Lorenza Demata - It all started when some of us left the country

For the duration of March we were seeking work from photography graduates alongside Loupe Magazine to reward with a collection of prizes and interviews. A lot of time was spent looking through the submissions and decisions were finally made. We're really pleased to present here the first runners-up interview.

Lorenza Demata is a photographer and visual artist originally from Italy who studied for an MA in Photography at London College of Communication. We've interviewed Lorenza here about the series It all started when some of us left the country.


It is estimated that expatriates constitute approximately 40% of London population.
At the same time, almost 50% of the total consumption of food resources relies on the importation of fruit and vegetables from other countries.


This project is an investigation of the notion of identity in the contemporary migratory context.
The displacement of human resources is explored through a visual analogy with imported fruit and vegetables. By creating this parallel relation between people and food commodities, Lorenza aims to unveil the process of redefining individual identity that often takes place in the experience of expatriates.
The photographic series and the book ask the viewer to critically reflect on the role of the human workforce in the political context of global migration.

 From the photobook  It all started when some of us left the country - I

From the photobook It all started when some of us left the country - I

Can you introduce yourself? What and where did you study? My name is Lorenza (Lori) and I am a photographer and visual artist based in London. I come from Florence, Italy, where I first graduated in International Cooperation and Conflict Management. After my first BA, I studied Photography for three years at Fondazione Studio Marangoni in Florence, until September 2016. Then I moved to London to attend the MA in Photography at London College of Communication. I recently graduated and I am now working as a freelance photographer in London.

 From the series  It all started when some of us left the country

From the series It all started when some of us left the country

Give us an overview of your work. What themes do you like to explore? Because of my multidisciplinary background, the content of my works is somehow always linked to social and political issues and it investigates themes related to the ideas of identity and culture. In my latest works, I have been particularly interested in the processes that influence and change the concept of cultural identity in the contemporary globalised context.

I usually address these concepts through portrait and staged photography, by subverting and experimenting different approaches. As a result, I would say that my practice sits between documentary and conceptual photography.

 From the photobook  It all started when some of us left the country - I

From the photobook It all started when some of us left the country - I

What encouraged you to submit to the Loupe Magazine and Photograd call for work? Have you got any tips for photographers submitting work for similar opportunities? I usually try to apply to as many open calls as I can. I think these kind of calls are a good opportunity to show work, as well as to get feedback and responses. It is useful to always challenge ourselves and to confront our work with others. Accepting feedback and criticism is not always easy. But taking into account constructive suggestions can make you understand how complete your work is and it can contribute to make positive improvements.

How did this series come to the surface? Why did you decide to investigate identity in the contemporary migratory context through the use of photography? When I started my MA in London I wanted to investigate a theme that could be somehow close to my personal experience. I started wondering to what extent cultural identity changes when we move from our country of origin to another. I have also been interested in the process of commodification of the foreign human workforce in general and in particular in London.  

 From the photobook  It all started when some of us left the country - I

From the photobook It all started when some of us left the country - I

I think it is important to reflect on identity and cultural issues in this place and in this historical moment.

Almost half of the population of London is constituted by people from other countries. While gathering data for my theoretical research process, I also found out that a large amount - approximately 50% - of the food commodities we consume in the UK is imported from somewhere else. By visually connecting expatriates to imported vegetables and fruit, I want people to reflect on how much a country relies on the global importation and migration, as well as on the role of foreign people in this context. 

 From the series  It all started when some of us left the country

From the series It all started when some of us left the country

The outcome of It all started when some of us left the country is a photobook. Describe your book and explain why you executed your work in this way. The diptychs are usually installed in exhibitions as a series of booklets, which aim to recall the scale of a passport. 

The other part of the project It all started when some of us left the country - I is in the form of a book. In this section, I am investigating the concept of cultural adaptation by confronting a specific fruit with a personal story. As a result, the book mixes different visual inputs, such as screenshots, graphics, manipulated archival material and photographs.

Why have you cut out the faces in your portraits? The face is one of the main elements which defines the identity of a person. It is, I would say, indexical of the existence of the subject, and this is particularly evident in identity documents. 

 From the series  It all started when some of us left the country

From the series It all started when some of us left the country

I chose not to show the face to reflect on the concepts of displaced identity and of absence. The size of the white square also recalls the photos that are used for official documents.

I think my aim is to underline how it is challenging to define ourselves culturally and individually.

