The state of Photography: Symposium, 11th October 2019, Birmingham City University


Friday 11th October 2019
9:30 am – 17:30 pm
Birmingham City University, The Parkside Building, B4 7BE

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The State of Photography will consider, explore, debate and review how photographers and photography practice develops and responds in this political moment. How do we look at our world today, how do we collaborate and work with communities and what does the world look like to photographers?

We invite acclaimed and outstanding photographers, artists, writers and curators who work collaboratively and in the fields of community photography and socially engaged photography to join us, to give important historical context, to debate contemporary approaches and to talk about their practice at this time of political uncertainty, international crisis and creeping right wing ideologies. Each have different approaches to making their work, to engaging with individuals and communities and to telling stories. They have been artist, story teller, observer, collaborator, explorer and researcher.

Some collaborate closely with community members, marginalised groups and those with little or no opportunity to speak out, others offer a more external perspectives on social issues and situations. Does one offer a better more ethical way? Is it important to come from a community or do you become too involved? Is objectivity important? How do we ensure the engagement is sincere and does not exploit? And where does the artist and author feature in the work?

The role of photography is changing, particularly as work is commissioned and made for exhibition and gallery settings. Photography can impart the greatest truth of our times and sheds light on injustices, inequality and other aspects of our society. It has been and remains one of the strongest vehicles for change as photographers explore polities, gender, society, sexuality, diversity, economics and environment. It seems today – a time of political unrest, flux and crisis – more essential than ever to explore the role that photography can play.

During the Symposium we will hear from the perspective of the photographer, curator and academic. They share our concerns about the present and offer a diverse range of practices, experiences and stories that document the state of humanity and the world today.

The State of Photography Symposium aims to present new bodies of work, question and challenge ideas, as well as offering advice and talking about positive approaches to influence change, provoke, prompt and give a voice. We will hear from and celebrate those that create self-initiated projects and commissioned bodies of work and see a range of photographic practices that are at the cutting edge of photography now.

Speakers Include:


  • Concession: £18

  • Standard: £25
    *Please note prices include tea/coffee in breaks but do not include lunch. Book your tickets here

Image Credit: (c) Daniel Meadows. Portrait from the Free Photographic Omnibus. Barrow-in-Furness, November 1974.

Zak Dimitrov, 'Branches of a Tree in Winter' zine and photobook

We have two brand new items in the Photograd shop. A riso print, one colour zine and a hardcover, velvet bound photobook with free print, both by 2019 MA graduate Zak Dimitrov.

University: MA Photographic Arts – University of Westminster 2019. BA (Hons) Photography – Arts University Bournemouth 2015


Photography is a medium of love and loss. As Carol Mavor suggests, the photograph is an amorous catastrophe, severed from time, yet loved for holding time, umbilically connected to its referent. A picture of a lover is stolen from the original like a thin layer of skin. Having been on over 100 dates since I moved to London 4 years ago, I decided to reconnect with my former lovers. We spoke about our time together, why things between us unraveled and how life has been since then. A melancholic journey, the project empowered me to finally come out to my parents after a decade of unspoken truths. The work combines portraits of the men I once desired, stills from LGBT films with typewritten quotes from my partner at the time and relics I have saved as mementos. Branches of a Tree in Winter touches upon nostalgia and retrospect, lost love and times forever gone, but it is also hopeful. After all, these men agreed to collaborate, expecting nothing in return.


TitleBranches of a Tree in Winter

Artist: Zak Dimitrov

Publication date and place: 2019, UK

Format, binding: Softcover, staple binding

Printing: Riso print, one colour

Number of pages and images: 24 pages, 20 images + 1 cover image

£8 + p&p, available to purchase here in the Photograd shop.


TitleBranches of a Tree in Winter

Artist: Zak Dimitrov

Publication date and place: 2019, UK

Edition: 25

Format, binding: Hardcover concertina, velvet bound. Paper debossed wrapper and a tipped-in print with an envelope and letter on the back inside.

Number of pages and images: 33 pages, 30 images

This book comes with a signed 10x8” print of choice by Zak.

Price on request, but also available through the Photograd shop here.


Where You Are Not

Copeland Gallery, Peckham
24th-28th September 2019
Official Opening Party 26th September

Alexander Mourant installation view at Truman Brewery

Alexander Mourant installation view at Truman Brewery

"The colour of there seen from here, the colour of where you are not” - Rebecca Solnit.

