by LCC Masters graduates Phil le Gal and Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz.

 
From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

 

As I live in a rural area, and spent much of time working in different areas around the UK, it can be difficult to actually talk to anyone about my work. I’ve been working on this series since March 2016 now and felt as though it was a good time to talk about it, discuss ideas, and get feedback. It’s important to see how people interact with your work. I found the experience was especially helpful. 

Work: We Live By Tha’ Water is a story. A story that toys with what we accept as real and what we accept as imagined. It is an exploration of a new life after a diagnosis of Bipolar disorder. A dark narrative that explores life on the edge lands of society. A complex visual culmination of personal anxieties and mental erosion. A drawn out fascination with power relations. It is a poetic and emotional response to the eerie elements that make up modern societies. Slowly as the story continues the boundaries begin to warp and fade. What is real and what is imagined start to blur. The island is used as a new place for the in-between. To question what is actually visible and what is known. A place between madness and sanity. Travelling to the edge of the world to explore my own subconscious.  As the Orcadian writer George McKay Brown wrote “The imagination is not an escape, but a return to the richness of our true selves, a return to reality."

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

The work itself is taken in moments of mania or moments of depression. Photo scratch offered me the chance to start bringing in other elements of the work such as search warrants, diary entries that depict the story, and pieces that tell the story of a decline in mental health. I’ve always been interested in documentary photography, but wanted my personal work to be a documentary of the self. To challenge the ways in which work. There is more to come in the series that will explain the journey more, where the viewer begins to lose sight of what is true and what isn’t. Beginning to realise if that truth matters or not in such a personal depiction. 

Future: I will be working on the series for the next year. The work best suits a book format but again I am taking my time with this project. 

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

Outcome: I would recommend Photo Scratch for working graduates. I think times are hard, and options are limited for those who can’t afford to do masters and that isn’t spoken about. The photography world seems to take it for granted that opportunities are equal and level, which they aren’t. Groups like Photo Scratch level that field supporting those who are taking risks and working in photography despite circumstances. There was a broad range of projects, no matter what level you are, you can always benefit from the advice of other minds. The night was really inclusive, and open. I love the idea of pop-up shows and happenings. My advice would be to apply to speak to Phil and Hanna.

If you would like to take part in a future Photo Scratch you can apply by emailing Phil or Hanna-Katrina

Photograd Experience: Scott Charlesworth at LAW Magazine

Falmouth University graduate, Scott Charlesworth, recently got in touch with Photograd to tell us all about his work experience in the industry since graduating. Scott interned at LAW Magazine and he's here to tell us his thoughts and recommendations. We hope you enjoy.


Scott Charlesworth. A Northern lad at heart but not by nature. A big fish in a one club town. I’m a romantic at heart and see life in details, not just as a bigger picture. The thought of conforming to your stereotypical working class life is something that both haunts and motivates me to produce work. I recall a summer job working in a kitchen joinery factory, a way of life for some friends of mine, and now use this to spur me on within my endeavours rather than admit defeat and fall into, what seemed to be, my destined industrial grave.

I studied photography both at college and university, graduating in 2016 from Falmouth’s BA Hons Photography course. I spent multiple evenings teaching myself photography via YouTube tutorials during my teenage years, enthralled by the technical side of the art form. 

Although Falmouth lacked practical teaching of photography, it did make me appreciate the contextual and historical importance of image making, persuading me to abandon lifestyle and the like-friendly imagery that pollutes modern day social media screens. 

I often found guest lectures at Falmouth disinteresting, lacklustre and void of relevance in relation to the work that I wanted to produce. Then LAW Magazine made an appearance; the theatre was full and there was a general buzz within the audience. They wore white socks with arctic camo, their words were humble and the work was honest. They reinforced everything that I had tried to argue with my tutors which was discarded as naivety and inexperience. Never had a publication or piece of work resided with what I felt I stood for and I was determined to be a part of it, whatever that was. 

LAW Magazine CV (click to enlarge)

Wanting to impress LAW in the same way that they had stunned me, I built my CV with only them in mind. John Holt, the Editor and overall top lad, was quick to accept my application and I began my internship immediately after completing my final year. My first week was spent delivering magazines across London and up keeping the close relationship that LAW has with its stockists. Although it may seem like a menial task, I was just happy to play a part in something that I truly believed in.

As the weeks passed I was slowly trusted with other tasks. My first assignment was to provide contextual references and styling for the much anticipated re-release of the Fila Trailblazer, drawing inspiration from the 90’s acid house scene in which they gained their initial notoriety. Seeing the process go from scribbles on paper to the final images (shot by Theo Cottle) was a surreal process and one, still to this day, that I feel honoured to be part of.