Tell us about the accompanying pieces of fruit in your images. How have you linked fruit and portraits together? For the still life photos I gathered data about the most imported fruit and vegetables. Every piece is paired with the portrait according to the colours. I did not want to link the food with the subject on the basis of the same nationality. This way I want to enhance the concept of displacement and of distance of commodities and people. Furthermore, I mean to underline how the movement of goods and human migrations are global, by going beyond national borders.

 From the series  It all started when some of us left the country

From the series It all started when some of us left the country

What are your future plans? At the moment, I am going on with this project and with the specific fruits and stories. In the future, I would like to investigate the social and cultural relationship between expatriates and locals. I also want to analyse some form of local cultural ‘resistance’ in the economic context, either in London or somewhere else.

PGZ129 | The brand new zine from Photograd

Introducing the first edition of the brand new zine from Photograd | PGZ129 celebrates the first 2 years of the platform. Available to purchase from the Photograd online shop, PGZ129 comes together to celebrate 129 featured graduates.

PGZ129 is the first self-published zine from Photograd and presents readers with 12 photography graduates from UK based courses who continue to receive support. 

In April 2018 Photograd reached the grand old age of 2. In celebration of this PGZ is the brand new self-published zine from Photograd, bringing you a selection of some of our very best.

“129”, the title for this edition, represents the number of graduates we’ve had the privilege to feature on the site at some point during our first 2 years. In total, we’re supporting over 400 photographers in many different ways.

PGZ129 showcases work from photographers who studied at Plymouth College of Art, Falmouth University, and University of Brighton.

 
 

The University of the West of England, Bristol graduate Alex Ingram presents a new body of work titled The Gatekeepers.

“Scattered across the small islands surrounding the UK live loan rangers, spending their lives in quiet solidarity, away from the crowded, overpopulated landscapes of our urban world. Their role: to maintain and manage the preservation of their islands natural beauty and wildlife for future generations, whilst conducting research into these incredibly delicate ecosystems.

With limited access to the mainland during the winter months, no fresh running water, and under constant attack from harsh storms and perilous currents that can see them marooned for weeks at a time, it is not a role many are suited for. 

What is it like living so close to the mainland, but yet so far removed from social norms? How do they cope when the currents are too strong to make it back over for fresh food and supplies? What is it like living without the modern day technologies that we take for granted? And how do they adapt and overcome these daily obstacles with limited human contact? 

Over the next two years, these are the questions I want to explore. I will be visiting these remote islands and spending time with the rangers that have chosen to spend their lives there, in the hopes of better understanding what life is like living in some of the most beautiful, yet inhospitable landscapes in the UK.

In a world that is changing at a rapid pace, I want to question how this simplistic way of life fits within our modern world.”

 Images from the series  The Gatekeepers  by Alex Ingram

Images from the series The Gatekeepers by Alex Ingram

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Andreea Teleaga who studied at the University of Sunderland also presents a new body of work titled Violence Is A New Kind of Instinct; Between Light and Darkness.

A series of five 12in x16in black and white silver prints created from negatives destroyed with a nail and a hammer. Being an artist originally from a former-communist country, Romania, I am constantly looking at what it means to have gaps in the historical truth, reason why this series depicts the battle between knowing and not knowing, the light and the dark.

'I had a dream, which was not all a dream.

The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars

Did wander darkling in the eternal space,

Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth

Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;'

                                     Lord Byron - Darkness (1816)

 Images from the series  Violence Is A New Kind of Instinct; Between Light and Darkness  by Andreea Teleaga.

Images from the series Violence Is A New Kind of Instinct; Between Light and Darkness by Andreea Teleaga.

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PGZ129 is available to purchase in the Photograd shop either individually or within a limited edition print box consisting of digital c-type prints from a number of featured photographers.

Shouldn’t Throw Stones – The View of a Night Watchman

A Photography Exhibition by University of Sunderland graduate Kevin Casey.

 From the series  Shouldn't Throw Stones

From the series Shouldn't Throw Stones

SHOULDN’T THROW STONES – The view of a Night Watchman, is the culmination of a two-year project undertaken by artist Kevin Casey. Part documentary photography, part archival re-presentation and part making ends meet, as Casey’s ‘night job’ as an on-site security guard at the former Pilkington Glass Headquarters became his ‘day job’ as an artist, the work presented tells the story of an uncertain future, tense present and captivating past. 

The collection, including C-Type prints, archive film, projections and uncovered artefacts also testifies to the situation that Casey found himself in - part voyeur and part guardian - whilst drawing the viewers’ attention to the vicissitudes of contemporary capitalism and its contested relationship to our recent industrial and manufacturing past. 