A group exhibition of work by 8 contemporary artists explored through their use of the colour blue. These artists have had tremendous success in their careers to date; exhibiting across the world at prestigious events such as Frieze & Unseen, and feature in many international collections.

Due to Copeland Gallery’s generous sponsorship, this exhibition has been organised by Maddie Rose Hills without artist fees or commission in a genuine attempt champion the work without financial motive.

Production costs are being funded through Kickstarter with art and tickets to events for sale from £5-£400.

Alexander Mourant

Alexander Mourant


Tess Williams has had solo shows in Germany, Spain and the UK, and has been selected for numerous group exhibitions across Europe. Her work is held in collections in the UK, Europe and the USA.

Tom Pope this year took his performance piece One Square Club to Frieze LA. Graduated with an MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art in 2011. Upon graduating he won the Deutsche Bank Artist Award.

Florence Sweeney’s work is in international collections. She’s recently exhibited with Guts Gallery, Espositivo Madrid, SWAB Art Fair Barcelona, The Dot Project London & a solo show at Lily Brooke Gallery, London.

Alexander Mourant’s work has been included in FT Weekend Magazine, British Journal of Photography, Photograph, Unseen Magazine and The Greatest Magazine. He has won the Free Range Award and was recently nominated for Foam Paul Huf Award.

Maddie Rose Hills has exhibited in London, Paris & Barcelona with an artist residency in Iceland. Her paintings have been acquired by the British Airways collection. Commissions include The Dorchester’s 45 Park Lane.

Simone Mudde is a 2019 New Contemporaries artist. Exhibitions with The Photographers Gallery & Unseen Amsterdam. Recipient of RCA New Photographers Prize and shortlisted for European Photography Award.

Katrina Russell-Adams graduated with a degree in Behavioural Sciences. With a successful career in social housing under her belt she took a break to bring up 3 children before coming to art. Artist commissions include ITV and London Borough of Culture.

Matilda Little is a graduate of Central St Martins, her work work directs the viewers attention to the idea of the ‘object’ and questions the object’s status, and in turn our hierarchy of values.

Florence Sweeney

Florence Sweeney

Maddie Rose Hills

Maddie Rose Hills

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Exhibition Preview:
Pay £15 on Kickstarter: Visit the show on the opening night, 24th September, alongside a small group of 50 guests from 7-8pm. This is a chance to speak to the artists as well as being the first to preview the work. Ticket includes a glass of champagne. Buy

Artist Talk | On Blue and Photography
£5 on Kickstarter: By utilising the colour blue as a trigger point, artists Tom Pope, Simone Mudde and Alexander Mourant, will explore their approach to medium, practice and a sense of being in the world. We are thrilled that Duncan Wooldridge will be joining us in the gallery to chair the talk. Duncan is an artist, writer and curator. He is Course Director for Fine Art Photography at Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London. He writes regularly for 1000 Words, Artforum, Art Monthly, and Foam. His curatorial projects include 'Anti-Photography' (2011), 'John Hilliard: Not Black and White' (2014), and 'Moving The Image: Photography and its Actions' (2019). He is currently writing 'The Photograph as Experiment', published in 2020. Saturday 28th September 4pm. Buy

View all event descriptions on the website.

Claire Griffiths at the Cindy Sherman Retrospective, National Portrait Gallery London

Northampton University graduate Claire Griffiths visited the Cindy Sherman Retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery in London earlier this Summer and has reported her experience for the Photograd blog. The Cindy Sherman Retrospective closes on 15th September 2019.

Do we all long to dress up and create disguises for ourselves? Dying our hair, wearing labels, makeup - how we are seen is perhaps more evident than ever in a world where technology is racing at an unprecedented rate and 93 million selfies being taken on average per day. I felt it in my late teens, the need to be seen and unseen and when I got to Art School the camera became a perfect disguise.

Cindy Sherman had made me see photography and the art world in a new way as an art student, pre selfie generation so when her retrospective came to The National Portrait Gallery I rushed to buy tickets. Coinciding with a showing of work supported by the RPS 100Heroines initiative which I had somehow been accepted into entitled (Unframing Identities).