 
Fila Trailblazer shoot

Fila Trailblazer shoot

 

Following the success of this project, I was trusted with a string of opportunities ranging from hanging Sophie Green’s Dented Pride solo exhibition, photographing launch events and assisting on multiple occasions; most notably London Fashion Week Mens. 

 
LAW 9 Launch Image

LAW 9 Launch Image

 

What became apparent after spending several months at LAW Magazine was the sense of community within each person that associated themselves with the publication. Inspiration could be found in the simplest of conversations and contributors celebrated one another’s success rather than just their own. I had moved to London not knowing anybody and to feel accepted within such a tight-knit group of like-minded creatives filled me with a sense of belonging.

LAW 9 Rave Poster

LAW 9 Rave Poster

Before arriving at LAW I had set myself the goal to have at least one image published within the next issue. As a result of perseverance and willingness to lend a hand regardless of the task at hand, John and Joe Prince (the creative director) trusted me with shooting a major project as part of LAW 9. This collaboration with some of London’s biggest design studios focused on rave posters often found at roundabouts. When the images and my name finally made its way to print, I was astounded by what I had achieved in the time that had passed since LAW initially visited my university. Having the ability to say that I was part of a publication that I hold dear to my heart is my most humbling accomplishment to date and I cannot thank LAW enough. 

Me shooting Rave Posters

Me shooting Rave Posters

Following my seven-month placement, I have returned to The North West of England to pursue a Masters Degree in Marketing with aspirations of starting my own publication.

Photobook Review: 'Coalville Photographed' reviewed by Lucy Bentham

We're constantly thrilled and excited that Photograd has the ability to bring together creatives and form unique collaborations. Graduate and working photographer Chris Mear created Coalville Photographed last year and recently approached independent curator and photographer Lucy Bentham to review the publication.

Here are the results.


Coalville Photographed by Graham Ellis: A series of short films and photographs by Christopher Mear

Self published edition of 25

At first glance, the cover of this book gives little detail as to what might be found within the pages. A series of eight QR codes are neatly arranged above the title suggesting, perhaps, that this book contains a cold, technological study of something, well, cold and technology based. The reality is quite different. 

In fact, the book contains fifty images made by both the author and the photographer he has collaborated with to construct this narrative. Mear has followed a fellow photographer making photographs in his local area in order to become closer to the place and this has resulted in a deeper understanding of both the place and methodology. Initially, this method of documenting place becomes twice removed from the subject as Mear puts himself of the position of the documenter documenting the documenter. I am drawn to this notion in the way that if only we could document ourselves as we undertake a project, our methodologies would be in the spotlight, and what becomes of our chosen subjects?

It is clear, throughout the book, that Mear is continually questioning Ellis about his methods and position as a photographer and vice versa:

‘How much do you want to be an ‘excellent’ photographer? Is it something you want to do or is it something you’re going to do? But what’s the difference?’

Ellis asks this of Mear and Mear asks a number of questions pertaining to photography as an art with a series of interspersed quotations from famed photographers throughout. 

We pursue Mear following Ellis during the series of moving images (found on YouTube via the QR codes) and, if you can see around the few technical issues – like the increasingly maddening flatlining sound from the van, or the obstruction of road noise drowning Ellis’ voice – then these monochrome records deepen our connection with Ellis. In contrast to the sense gauged from the book, the moving image additionally distances Mear from his associations with the place, presenting mostly as the cameraperson with a few indications that he remains as the camera occasionally wanders off to the side to look at something he is interested in, not Ellis. Because of this apparent distinction, I question whether the book and the moving image are unified from the perspective of the viewer. The moving image existing without the book makes Mear invisible and puts him in the sole position of the cameraperson – yet his presence is palpably felt within the pages of the book. 

 
 

This book, and the project it contains, is achingly familiar as a documentary project of place. But it goes much further in positing a breadth of questions regarding the role of the photographer and the relationships held between practising photographers. Especially considering those making projects about the ‘same’ place or subject, it has to be noted that this book also defines the distinctions between how crucial the position of the photographer is, how our subjectivities are central to what we see, and the varieties of experience we bring to each enquiry or investigation.  

N.B. As ever, this is a subjective review of a piece of work I am considering through my lens as a photographer and curator as well as reader/viewer. 

Photograd turns 1!

Photograd made it to a year old this week and celebrated with an exhibition at the University of Suffolk. The show has been home to work by some of the featured photographers on the platform in the last year, but sadly it has to be taken down this week. Many of the prints are being donated to the universities final year photography group who are currently fundraising for their two final shows. We really hope the donated images can help them on their way.