Further to the works on display at Alexandra Park, visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to visit selected spaces within the former Pilkington Glass complex, designed by the mid-20th Century Architect, Edwin Maxwell Fry, of Fry and Drew. A short tour will include a visit to the modernist Tower whose Armourclad panels have dominated the skyline of St. Helen’s since the complexes construction in the late 1950s. Avinash Chandra’s back-lit, abstract relief panel of stained, fused glass and Jon Humphrey Spender’s artwork can also be viewed, as well as the panelled lift lobby, former canteen and elements of the landscaped grounds, including the north lake and concrete bridge. 

As much of the site is not normally publicly accessible, the exhibition and short tour provides a rare opportunity to view a Modernist landmark and exhibited materials that possess a deep local and global significance. 

Watch the promotional video here

 Images from the series  Shouldn't Throw Stones

Images from the series Shouldn't Throw Stones

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Exhibition Dates: Friday 4 May – Thursday 7 June 

Site Tours are available every Saturday and Sunday for the duration of the exhibition. Additional tours are available on the opening day of the exhibition. 

Free tickets available through Eventbrite

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A book of the project will also be launched on Thursday 3rd May and will be available to purchase at the exhibition and online.

www.shouldntthrowstones.co.uk
#shouldntthrowstones
#theviewofanightwatchman 

Darren O'Brien - Hanoi

We recently invited Darren O'Brien to be a regular blog contributor at Photograd as he travels to Singapore and Vietnam as part of his MA Photography course at Falmouth University. You can catch up on his other posts here.

Darren writes here in his final post about his trip to Hanoi. Enjoy!


Sadly this is my last blog post which means my trip has come to an end. For the final few days I spent time in the chaotic capital of Vietnam, Hanoi.

 Image from Hanoi

Image from Hanoi

I felt at home in the city and enjoyed wandering the streets and capturing life going on around me. Hanoi is a busy and exciting place. The old quarter is a warren of narrow streets lined with shops, restaurants and cafes. So much of daily life takes place on the streets and that makes it great for street photography.

 Image from Hanoi

Image from Hanoi

Vietnam is the third largest exporter of coffee in the world and there are cafes everywhere. Iced coffee with condensed milk is their specialty, perfect for hot days when you've been pounding the pavements. Hanoi also has some excellent street food. Bun Cha was my favourite; it’s a tasty combo of grilled pork slices and meatballs, broth, herbs and noodles.

I spent a little time doing touristy things, but I was really there to enjoy and capture the atmosphere of the city. The city has a great vibe, it feels hectic and relaxed at the same time. Even just crossing the street through streams of scooters feels like a challenge and you feel happy to be alive when you reach the other side.

 Image from Hanoi

Image from Hanoi

The Train Street was interesting to see. People going about their lives right beside the tracks. The train comes through about twice a day and when it's due everyone clears off the tracks and disappears into their homes. Unfortunately the arrival of the train brings a lot of tourists which does slightly ruin the magic of the moment, but hey I was one of them.

Hoan Kiem Lake is a great area for people watching and street photography. This is the main hub for people to get together. In the mornings people jog, do Tai Chi and dance in big groups. On Friday and Saturday evenings all the roads around the lake are closed and the place fills with thousands of people, playing games, watching street entertainers, singing ad hoc karaoke, and walking their fancy dogs.

 Image from Hanoi

Image from Hanoi

Apart from all the interesting sights and scenes, the main thing that made shooting in Vietnam a pleasure was how friendly and accommodating the people are. As long as I was respectful and flashed a smile most people were happy to be photographed. I would definitely have liked a bit more time to get to know Hanoi and dig a bit deeper. I was there for 3 full days but a month would be ideal to really get beneath the surface. I’d also like to spend more time in the newer parts of the city.

Overall the trip was an excellent experience and I have some solid work to go towards my MA portfolio. Now I just have to go through the thousands of images, edit them down and relive the memories.

 Image from Hanoi

Image from Hanoi

I would recommend Vietnam, particularly Hanoi, for any photographer. The mix of dramatic landscapes and buzzing street scenes will test all aspects of your practice.

Thank you for reading and thanks to Photograd for asking me to blog during my trip. Any questions about travelling in Vietnam or my work then get in touch via my website or on one of my social media channels. Bye for now.

Foundation Exhibition by Chrono Collective

Foundation Exhibition is a celebration of the best photographic talent nurtured in the South West. Featuring work from graduates, and current undergraduates, the exhibition showcases a variety of work and styles, all rooted in the South West where the photographers studied.