I was to be in London for three days and on the first day I arrived at the exhibition as it opened. Unsure whether my tickets were booked (their system was down at the time), but they let me in, and I walked in like I was entering a Rolling Stones concert ready to experience Sherman's work up close and personal. It felt like seeing an old friends work, someone who had inspired me when it felt like the art world was closed quarters and photography a male orientated past time.

When I started my Fine Art Degree circa 1998 I was dead sure I wanted to paint and draw perhaps become a costume or set designer. Somewhere in my psyche I had always felt drawn to fashion but ended up on a Fine Art Degree, the course offered: painting, sculpture print and another option: Photography. These were the days before digital and the dark room seemed like a place of sanctuary. It still seemed like source material to me though and was not entirely convinced photography was an art, I thought it was perhaps a "cop out" for people who couldn't draw or paint.

Then one week in art history, Cindy Sherman appeared. Our female Art History tutor, Wendy, was a jolly feminist and talked to us about the male gaze and my whole being "woke up". Cindy Sherman along with people like Gillian Wearing and Sophie Calle depicted a different way of using photography for me, a way to communicate what it was to be a women, telling their own stories, communicating their own feelings of things associated with the human condition and often what it is to be a women. Sherman in particular had seemed to be able to encapsulate a whole plethora of things I wanted to do: Fashion, set design, costume and story telling.

On entering the show her large scale images roared at me unapologetically and led me to rooms filled with familiar and unseen work. Untitled film stills 1977-1980 mimicking ideas from traditional female tropes in film noir or Hitchcock was thrilling to see as a series, I had only seen this work in books or on TV. I stood mesmerised as I watched her film Doll Clothes made whilst she was a student, a stop motion playing with dressing up and thought "I wish I had thought of that".

Her work is perhaps more relevant than ever as a whole group of young women (and men) grow up with filters and selfies and more impossible beauty standards to adhere to but Sherman has been exploring these themes for decades. Her Dummy Vogue covers smile down at us, a vampish Jerry Hall gazes back and metaphorizes into a goofy Sherman portrait. Her newer self portraits of women staring down at the viewer yield a vulnerability that I am grateful for, women holding onto youth and beauty, images created on a grand scale imitating what we might find in an upstate apartment in New York perhaps of one of Trumps exes or an ex movie star.

It might not be Sherman until we look closer and find her hidden under thick make up and elaborate wigs. A sense of sadness prevails as our own youth and passing of time is presented to us through Sherman's images - whilst round the corner we find her dressed as a clown grotesquely facing the viewer as if to say "Lets laugh at beauty and ourselves together". For me Sherman opened doors for women making photographs continues to inspire further generations. She took the lens away from a masculine view point, made it her own enabling fresh female perspective, using humour, skill and story telling. To Cindy Sherman I am forever grateful. Go see the show.

Huw Alden Davies, 'Xennial'


Exploring 'new' territories, studying the concept of a micro generation described as Xennials  (an original analysis through photographic practice), Xennial  (my new series) will explore an uncharted generation that bridges the gap between two eras described as X gens and Millennials, while broadening the perspective of Welsh culture through the device of photography and lens based media.

Set in the peripheral of a small ex-mining village in the Gwendraeth Valley, at the dawn of a new era, this project will be a visual and multi media collaboration, which attempts to provide a modern and un-clichéd perspective of Welsh-ness, and a rare look into one of Wales lesser explored culturally rich communities. Celebrating the wonder of childhood, friendship, and all things welsh, Dreaming in Colour will tell the tale of an 80s generation that saw the best of both worlds, old and new, while expanding the visual identity of Wales beyond its stereotypical archetypes. 

Xennial is currently made up of four parts and available through a variety of mediums and outlets as follows:

Y Broncs

An integral component of this project, Y Broncs is a live, raw, interactive documentary series, based in the Gwendraeth Valley. Charting a generation of Welsh ‘Tumble folk’ that belonged to a completely different era. Comprising of Seventeen Weekly Webisodes, this is an alternative look at the 'Now and Then' while examining the concept of community and its social structures. (Available now on:


Xennial - Exhibit X 

Unlike anything else, Exhibit X is an Retro Instagram feature that pushes the boundaries. Packed with visual and written narratives that will take you on a journey back in time, stirring your senses, while inviting you to contribute your own memories. In an attempt to create a document that is a true reflection of a generation lost.