See the featured graduates who have helped us celebrate alongside some installation shots of the exhibition here.

We know that some of you were able to visit Ipswich and see the exhibition for yourselves. We've created an online version of the catalogue for those who couldn't make a visit. You can find it here.

Introducing Photograd Instagram Features

Here at Photograd we are continuously working on new Features but occasionally new, exciting projects can get in the way. We don't want this result in a collection of half hearted Features when there isn't enough time to really discuss that photographers work. That's not the aim! Features are comprehensive and very personal, so the process of creating new ones is saved for times when things aren't too hectic.

So, to compromise, we're starting something new. Something that current photography students can also get involved with. Photograd Instagram Features will show just one image from a graduate or student with a short description about the work. This idea is open to graduates old and new, current students and even those already featured on the platform. Any completed images can be sent to us for consideration but please bear in mind that not all submitted images will be posted.

To be considered for a Photograd Instagram Feature please email us the following, along with any questions you may have, to photogradsub@gmail.com:

  • Name, university, and graduation year
  • Instagram handle
  • No more than 3 images from your chosen series
  • A very short description of yourself and/or the series
  • A few relevant hashtags

Photograd's First Birthday Exhibition at the University of Suffolk

To celebrate our upcoming first birthday we're exhibiting work from some of the graduates featured on the platform in its first year. 40 graduates bring you a wide variety of work at the University of Suffolk's Arts Café until mid April.

 
Installation image of some of the work at the Arts Café (From left to right: Liam Collins, Christina Stohn, Victoria Chetley, Marie-Louise Garratt, Jocelyn Allen, Leticia Batty, Matt MacPake, Alastair Bartlett)

Installation image of some of the work at the Arts Café

(From left to right: Liam Collins, Christina Stohn, Victoria Chetley, Marie-Louise Garratt, Jocelyn Allen, Leticia Batty, Matt MacPake, Alastair Bartlett)

 

We're really pleased to announce that the hard work planning our first exhibition is over... but now we're creating new Spotlight's and uploading new Features to the platform! The work doesn't stop here but a huge thank you does go to everybody who contributed to the show and provided tremendous support to the planning of it all!

 
Installation image of some of the work at the Arts Café (From left to right: Andrea Allan, Declan Connolly, Charlotte and Georgia Bennett, Andreea Teleaga)

Installation image of some of the work at the Arts Café

(From left to right: Andrea Allan, Declan Connolly, Charlotte and Georgia Bennett, Andreea Teleaga)

 

Many of you have already asked for directions to the exhibition and so we figured this is the best place to share them. You'll need to head to the main Waterfront Building at the university to obtain a visitor pass to access the space, you'll then need to walk across the road to the Arts Café where you'll hopefully spot Photograd posters in the window.

 

Silas Dominey - Superstition Winner

University: Brighton University, MA Photography

Websitewww.silasdominey.com

Artist Statement:

On the grounds of Bolton Priory there is a place called The Strid where the full breadth of the River Wharf is turned sideways through an unmapped tangle of underwater caverns.

While beautiful, it has a macabre history. At the narrowest point the river appears just wide enough to cross at a leap. Many who have tried slip and fall to their deaths. Years of erosion have channelled out an underwater tomb below. The bodies of the drowned rarely surface.

These photos are about this place and the unique qualities that make it so dangerous and alluring.

Untitled, 2016. The Striding Place.

Untitled, 2016. The Striding Place.

The Striding Place: The initial brief for the series came from our Experimental Practice module. I grew up near the river Wharfe so the Strid was just something I’d always known about, but I didn’t realise the amount of history surrounding it until I started looking into it. The title is taken from a short horror story by Gertrude Atherton.

While making the work I was looking at British landscape photography like The River Winter by Jem Southam, but I think I was also influenced by more impressionistic stuff like Rinko Kawauchi. I shot the series on a few different cameras, some 120 film, some digital, and the studio work was done on a digital Hasselblad.

 
Untitled, 2016. The Striding Place.

Untitled, 2016. The Striding Place.

 

University experience and MA at Brighton University: I did my BA at Leeds College of Art, which was a great experience. I was a little older than most when I started, so I think I was able to appreciate what a good environment it was to be in. After that I worked as an in-house photographer for a creative agency in Leeds, which was wonderful training for the technical side of things and the process of making images on a daily basis. I chose to study an MA because I felt like I’d let the critical thinking part of my brain lapse a bit. Brighton just seemed like a good place to be with the amount of photo related activity that goes on here, and the tutors and technical staff have been fantastic.

 
Untitled, 2016. The Striding Place.