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Accompanying the exhibition, artist talks held by Sian Davey and Oliver Udy will begin at 4pm on Saturday 28th April. Sian will be discussing her new book Martha, and talking about her experience of publishing and working with galleries. After Sian, Oliver will be talking about his project Anthology of Rural Life and his processes on creating the expansive body of work.

You can purchase tickets here.

Darren O'Brien - Vietnam

We recently invited Darren O'Brien to be a regular blog contributor at Photograd as he travels to Singapore and Vietnam as part of his MA Photography course at Falmouth University. You can catch up on his other posts here.

Darren writes here about his trip to Sapa and Ta Van. Enjoy!


The Road from Lao Cai to Sapa winds its way steeply through the mountains. The hairpin corners are tight and the traffic is chaotic.  Huge trucks trek up the mountains delivering supplies to the villages and resources for the construction boom currently overtaking Sapa. On more than one occasion our driver attempted to overtake a lorry that was overtaking another lorry, whilst dodging vehicles and/or buffalo coming the other way.

 Image from Ta Van, Vietnam

Image from Ta Van, Vietnam

After 5 hours in the minibus we arrived in Sapa.  On first impressions the town itself appears a strange mix of Vietnamese town and a European alpine resort. There is even an old alpine-style church in the main square. We didn't hang about as we grabbed a taxi to take us 10km to the village of Ta Van.

 Image from Ta Van, Vietnam

Image from Ta Van, Vietnam

Roads, distances and timings are a loose concept in this part of Vietnam, especially when you are using google maps to find your home stay. Some of the roads marked on the map are little more than paths wide enough for a motorbike (definitely the best way to get around). As such our taxi driver kindly drove around in circles trying to find our accommodation before realising that the road shown on the map was a footpath. After a couple of phone calls to our host we were dropped off and they came to meet us and showed us the rest of the way.

 Image from Ta Van, Vietnam

Image from Ta Van, Vietnam

If traveling in this area I would recommend staying at least one night in a home stay in one of the villages. There are quite a few in Ta Van village. The principle is that you stay with a local family in their home, although some of them operate more like b&bs. They are a good additional source of income alongside growing rice, rearing livestock and making handicrafts. Our home stay, Lazy Crazy Homestay, run by John and his friends, was a quirky place, with great views over Ta Van, rice fields and bamboo forests. It was a great place to begin exploring the local villages and countryside.

In Ta Van there are plenty of local guides that will take you on a hike, and most homestays and hotels will organise them too. We decided to walk without a guide to the next village and explore the small paths that led through the rice fields and village outskirts. The H’Mong tribes that live in this area are really friendly and as long as you are respectful, no area is off limits. Some of the tracks we followed led directly to people's homes but nobody bothered that we were there and there would always be a friendly face to point us in the right direction.

 Image from Sapa, Vietnam

Image from Sapa, Vietnam

Whilst in Ta Van I worked on a project exploring the Vietnamese legend “Why Ducks Sleep Standing on One Leg”.  The legend goes that in the beginning there were four ducks who only had one leg. They were jealous of the other animals with two legs so reasoned with the creator to give them a precious extra leg. To prevent their new legs from being stolen they hid them from view at night and all the other ducks followed this believing it to be the way it should be. The legend speaks of the Vietnamese attitudes to the land and agriculture, which I am hoping the project will also reflect.

 Image from Sapa, Vietnam

Image from Sapa, Vietnam

After Ta Van we spent a couple of days in and around Sapa town. The town is often covered in cloud and mist which makes for some interesting images. At night the fog, the building work and the neon lit signage lends the town an eerie feel.

I have one more post to come in this series, when I will be exploring the streets of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. After my brief encounters earlier in the trip I am really looking forward to it…...

Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz - The Royal Photographic Society Environmental Bursary grant winner

We recently interviewed London College of Communication graduate and Photo Scratch co-founder Hanna-Katrina Jędrosz about the Environmental Bursary grant she received from The Royal Photographic Society. She also introduces us to the first chapter of her resulting body of work.

We hope you enjoy reading through Hanna-Katrina's thoughts on applying for opportunities like those from The Royal Photographic Society.


Tell us about the bursary you received from The Royal Photographic Society. In 2016 I received the Environmental Bursary awarded by The Royal Photographic Society and The Photographic Angle. I won in the Under 30 category, and I was awarded jointly with Carl Bigmore who I collaborated with on the first chapter of the project.

 A fjord leading out to the Barents Sea, Norway, at the very northern end of the European Green Belt.