 (Starts 04 September over on Instagram)


Xennial - Dreaming in Colour 

Featured as part of Many Voices One Nation, a touring exhibition curated by Ffotogallery and the National Assembly for Wales. Forming part of the programme of events and activities throughout 2019 to mark the first 20 years of devolution in Wales. Xennial explores the concept of a micro generation that bridges the gap between two eras described as X gens and Millennials, while broadening the perspective of Welsh culture through the device of photography and lens based media.

(Opens at the Senedd, Cardiff, Thursday 05 September)


Xennial - Existentialist

Including a collection of voices, existentialist is a new collaborative blog / diary (similar to Prince St), which attempts to paint a bigger picture of what it was like to grow up in the Gwendraeth Valley, Wales, during the 80s and 90s.

(Starts this September)

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Introducing The Phooks

The Phooks

We're The Phooks — an open online library and marketplace for self- and indiepublished photobooks and zines. The project has one goal — to create a meeting point of publishing community interests by helping all the interested sides.


How does The Phooks work? Everyone is welcomed to submit their photobooks for free. Accepted books are placed in the library for the lifetime. Publishers get access to the "Seller's Account" where they can manage their books, receive orders and payouts. Ordered books are shipped by publishers directly to clients.

What's on The Phooks side? We're working to make people aware of every published title. It includes social media content distribution, paid advertising, website SEO optimization, email marketing. Now we're starting to work on partnerships and PR projects.

Another huge part of our work is hidden behind the scenes and focused on customer experience to make sales happen. Design, user interface optimization, payment & transactions services, order execution process, customer support and many more.

What does The Phooks get? We charge only sales commissions when an order happens and we're committed to keeping fees low.

Here are the figures for now:

For products priced above $15:
5% from ordered products price + $3 fixed commission

For products priced below $15 like zines or small books:
5% from ordered products price + $1 fixed commission

What's on our plans? To keep growing fast and become more and bring more value. We're focused on helping artists and publishers become more visible around the globe and the next big step is to launch a periodical printed zine in the nearest future.

"The Book on Photobooks" which will represent artists and collectives — members of The Phooks library, their stories and, of course, books.

Help The Phooks to help the community. We work in a paradigm of doing things fast, focusing on the main things, avoiding complexity and unnecessary expenses. Your support and participation mean a lot for The Phooks, whether you're an artist, collector or both at the same time.

Don't forget to Submit Your Photobook and let your friends know about the opportunity.

Who Stands Behind? Max Zhiltsov, street and documentary photography enthusiast, self-publishing newbie, brand and marketing strategist.


The world around us is ever-changing, and our lives are diving further into a digital state. On average, we are presented with thousands of digital images every day, most of which are trying to sell us something. Sometimes our bodies and minds are hungry for material forms of being, and interactions with the world around us. Objects like the book, which not only release our mind from this 'never-ending ad' but also feed our minds with stories, thoughts, opinions and beliefs.

"People still have a huge desire for the book, for the printed object that they can hold."- Olivia Arthur for Magnum Photos

The book as an object has been a crucial part of our learning and history since Roman times, however, a new type of content has been emerging since the creation of the camera. Photobooks are perceived as inferior in content and thought, but the opposite is to be said about them. Photography books can come in a wide variety of shapes and content, from visual poetry and storytelling, to even showcase beauty and mystery within a single image.

Although the digital world can have a negative side, we can all agree that it has made things easier in regards to self-publishing work, such as Zines and Photobooks. With worldwide printing and shipping services, accessible prices and easy to follow guidelines, producing and launching printed material is easier than ever before. However, some artists invest all their time and energy and don’t have the resources to reach an audience who is willing to support their projects by buying their books. And the ones that are being sold are sold directly to photographers like us.

“Photobooks are having a golden era but the concern is that we are making them for each other”- Fred Ritchin Article for Magnum Photos

The Phooks was created for publishers to present and sell their books to a worldwide audience. We source content from all continents, allowing us to showcase unique and exciting books, which are often overlooked. Any photographer who has self-published a piece of work is welcome to add their books into our library and advertise it for free.

Every title has equal representation within our platform and it receives the same attention when showcasing to agencies, collectors and other outlets around the photography industry.

For the past few months, we have been working closely with creators to create a library we can be proud of and can share with collectors and photography outlets. We currently have over 50 pieces of work and are working to double that number in the next couple of months. We are working closely with different photography magazines and websites to showcase and review some of the titles we house, as well as The Phooks writing weekly blogs and reviews for individual books.