Untitled, 2016. The Striding Place.

 

Your work in general: I don’t think I could pin down my work very precisely at the moment. As an in-house photographer at an agency you’re often required to be a bit of a chameleon and adopt different styles for each job. The Striding Place was very experimental, and completely out of character for me, so right now I’m just trying to find a direction for my final project. 

Untitled, 2016. The Striding Place.

Untitled, 2016. The Striding Place.

Superstition submission: I’d seen the Superstition competition on Twitter a few times before I realised I had a fitting body of work pretty much ready to go. It’s been a nice surprise, and quite hectic dealing with interview questions, etc. Winning something like this really forces you to have something to say about your work, I think often photography students have more trouble talking about their work than anything. I’m really happy to have won some prints from Spectrum, which will be a huge help with putting my final show together. My only advice for entering competitions is to be a bit savvy about the terms and conditions. Make sure you know what you’re getting in to, as there are a lot of disreputable rights-grabbing photo contests out there.

Photograd Experience: Arron Hansford - MA Photography at MMU

We recently chatted to Arron Hansford, a current MA Photography student at Manchester Metropolitan University, about his education experience, current body of work, and future plans. Continue reading to see what Arron has to say.


Introduction: I am Arron Hansford. I am an artist currently living and working in Manchester. I am studying towards my MA in Photography at Manchester Metropolitan University. I mainly work with photography but my work has included moving image, sound and poetry, it tends to be routed within the confessional art movement, taking inspiration from artists such as Tracy Emin, and Louise Bourgeois, and has explored subjects such as mental health, relationships and self discovery, I like to leave entrances in my work and allow my audience to find their own way into the art, my work has been described as cryptic and emotionally driven, and relies very much on the spontaneity of feeling.

 
Test series from current work Father Please, 2017

Test series from current work Father Please, 2017

 

Experience: I completed my BA studies in Photography back in 2012 at Manchester Metropolitan University. I like to be honest with people regarding my experience during my BA, and I can openly admit that I did not take full advantage of my time there. I did come out with a fairly good grade but I feel I was not ready at the time to study for my BA. My understanding and approach to my art at the time was not mature, and this does show from the work I produced during my time there. MMU (Manchester Metropolitan University) is fantastic for nurturing creativity, but as with many things in life you get out of it what you put in.

I started my MA in September 2016. Following my BA I had bounced from one unsatisfying job to another, but I was still pursuing my passion for art on the side. Over the years following my BA my understanding and appreciation for art had began to mature, along with my practice, and in 2016 I felt ready again to pursue my art full time, feeling comfortable with MMU from my BA days I decided to re enrol.

Upon starting my MA I immediately loved the freedom that came with the course; being able to set your own brief from initial research to the planning of the final exhibition has allowed me to work on my own terms and completely in my own style. Alongside this I have massively enjoyed being back and working with like minded people; we meet every Wednesday to discuss our progress together and I’ve found the consistent advice and feedback from my peers to be crucial in my development as an artist. My MA has been very self driven as you have to manage your own time and encourage yourself to work which helps build professional thinking.

 
From the series Father Please

From the series Father Please

 

Our current timetable is quite intense. We have 1 year (2 years part time) to work on a single project which will be our final major piece. Placed throughout this year are 2 extra modules; a professional platform module (which allows you to chose an outside work placement) and an optional unit (optional units from health and wellbeing to archival work, encouraging collaboration with other artists).

Work and outcome: My current piece for my MA is entitled Father Please and is an exploration of my difficult relationship with my father, I knew that I wanted to undertake this project before applying for my MA so I used the concept as the written proposal for my course application. Since starting on the course the work has evolved so much, and in a positive way is almost unrecognisable from my original concept, and I have been encouraged regularly to try new approaches and ideas by my tutor that I otherwise wouldn’t have considered. The subject matter for my series as with a lot of my work, is highly personal, and my tutors and peers have treated the project with respect and understanding.

Alongside my series of photographic images for Father Please is a selection of sound bites. These sounds are from the breaking down of the image using a programme called audacity. When the image has been broken down the raw data becomes audible. Experimenting with sound is something that I had only slight experience with, but I have been collaborating with the sound department at MMU and they have been more than happy to help and to share their knowledge.

 
From the series Father Please

From the series Father Please

 

The work so far has lead to deeper theoretical thinking in regards to how we construct photographic images, and how we ‘place’ messages within them. I am currently conducting research into steganography and the parallels it draws photography and art in general. Upon completing my MA in September 2017 I wish to pursue a PHD, but may possibly go through the route of an MFA, the idea of which is being encouraged by my peers and tutors.