A fjord leading out to the Barents Sea, Norway, at the very northern end of the European Green Belt.

Tell us about the work it allowed you to make. What's the work about? Is it complete? The bursary enabled us to make a major body of work about the Fennoscandian section of the European Green Belt. The European Green Belt is an area of land that spans the breadth of Europe from the Barents Sea to the Black and Adriatic Seas. It traces the boundary of the former Iron Curtain from north to south. For nearly five decades, this space was an out-of-bounds no-man’s land dividing east from west. This corridor enabled wildlife to flourish. Today much of the route is connected through national parks, biospheres and nature reserves. The project aims to explore and document the interplay between human activity and wildlife on a specific but vast stretch of land that comprise the European Green Belt, and in turn, how nature has reclaimed the land during and since the Cold War era.

The first chapter of the project is complete and I have just returned from making the next phase in Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. There will be another trip later this year across the Balkans and Turkey which will comprise the final chapter.

 In the gift shop at the Norwegian/Russian border.

In the gift shop at the Norwegian/Russian border.

What did winning the grant mean to you and your work? Winning the grant from The RPS was such an honour. It’s an organisation with a long and established history and they have supported thousands of photographers over many years. It felt like a vote of confidence in my work and in the idea.

Though it wasn’t publicly announced until the award ceremony in September 2016, it was shortly after the EU Referendum that we received news that we had won the backing to make this project. It felt very timely. On a personal level I felt disturbed by the results of the referendum. Receiving news of the bursary at that particular juncture provided a genuine sense of hope. It felt like an opportunity to channel some of the feeling of chaos I was experiencing into making work that would involve traversing the European continent, crossing many borders, encountering different people and places, and being given an opportunity to create something hopeful.

 Lichen is an indicator of air quality. This leafy lichen, photographed in Finland near the borderzone with Russia, is leafy and indicates that the air was very clean.

Lichen is an indicator of air quality. This leafy lichen, photographed in Finland near the borderzone with Russia, is leafy and indicates that the air was very clean.

What encouraged you to apply for the Environmental Bursary in particular? It was the idea more than anything that lead to this application. It was Carl who suggested applying for this particular bursary when I told him about the idea. The Environmental Bursary seemed like a good fit for the project. I had never particularly considered myself to be a landscape or environmental photographer. I’m interested in connections between people and places, histories of the land and environment, the presence of history and the impact of a place on human experience.

 A river melts near Möhkö, eastern Finland.

A river melts near Möhkö, eastern Finland.

What support did you receive? I received the financial backing to bring the project into being. We pitched the first chapter of the work which would see us travelling from Norway, through Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - the Fennoscandian and Baltic sections of the Green Belt. The support meant we could buy the film stock, book the flights, make the trip and get back in once piece. It simply would not have been possible without this kind of grant.

On top of this practical financial support, I have felt very supported by The RPS and, in particular by the Education Manager Liz Williams. She has provided letters of endorsement, helped me to connect with people in the industry and has been a really positive influence throughout the process of making the work.

 A viewing platform to observe birds and wildlife on the Baltic Coast, in Narva-Jõesuu, Estonia.

A viewing platform to observe birds and wildlife on the Baltic Coast, in Narva-Jõesuu, Estonia.

Give one positive and one negative in regards to applying for opportunities like these. There is no negative to applying for opportunities like these! What’s the worst that could happen? If you aren’t successful, you will have gone through a process which hopefully has helped to clarify your intentions and thoughts, and will make your next application even stronger. It can help to identify gaps in your knowledge too. If you are lucky enough to receive funding then that is of course wonderful and a huge opportunity to get on and make your work. The RPS application form itself, at the time that I applied, was reassuringly straightforward.

Every grant comes with a sense of responsibility to do the work justice and seize the opportunity. It’s a good idea to have an awareness of the organisation or funder’s motivation for offering the funding. Be prepared to fulfil obligations to your backers, like supplying images when the project is completed within a specific time frame.

 In the abandoned ex-Soviet military town of Skrunda-1, Latvia.

In the abandoned ex-Soviet military town of Skrunda-1, Latvia.

Writing a budget can be challenging because sometimes you might not know exactly how much you would need, or there are variables. My advice would be to keep it simple and include a contingency of 10-15%. Be prepared to save up some of your own money to cover unexpected costs. I have never made a project without working really hard to save up for it first, even with external funding. Before going away to make the first part of this project last year, I worked six day weeks for six months (a combination of freelance photography jobs and picture editing shifts at two different organisations) just so that I wouldn’t come back and be completely overdrawn. More established photographers may not require this, but with relatively few years (five) working professionally, as well as the costs associated with living in London, and photographing on film, this is how I have managed.