Our future will bring incredible opportunities. We want The Phooks to be a community, where artists and viewers can join together, share experiences, knowledge and passion.
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A 2019 Photography Graduate Zine - Submissions Open

Due to the success of previous zines here at Photograd we are hoping to become an advocate for new graduates every year through the creation and production of an annual zine. Whether downloadable or in printed form, our aim is to become a well recognised and respected outlet for brand new talent, showcasing the very best of that years collection of new photographers.

We recognise the market is full and there is an overwhelming amount of competitions to submit to, platforms to show work, and people to reach out to, but Photograd is authentic, original, experimental, and recognised in the industry. Our connections want to see your work and we love the creative process prior to showcasing those we think and know are worthy of our exposure.

We don’t turn people away here at Photograd and aim to accommodate everybody where we possibly can. We want to see all work from BA and MA photography graduates who have completed a UK course in 2019.

This time around our yearly zine will be of downloadable form as we aim to discover our place in the industry for an annual collection of graduate work.

Here are the details


  • At least 15 graduates will be selected for this downloadable zine and will be invoiced for the cost of £5 to cover the time spent producing and promoting.

  • Those selected will receive a free download of the final zine and a discount code for a friend or family member for 50% off.

  • Those selected will be added to the Photograd mailing list and will be informed of future opportunities.

  • Those selected will be sent a copy of the Photograd logo for their website.


  • Open to 2019 photography graduates who studied in the UK only, either on a BA or MA course. Please email with any questions.

  • Entries will only be accepted via by the deadline given. No late submissions will be accepted.

  • Make it clear in your submission email if you have specific images you’d like included in the zine if selected.

  • Copyright of all images submitted will be owned by the photographer.

  • Photograd retains the right to use selected images for the intended purpose of the website, and related social media accounts for promotion. Credit will always be given.


  • University and course.

  • A 200 word max series statement.

  • 5 - 10 images attached to the email at 10 inches on the longest side at 96dpi. Download links such as wetransfer will not be accepted. Links to websites will also not be accepted.

  • Website and social media handles.

Submissions are free as always but donations are greatly appreciated. Making a donation will not affect how work is seen, selected, or promoted by Photograd.

Deadline for submissions: Midnight Monday 7th October 2019.

TEIFI, a solo show by Falmouth University 2019 MA graduate Isabella Campbell

Isabella Campbell presents a long-term body of work revolving around the river Teifi, set in the heart of West Wales.

PRIVATE VIEW: Saturday 3 August 17:00 - 20:00
(and at other times by appointment)

Image from the series  TEIFI  by Isabella Campbell

Image from the series TEIFI by Isabella Campbell

TEIFI is a long-term body of work concerns the phenomena of the river Teifi that Isabella lives beside in rural West Wales. The series aims to reflect the river’s filmic qualities, and her relationship with it from photographing and walking through its surroundings day to day since June 2016. The work conceptually revolves around the idea of the 'sensory plate of perception' through photography. This opens up a philosophical enquiry into the phenomenology of perception, duration and transparency, which collectively form the Teifi phenomena.

Image from the series  TEIFI  by Isabella Campbell

Image from the series TEIFI by Isabella Campbell

The building in which the exhibit will take place is at The Corrugated Barn near Moylgrove. It is located within 40 acres of wild meadows, woodland and garden, which you will be welcome to walk around. The view overlooks the Carningli mountain near Newport (Pembs).

Image from the series  TEIFI  by Isabella Campbell

Image from the series TEIFI by Isabella Campbell

You can find the exact location of The Corrugated Barn here, which is more accurate than what it says on Google maps.

For light refreshments to be organised, please RSVP your interest via getting a free general admission ticket.

Sophie Harris - Taylor: Epidermis. The Printspace Gallery, London.

Francesca Maffeo Gallery are delighted to present ‘Epidermis’, a solo exhibition by photographer Sophie Harris - Taylor, celebrating the beauty of imperfection. 