Artist Statement: Father Please is a photographic and audio exploration of a struggling relationship between a father and a son. My relationship with my father has always been a difficult one; we struggle to connect on an emotional level, so much so that at some points in our lives we have appeared almost like strangers. Throughout my life my father has had a habit of giving me items that he no longer needs or wants, and I have seen this as an attempt to build bridges and an attempt to communicate on his part, however over the years I have found the whole process to be stifling and it has seemed to build bigger barriers and further break down any communication.

 
From the series Father Please

From the series Father Please

 

The images for Father Please are performances, staged using the transitional objects passed down to me, the objects are juxtaposed in such a way as to obscure the son and to halt any attempt at communication, and in effect are gagging him. Objects are something that I have used extensively within my work both in the past and currently; I feel that everyday objects carry a certain power when it comes to explaining situations and lives.

The use of sound comes from the need for me to give a voice to the character within the images, and to use that voice to try and reach out to his father and be heard for the first time, it relies on the intonation of the sounds to carry a message of desperation and need.

Future: Father Please will be exhibited at Manchester Metropolitan University in September 2017. I will continue to work on the series up until then and also continue my research into steganography and the communicatory power of photography and art. I will then begin to apply for a PHD position within the university for which MMU currently has funding. After this I would like to begin lecturing in photography and art.

Overall I am so glad that I took time out between my MA and BA, it gave me time to develop personally as an artist, I think sometime it's very easy to become controlled by an academic environment. It's good to know who you are as an artist and where you want to go before settling into such a serious commitment.

Photobook Review: 'Hide That Can' Reviewed by Chris Mear

We're really pleased to say that the last photobook review on the blog has inspired a brand new one! Earlier this month, University of Plymouth graduate Lucy Bentham reviewed Tracing a Line Along a Breath Exhaled by Carly Seller, and this time around Staffordshire University graduate Chris Mear has written his own review of an influential photobook.


Photographer & Title: Hide That Can by Deirdre O’Callaghan. Published by Trolley Books (2002).

Genre: Documentary photography  

Rating: 5/5

A lone, bearded, ginger man, chewing on the hair of his moustache. Avoiding eye contact by pulling his green, stained and faded hat over his eyes. A thick brown stain on the inside of the collar of his jacket. The blood red of the inside cover, followed by a dedication to Joe McGarry. Is this the stranger that greeted my so warm yet shy on the front cover? I don’t know. Another turn of a page confronts you with a handwritten sign; “We admitted we were powerless against alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable.” Four photographs of Arlington House, London. Men passing, entering, exiting and lingering outside, lead into a “rant” from the U2 frontman, Bono. He concludes with one of only two mentions of the photographs that follow; “These photographs have a dignity and humour that make them a true record of lives lived… Photography so often pitches the instant against the eternal, and so many beautiful faces are really not… these photographs are true, and the truth is always beautiful and disturbing.”

 
Hide That Can front cover

Hide That Can front cover

 

Men dominate the pages. Some of them seem confident. Playing with me. Joking. Laughing. Others are quiet, looking on from the background. Peering over a shoulder. The combination of image and text allows me to hear their voices. I replace the photographer. I’m there. Intimate moments shared with men with bruises and stitches on their face. Stitches echoed by those that bind the book, sometimes running right through the battered faces of these kind and brutally quick witted men.

Men taking regular toilet breaks behind trees as they embark on a day trip to the seaside. Echoes of childhood by the sea, with Mojo sitting on a horse and cart amusement ride clutching a bottle of super strong lager. A glance down from the end of the pier reveals the violent tide raging towards a child lost in the excitement of chasing away the seagulls, before a moving series of portraits of men in their bedrooms, as they delve into their past and their relationship with alcohol.

Hide That Can photobook

Hide That Can photobook

The book ends with a series of pictures of the residents on a trip back to Ireland, where many of the men who reside at Arlington House migrated from during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, in search of work. “Some people in life, if they lose out they throw in the towel. You never throw in the towel ‘cause tomorrow is another day.” John explains as we stand at the edge of a beach and look out to sea, watching a lone man float away.

Hide That Can photobook

Hide That Can photobook

Empathy, compassion, humour and a generous ear. Hide That Can, for me, effortlessly applies the best qualities of both human nature and photography. The photographer is invisible. The medium of photography irrelevant. For me, it offers an outstretched hand, an invitation, to anybody who needs or wants to accept it. Photographer or not, it’s work like this that recognises our common humanity and vulnerability. It not only educates me, but it makes me feel less alone. The ultimate, rather extraordinary, accomplishment for a book, in my opinion.