With any endeavour, ultimately it’s your decision to be committed to a project and then do whatever you need to do to make it happen. Having external funding is a huge initial enabler that paves the way for you to then fulfil the opportunity to its full potential.

 A Baltic Beach on the Curonian Spit, Lithuania.

A Baltic Beach on the Curonian Spit, Lithuania.

Can you give any advice to those considering a submission to any of The Royal Photographic Society opportunities?

When applying for funding, and in no particular order…

Ask for help if you need it.

Be professional.

Be reliable.

Look at what has been funded in recent years and don’t repeat an idea.

Be bold.

Be clear. Don’t be ambiguous or try to sound academic or mysterious for the sake of it.

Trust your own voice.

Be honest about your idea - what are the challenges? What are your strengths?

And most of all: apply! Someone once told me they allocated a day a month to apply for funding, residencies and other opportunities. I don’t manage to be as organised as this but I do allow myself time to do applications, time to discover and articulate ideas, and cast the net.

Darren O'Brien - Ha Long Bay

We recently invited Darren O'Brien to be a regular blog contributor at Photograd as he travels to Singapore and Vietnam as part of his MA Photography course at Falmouth University. You can read his other posts here.

Darren writes here about his trip to Ha Long Bay. Enjoy!


I am sitting at a local home stay in the village of Tavan, looking out over the rice terraces of Northern Vietnam. It is a magical and tranquil environment to be writing this post in.

 Image from Ha Long Bay

Image from Ha Long Bay

I will write about my experience of Tavan later, but for now this is a short post about my trip to Ha Long Bay. Located 3 hours drive North East of Hanoi, the bay consists of around 2,500 limestone islands protruding from the ocean. I will confess that I organised this trip through a tour company (Indochina Junk) and it was all about rest and relaxation. I don’t usually book onto tours as I prefer to do my own thing but it is the easiest way to visit the bay. It felt strange to have everything looked after, from pick up from the hotel to boarding the boat with eight strangers, but it definitely met the relaxing brief.

 Image from Ha Long Bay

Image from Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is incredible, beautiful and breathtaking. It is also incredibly touristy. Our tour tried to find the less touristy areas, but that means you are surrounded by 15 other boats rather than 50. The tour included kayaking, beaches, caves and lots of food and beer!

 Image from Ha Long Bay

Image from Ha Long Bay

Photographically it didn't do much for me, I am not a landscape photographer and it is often hazy at sunrise and sunset. I would love to do a project on the local fishing vessels and how the fishing trade and environment is changing, but that would need more organisation.

 Image from Ha Long Bay

Image from Ha Long Bay

I didn't make much work that will feature in my MA project, but that didn't stop me having a good time.

 Image from Hanoi

Image from Hanoi

Now I am working on a small project whilst in Tavan and Sapa. I have also already spent a couple of nights in Hanoi, either side of the boat trip, and all I can say is that I am looking forward to spending time exploring the streets in that buzzing city later in the trip. Until next time…..

University of Suffolk's Photography Auction!

Support the final year photography students at the University of Suffolk fundraise for their final shows this Summer. There seems to be some great pieces up for grabs!

Our very own Christina Stohn, Ameena Rojee, and Tom Owens have all donated.

Keep an eye on the official website for lots to become available for bidding.

Find the group here on Instagram, and here on Twitter.

Darren O'Brien - Singapore

We recently invited Darren O'Brien to be a regular blog contributor at Photograd as he travels to Singapore and Vietnam as part of his MA Photography course at Falmouth University. You can read his introductory post here.

Darren writes here about his 3 day stopover in Singapore. Enjoy!


I’m sitting in a hotel in Hanoi and have just had an amazing first meal of Bun Cha. I arrived this afternoon following a 3 day stopover in Singapore. We stopped in Singapore because my partner Sian lived there for 6 years when she was younger and it was her first time back in 20 years. It was my first time visiting the country so it was interesting to see the sights and share the memories. 

 Images of Singapore from an ongoing untitled project by  Darren O'Brien

Images of Singapore from an ongoing untitled project by Darren O'Brien

Driving in from the airport the first thing I noticed was how clean and orderly the city is. Everything has its place and is signposted. We later realised, while watching people clean the river with a boat that scoops up trash, that there is a massive workforce employed to keep Singapore looking pristine. Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world and it needs to keep up appearances.