© Sophie Harris - Taylor, courtesy Francesca Maffeo Gallery

© Sophie Harris - Taylor, courtesy Francesca Maffeo Gallery

© Sophie Harris - Taylor, courtesy Francesca Maffeo Gallery

© Sophie Harris - Taylor, courtesy Francesca Maffeo Gallery

EXHIBITION DATES 6th - 13th September 2019

PRIVATE VIEW Thursday 5th September 2019 7.30-10.00pm
+44 (0)1702 345005
m – 07970 846 497

THE PRINTSPACE GALLERY 74 Kingsland Road London E2 8DL
Opening times 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday

© Sophie Harris - Taylor, courtesy Francesca Maffeo Gallery

© Sophie Harris - Taylor, courtesy Francesca Maffeo Gallery

Harris - Taylor shot and interviewed over 20 bare-faced women across the UK with common skin conditions. The resulting ‘beauty’ shoot aims to break down the stigma surrounding skin issues and celebrate diversity.

“I wanted to create a series of work that empowers and allows women to love the skin they’re in, regardless of what condition they have. Suffering from severe acne throughout my teens and 20’s left me incredibly self-conscious and I longed for ‘normal’ skin. Normality is defined by the images we see all around us. We are led to believe all women have perfect flawless skin - they don’t. Whether not shown or simply disguised, many women suffer from conditions such as acne, rosacea and eczema, most of these women feel a pressure to hide behind a mask of makeup, covering up what actually makes them unique. Here these beautiful women proudly bare their skin” (Sophie Harris - Taylor).

Shot in the style of a traditional beauty editorial, exploring the juxtaposition of style and subject - something seen in opposition to classical beauty. The series’ intention is as a beauty shoot first, the exploration of the skin is secondary. When it comes to body types we have seen the industry swing one way or another, idealising extremes. Harris - Taylor is concerned by this as there is a risk of fetishisation, with this series, she is motivated to record and celebrate the ‘normal’.

© Sophie Harris - Taylor, courtesy Francesca Maffeo Gallery

© Sophie Harris - Taylor, courtesy Francesca Maffeo Gallery

About Sophie Harris-Taylor

Documenting the personal lives and experiences of her own and others, Sophie’s work is effortlessly truthful, approached with a sensitivity and confidence. She is renowned for her images created with natural and ambient light sources, which lend her work an unusual softness and depth.

Typically portraiture based, with some elements of place and surrounding, she uses people to express her own preoccupations and concerns. Although seemingly diverse in subject matter, and to an extent documentary, there is consistently some element of her own vulnerability. Regardless of content, Sophie’s work is crucially bound together by aesthetics, always seeking to in some way glorify that which is not conventional.

Sophie’s work has been selected for the BJP Portrait of Britain, Creative Review Photography Annual, nominated for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, The Renaissance Photography Prize and The Young Masters.

She is represented by Francesca Maffeo Gallery.

Loupe 10 Open Call

Loupe, a free magazine featuring a diverse selection of contemporary photography.

Image by  Luke Archer

Image by Luke Archer


Issue 10 will be our first themed edition, and we’re kicking off with the weighty topic of national identity. In the glare of recent events, we want discussion around the topic, from all sides.

We’re looking for projects that explore citizens’ relationship to their country, both positive and negative. You might have photographed, white supremacists in America, a border dispute, Brexit in the UK, or your own feelings towards your home country.

Despite the hefty title we are looking for work on a macro and micro scale; you might have spent years documenting a whole country or only days with an individual. The work can be heartbreaking or humorous – so long as it’s an engaging and well executed body of work.



We are looking for work from all genres of photography, be it fine art, documentary, fashion or commercial. There are no limits; as long as the work connects with our theme of national identity we want to see it. Send either a link to the project on your website or up to 10 web rez jpegs and a short project statement to

Please note we cannot accept any form of file sharing link, so make sure your images are small enough to attach to a single email.


If you would like to submit, please send a PDF of your book dummy to Please note if you are selected to be featured you will need to send a physical dummy to us. Copies will be returned, although if you live outside of the EU and the dummy is large / heavy we may ask you to make a contribution to the cost.


If you would like to pitch an article, story or write for Issue 10 please email

The deadline for submissions is the 5th of August 2019

A Q&A with Arts University Bournemouth 2019 graduate Ellen Stewart

We recently called for work from both BA and MA photographers who are graduating from a UK university course this year. We’ve made selections and are in the process of conducting interviews and uploading new work to Photograd which you can find here.

We selected Arts University Bournemouth BA (Hons) Photography 2019 graduate Ellen Stewart to support for the next year. You can find here an informal Q&A with Ellen to find out more about her work and plans moving forward.

