As promised, we caught up with Caitlin Chescoe after the launch of her exhibition Kings House: In Transition at Brighton Photo Fringe! Read on to find out what Caitlin has learned from the exhibition, how she got the commission (hint - it involves Photograd!), and what advice she has to give on exhibiting post university...
My name is Caitlin Chescoe and I am a social documentary and portrait photographer and freelance photo assistant who lives and works in London. I graduated from The Arts University Bournemouth with a BA (Hons) in Photography last year in 2015.
The Brighton Photo Fringe festival is a registered charity that gives the opportunity to over 100 different lens based, up and coming artists to exhibit their work from the 1st - 30th October. My series is currently on show at Kings House Thurs–Fri 12:00–18:30 Sat–Sun 11:00–18:30 alongside many other artists.
My exhibition Kings House: In Transition is a new piece of work that Brighton Photo Fringe commissioned me to do alongside three trainee curators; Sarah French, Jamila Prowse and Ruby Rees Sheridan who contacted me after viewing some of my work on the Photograd website. They sent me their concept, which suited me down to the ground, so I accepted. Fortunately the organisers and the curators of The Fringe had already organised a space for the project to be exhibited in and we were given free reign to do whatever we wished with it.
We were very lucky and managed to get access to Kings House straight away as the people who worked there were very enthusiastic about the project. Myself and the curators went around the building into different departments to speak to individuals about their experiences of working there and then I would photograph the individual. For me it was a chance to put into practice different tips and tricks I have been learning from assisting regarding subjects and clients.
We only had a few days to confirm the edit so that I could start the post production process. The series went back and forth between myself and the curators a few times but we managed to make a final decision quite quickly that ended up being within budget.
Some of the lessons that I have learnt from putting on a show at university are to expect things to go wrong and therefore give yourself enough time to rectify this if it happens. We were really lucky and things from the start ran pretty smoothly, amazingly! The only thing that went slightly wrong was the selected printers we were originally printing with told us their turn around time would be a week and when the time came, it was in fact two weeks, which would mean we would not meet the opening date of the festival. We ended up printing at The Printspace whose turn around time is two days and this meant we were able to test print. We also made sure there were extra options print wise for install because when you are actually in a space, everything can change.
The Fringe is in its seventh year now so we were really lucky as most of the promotion for the show had been done for us as it is very well known. The exhibition is online on the Fringe’s website and is also in a printed format. The footfall on the opening evening was great which is why taking part in group exhibitions is so exciting!
My advice to other graduates is as soon as you have left university to start showing some of your work online so that you gain exposure. I know people who have been assisting for years but still have not got round to making their websites and that is what is going to make you stand out among the others, there is so much competition. I am so glad I designed my website before I left as I had so many other things to be getting on with, mainly financially, after leaving university that it just gets put on hold.
It has been great to be given the opportunity to make work again and I really hope that this leads to more commissions. It has been lovely to hear all of the positive feedback from people around me about my images and work ethic. Thank you so much to the trainee curators who put on the exhibition. They have been so organised throughout, have been there to sort out any problems at the click of a finger and really positive about the project. Also thank you to the event organisers for giving me the opportunity to make some new work and also for supporting me from beginning to end. The festival is an amazing event and I hope to be part of it again in the near future!