 Images of Singapore from an ongoing untitled project by  Darren O'Brien

Images of Singapore from an ongoing untitled project by Darren O'Brien

After the 15 hour flight and crossing time zones my main aim was not to succumb to jet lag. So after dumping the bags at the hotel it was straight out to explore. Despite being in South East Asia, some areas of Singapore feel like a European city. Drinking a (very expensive) beer by the river at Clarke Quay, surrounded by an international crowd, I could have been in Amsterdam.

 Images of Singapore from an ongoing untitled project by  Darren O'Brien

Images of Singapore from an ongoing untitled project by Darren O'Brien

In the evening I headed to the Gardens by the Bay complex. This awe-inspiring feat of architecture, sculpture and nature consists of garden domes (similar to the Eden Project biomes) and the Supertree Grove, a group of massive tree-like sculptures that are studded with plants and light up spectacularly at dusk.

 Images of Singapore from an ongoing untitled project by  Darren O'Brien

Images of Singapore from an ongoing untitled project by Darren O'Brien

Nearly everything in Singapore is geared up for either entertainment, shopping or eating.  Every block has at least one shopping mall, in some areas there were two malls opposite each other.  Food plays a big part in Singapore culture and there are many restaurants and cafes, but the best food I ate was at the many food courts. There are some purpose built ones around and most malls have one too. I enjoyed well priced food from all across South East Asia and China. Chicken Rice is one of the local specialties and Sian’s favourite dish, although I am personally not convinced, she ate four plates in 3 days.

 Images of Singapore from an ongoing untitled project by  Darren O'Brien

Images of Singapore from an ongoing untitled project by Darren O'Brien

Whilst in Singapore I was shooting work for my Masters project and found the city a very easy place to shoot in. Though it lacks the bustle and energy of some cities, the architecture and cityscapes are excellent. The people are friendly and you can work in close proximity to people and they are generally happy to be photographed. On the second day we headed to Little India and Chinatown and these were my two favourite places to photograph as there was a little more going on on the streets. The food courts were also good value for photo opportunities.  Surprisingly the MRT trains were also quite fun to work on, again people paid no notice of the camera and if I was noticed people often responded with a simile and a nod of the head, a refreshing change from the UK streets. 

 Images of Singapore from an ongoing untitled project by  Darren O'Brien

Images of Singapore from an ongoing untitled project by Darren O'Brien

Now our Vietnam adventure begins and in the few hours we've been here I can see this going to be a completely different challenge. Until next time……

Jack Stocker - 'Members Only'

As part of our current Photobook Spotlight we interviewed Graphic Design graduate Jack Stocker about his route into photography and photobook, Members Only.


You studied Graphic Design at university but projects that you ended your final year on were photography based. Can you tell us how and why you turned to photography to express your ideas? I’d always been into photography and used it as a way to document holidays and events, like most people, but in terms of using it when studying graphic design, I always felt like it was something separate. I felt that if the majority of a project was photography then it wouldn’t be classed as graphic design. Towards the end of my second year and start of third year, my tutors helped me realise that I can use my photography in my design and it still be a graphic designer. One of our projects in third year was to document a subject for 2/3 weeks and I chose to photograph a local remote control racing car club, from which I created an interesting photo essay which I later made into a book.

What attracted you to the working mens clubs in Middlesborough? Why did you decide to make this series of work? When we started planning what our final major project would be, I wrote a list of previous projects I did and enjoyed. I noticed a theme between 2 or 3 of them and that was that they were all based on the working class. I started thinking and realised that Working Men’s Clubs could be a great opportunity to document using my photography. I hadn’t ever been in a WMC but i knew what they were and I knew what they looked like and from what I already knew, I loved their aesthetic and the reasoning behind them. The further research I did, the more I wanted to do it for myself, but also for the clubs.

 From the series  Members Only

From the series Members Only

What encouraged you to create a photobook to complete this series? I’ve always enjoyed buying photography books, or any visual book for that matter, and with the equipment and resources at the University of Brighton it was a great opportunity to create a nice, well thought out photobook that helped reflect what I learnt when being at the WMC’s as well as the clubs era and feel. Also, the design of the book and how the book looked was how my graphic design skills played it’s part in the project.

How did you go about making your photobook? Have you got any tips or advice? I had the spreads printed locally and then hand stitched 2 copies. Both are identical and they have hard bound covers with gold foiled titles as well as an additional wrap around cover.

These weren’t the first books I’d made. I’d made quite a few before them and a few black and white copies of this version as there's lots of room for mistake, so I’d say practicing and planning is definitely needed before the final version. 