Ellen Stewart PG 01.jpg
Ellen Stewart PG 02.jpg

Hi Ellen, your work really stood out to Photograd due to its unique subject matter and well presented scenarios. Before we begin to support your work over the next few months we would love to find out more about what your goals are. Can you start by telling us about your university and Free Range experience? Hello, I’ve just graduated from the Arts University Bournemouth. The university itself has supplied me with the most valuable mentorship throughout my three years and has great inter-disciplinary links with other subjects. Coming from a painting background the course has given me such an expansive view of photography and its relationship to wider culture. Free Range was a great experience to collectively fund and organise our course to participate. Participating as an exhibitor opened up so many options for my work to be seen by industry professionals not only through the exhibition itself but through their social media handles, it’s been a really exciting time. One of the most educational parts of Free Range was understanding how putting a large scale exhibition works; the packaging of work, transportation, curation, advertising etc. 

Although you aim to confuse and question associations with private space, I think we can all relate to a few images in your series especially. Where did your inspiration come from and how do you plan to move forward to further play with your viewer? I really like this idea of creating confusion within subjects and objects that are familiar. I feel the inspiration came from that prior to this series I was creating work away from the home trying to photograph subject matter that I didn’t understand in a way to understand. I started to think more about mediating on the concept of playing with imagery that I seemingly do understand and physically pushing it to an extent where it is no longer familiar to me but it was important to me not to include any ‘strange’ objects or people. The strangeness had to come from removing, placing or collaging as such, mundane everyday items and family members to try and explore the bizarre in the normal. Joanna Piotrowska has been a big inspiration on my work especially going to her exhibition at the Tate was really intriguing and has a lasting effect on me. Moving forward I’ve become more interested in how little I can change to make the photo strange and vice versa in how much I can change by still using familiar imagery. 

Ellen Stewart PG 06.jpg

What does the everyday and the epic mean to you? The statement comes from the publication that accompanied the South Bank Centre’s exhibition The Epic and the Everyday in 1994. The catalogue presents one of Andreas Gursky’s photograph View over Cairo comparing the epic scene of the vastness of the metropolis with clothing lines of the everyday realities of the people that live there. This juxtaposition of how we perceive the epic photo with the underlying markers of banality began to shape how I started to see the everyday and epic in photographic terms. From creating my own series my relationship with ‘The Everyday and the Epic’ started to change and it began to mean if we can see every day as epic and how far or little do you have to change the everyday to make it epic. It’s still a statement which interests me and I’m constantly changing what it means to me and how to explore it.

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In your submission you mentioned that you'd like to make new images to expand this series. Have you got any particular scenarios in mind that you're hoping to shoot? Yes, I feel very lucky in the place that I am with my series as I’m only just beginning to piece it together and have a lot more to experiment and work with. I’ve begun to start spending days in my childhood house noting down the general day to day workings of the mundane routine of the people and objects within it. I have some specific scenarios in mind in the experimental stages to start working more in the night and how this can have differing effects to the day scenarios presented. I’ve also begun thinking more about the tiniest change, that I began to mention earlier, that I can do to scenario compared with the largest which is also another initial stage I’m going to begin with. 

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You also mentioned that you'd like to study for an MA in the future, how and why have you come to this decision? Have you got a university in mind that you'd like to study at? My plan on studying an MA in the next few years came from some of the lectures we had from MA students at my University exploring how their work has changed and grown since studying at post-graduate level. Although reading Lucy Soutter’s article in Source magazine a few years ago comparing the advantages and disadvantages of studying an MA in Photography, ultimately concluding you don’t need an MA to become a successful Fine Art Photographer. I feel as an individual I’ve really loved the network of mentoring I’ve received as a BA student trying to define my practice. Comparing to having mentorship in a few years when I’ve come to terms and distinguished my practice more, really excites me to see how it can be pushed even further. I’ve gone to the RCA shows for many years and the level of photography is so inspiring as well as Westminster and Brighton.

All images from the series  In My Fence Wall

All images from the series In My Fence Wall

As Photograd works as a supporter, advice giver, feedback provider, and whatever else you might require over the next year or so, where do you see your work taking you? What is your ultimate outcome? My first idea is to create a photobook of the series which really excites me as I haven’t created a project which I thought was suitable for the book form yet. The photobook being a new aspect of my work has been the only way so far I can see some kind of resolution for In My Fence Wall. I suppose my ultimate outcome is to keep trying to visually work out and explore the relationship with the everyday and the epic to a stage where I can feel somewhat finished with the questions I’m exploring. 