 From the series  Members Only

From the series Members Only

Are there any stand out photographers who influence your work? Todd Hido, Joel Meyerowitz, Martin Parr, Andre Wagner, Bruce Gilden, JH Engstrom, Joshua Gordon, plus many more.

What equipment did you use to make this work? Do you think your choices reflect your way of working? I used two 35mm cameras, the Contax G1 and Contax T2 which definitely led to more planning and thought when taking the shots. As you’re paying out for film, it makes you appreciate every photo you take a little bit more, unless you’ve got a bottomless pit of film or money. I recently bought a compact digital camera as I’m hoping it will let me have a bit more freedom when shooting and traveling instead of worrying if the photo is worth a space on a roll of film.

 From the series  Members Only

From the series Members Only

What are your future plans? I currently work as an In-House Graphic Designer while practicing my photography outside of work as a hobby and with any freelance opportunities that come up. I hope to continue developing as Graphic Designer and keep my photography involved throughout.

Photograd Print Swap

Would you like to own a print by another photography graduate? If that's a yes then read below.

 Image by featured graduate  Mohamed Hassan

Image by featured graduate Mohamed Hassan

The very first Photograd Print Swap is open to photography graduates from UK based courses only and allows those involved to pick which print they'd like to receive on a first come first served basis.

Once image selections have been made a small £7 fee needs to be paid to cover handling and postage. Images are then uploaded to Photograd where they can be claimed before being posted to their new owner.

Submissions to photogradprintswap@gmail.com

Official guidelines can be found here.

Ginnel Foto Fest 2018 Open Call

The 2018 call by the Ginnel Foto Fest invites photographers to submit single Photographs or a series of maximum four images interpreting this year's theme 'BorderLands'.

All details can be found on the website, www.ginnelfoto.com . This year's prizes are kindly sponsored by Intrepid Camera Co., COES, Frameworkshop and Snappy Snaps Ipswich. Deadline for entries is April 15th. The Ginnel Foto Fest happens on May 26 & 27th and is supported by Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council.

Call 2018.jpg

Darren O'Brien - An Introduction

We recently invited Darren O'Brien to be a regular blog contributor at Photograd as he travels to Singapore and Vietnam as part of his MA Photography course at Falmouth University.

We're looking forward to finding out more about Darren and his travel experiences.


Hi, my name is Darren. I am a Documentary Photographer and photojournalist based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Between the 25th of March and the 8th of April I will be travelling to Singapore and Vietnam and I have been invited by Photograd to keep a travel diary of my experiences to share on the blog, along with images from the trip. I hope to do this as I travel, WiFi access permitting. Before I leave I want to introduce myself and give a little bit of background to my work.

 From the series  And Other Stories

From the series And Other Stories

I graduated in 2009 with a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Brighton before commencing on my career as a photographer. After experimenting with various photographic disciplines, I settled into my current career as a photojournalist. Over the past few years I have had work published in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times and The Times. In 2013 my project Anywhere But Home was published as a book by Brown Owl Press. This project explored the idea of home whilst travelling in a foreign land, which is definitely a theme that creeps into a lot of my work.  

Deciding that it was time to reflect on my practice and explore a more academic approach to photography I started an MA in Photography at Falmouth University through their flexible learning program. I am currently working my way through the second module and will be using images from my trip to Singapore and Vietnam as part of my submitted portfolio for the course.

 From the series  And Other Stories

From the series And Other Stories

I am also putting together a body of work called And Other Storieswhich aims to deconstruct conventional forms of narrative through street photography and reportage. It is a new direction for me, influenced by the style and ascetic of the Provoke era of Japanese street photography in the ‘60s and ‘70s. It plays with the traditional tropes of technical perfection and, for me at least, is a more personal experience. It has a greater emphasis on feelings and spontaneity which contrasts with my more prescriptive work as a photojournalist.

During my trip I will share work from this project plus some of my more documentary images as we travel around. I am travelling with my partner, Sian, who lived in Singapore for 6 years, so the stop off there will have extra meaning. It will be interesting to see what her memories are of the place, 20 years on.

 From the series  And Other Stories

From the series And Other Stories

For the Vietnam leg of the journey it is really all about exploring somewhere that neither of us have been before. When visiting a new place I have a childlike curiosity and excitement which I hope comes through in my photography. We are focussing on the Northern part of Vietnam with stops in Sa Pa, Ha Long Bay and finally Hanoi.

I look forward to sharing my images and experiences with you and hopefully will be an inspiration to get out and explore.

You can find more of my work on my website and follow me on Instagram and Twitter.