'With the Name of a Flower' by Vera Hadzhiyska - An MA Photography solo exhibition

With the Name of a Flower by Vera Hadzhiyska

MA Photography solo show

3rd - 7th September 2019

Four Corners Galley (121 Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, London E2 0QN)

Preview night: Tue 3rd Sept, 6 - 9 pm
Open: 4th - 7th Sept, 11 am - 6 pm


Krasimira Butseva, a solo exhibition at EEP Berlin

EEP Berlin presents Balkan Mine
solo exhibition & events

Private view: 11th of July, Thursday 7PM

Open daily: 12th - 14th July 2019

Address: EEP Berlin's Gallery Space. Liegnitzer Str. 34 | 10999 Berlin

Balkan Mine is an extensive research of the shifting layers of history, memory and trauma related to the forced labour camps of the Bulgarian communist regime (1946-89) by photographer and researcher Krasimira Butseva (1994, BG).

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In a multimedia installation including film, photography, sculpture and layers of sound, she is recreating her personal journey through the spaces where a dictatorship was once enforced at its hardest. This ongoing project starting in 2016 is Butseva’s collection of accounts of victims and a record of her own subconscious and fragmented experience of history as an outsider. By letting the spectator become part of the intimate narratives of both the survivors and the artist, she is able to construct an image of unseen historical events and formulate a bridge between past and present, thus referencing the unspoken trauma carried within a society and its future generations.

Curated by Krasimira Butseva & Maya Hristova.

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Public Programme

13th July | Saturday 5pm
Remembering whilst Forgetting / In conversation Krasimira Butseva & Maya Hristova

Curator Maya Hristova talks to Bulgarian-born-London-based artist Krasimira Butseva about her exhibition 'Balkan Mine', which includes a series of films and photographs investigating the collective silence and denial of the human rights violations of the communist regime in Bulgaria. 

14th July | Sunday, 4pm
Trauma as Ritual / Reading & Writing Group

Krasimira Butseva will do a series of readings of texts which have influenced her work on 'Balkan mine'. From excerpts of fictional stories to history books, artists’ texts and archival documents, this session will blur the lines between real and imagined allowing for the artist’s narrative to come across. The reading will also be followed by a writing exercise in relation to the themes discussed.

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Krasimira Butseva has an MA & BA degrees in Photography from the University of Portsmouth, she has exhibited her work at Seen Fifteen Gallery, London (2019), Phoenix Gallery, Brighton Photo Fringe (2018), In motion / Prototype, Sofia, Bulgaria (2017), Four Corners Gallery, London (2017), Pingyao International Photography Festival, China (2016) and Uncertain States / Mile End Art Pavilion, London (2016). She's also a co-creator of Revolv, a photographers' collective working with British universities and art institutions, with the goal of discovering new experimental forms of creating and teaching photography in the form of lectures, workshops and exhibitions. | IG: krasimirabutseva | IG: revolvcollective

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EEP Berlin is an independent platform for contemporary photography from Eastern Europe. Its focus lies in exhibiting the work of Eastern European artists, emerging and established, and presenting it to Berlin audiences. | IG: eepberlin

BA Photography graduate Instagram Takeover - Eva Jonas

We recently called for work from both BA and MA photographers who are graduating from a UK university course this year. We’ve made selections and are in the process of conducting interviews and uploading new work to Photograd.

We selected University of Brighton BA (Hons) Photography 2019 graduate Eva Jonas to takeover the Photograd Instagram from 12th to 18th August. You can follow Eva on Instagram here too.

That Thing Over There that surrounds and sustains us

It is the human condition to attempt to render the inaccessible, accessible, creating far-flung spaces beyond their own local geography. This expression of the exotic is still seductive to both the photographer and the viewer, inundated as they already are with such images in modern culture. Beyond this lies a cultural and historical web of damage and displacement of the natural world, as a result of human exploration and expansion. Nature presented as an exhibit, an exhibition, dictates our experience of it. What do these spaces tell us about human aspiration, the obvious contradiction and the longing for connection to the natural world?

Images from the series  That Thing Over There that surrounds and sustains us

Images from the series That Thing Over There that surrounds and sustains us