Photograd interviews Nicholas Priest

To accompany the new edition of PGZ, we have interviewed some photography graduates from the submissions received for the Photograd blog. Here we have an interview with Birmingham City University graduate and current MA student at the University of Gloucestershire Nicholas Priest.


Where did you attend university and what year did you graduate? I attended BCU and graduated in 2009 and I am currently undergoing my first year of my MA at the University of Gloucestershire.

Image from the series  A46

Image from the series A46

Tell us about your time at university. Have you got any stand out moments you can tell us about? I loved the freedom of university and was able to look at a few and mediums in the visual communication course before continuing with my love for photography. I actually transferred from the LCC in London to BCU and from marketing and advertising to visual communication as I found myself bored in lectures and bored of writing essays and all I wanted to do is to take my camera out (and that’s all I did do).

In my second year we were given a documentary photography brief and at this time I was unsure about man area or my area of photography, field and overall real identity in photography. This module and my introduction in to William Eggleston and Stephen Shore through the lectures and tutorial taught me to think about visual story telling. This project really gave me my indemnity and I want to know everything and anything to do with documentary photography and where ideas and thought process are communicate from ideas and research in to visual communication through documentary photography. 

Image from the series  A46

Image from the series A46

What themes do you explore in your work? I really enjoy just getting lost. I have always dropped myself in a location and walked. This use to be with headphones and the latest indie band on but it is now without headphones and listening to the area and the environment and having some sort of guidance through sense of place.

I like to think about a story and narrative before I go and give myself some background knowledge of an area to then try to depict and communicate without the viewer ever being there. This has developed into adding people and trying to portray the person again without the person meeting them and getting some thought process of communication through my photographs. 

I want to try and give the viewer new knowledge through the obvious and documentation of the everyday and through the ideology of sense of place and geographically location of time and space. 

Image from the series  A46

Image from the series A46

Tell us about your series. What's important to you about the A46? Who inspired you? How did you feel when revisiting locations from such significant times in your life? I have seen a lot of the A46 within my 31 years; Burton Farm tip, where myself and my Dad would take trips at the weekend with hedge cuttings and unwanted trinkets to dispose of and give to the Hospice shop. Alcester to Coventry is where my Dad would drive me to football games and I now drive myself up and down this part of the A46 to in and around Stratford and still playing football. My Dad drove up and down the A46 as a national sales man for different companies and I will never forget the orange lollies from Little Chefs that he would bring home and the small BP albums that we used to collect. Towards Coventry, I remember taking a bus with my Mum as a young boy to get a cyst removed as my Dad was working away and we only had one car. Warwick Hospital is just off the A46, where I have visited for twisted ankles, getting wisdom teeth removed and more recently with my Mums Mum passing away.

About 8 years ago, my parents moved from Stratford upon Avon, where I had grown up with my sister and moved down the A46 to Bidford on Avon, we helped them move and I have lived in the house a few times; after university and after a break up with a girlfriend. 

Image from the series  A46

Image from the series A46

I remember working with adults with learning disabilities and I was driving with my ex-girlfriend in the car and was in a consistent mood and mind set of overthinking, which let me to overthinking while driving and I pulled out of a junction at Longbridge Island. Myself and my girlfriend at the time where fine, but this lead me take a step back within my life and leave that job to seek and get help for this over thinking. I got counselling and went on anti-depressants and close to a year later, I had pushed and made myself the person I am now.

I teach photography at the College in Stratford where I was first taught and grew my love for photography, I live in a house in Broadway with my girlfriend and my overthinking is near but gone. I now drive to just see my Mum in Bidford more today as we lost my Dad a few years ago in a freak accident, were we also lost our family Dog. I visit my Mum and her new dog regularly and my Mum comes to watch my play football for a local village team; Welford that my Uncle helps to run.

Sense of place and relationships are journeys, where it is good or bad memories, we change, places and landscapes change, family and friends, live changes. Visiting the A46; I took these memories to where I knew, stopping and walking and documenting what I remember to what has changed. This went up to and just passed Coventry. I then drove and walked where I didn’t know and that was from Coventry to Grimsby and Cleethorpes visting the centre and the outskirts alongside the A46 road. Documenting other memories and what could have been mine if I lived close to that area of the A46. 

As you move from Twkesbury all the way up to Grimsby and Cleethorpes more of the nation voted out in the recent Brexit vote. I wanted to try to show this, and document changes from place to place; documenting the change and giving the viewer a sense of place and idea of change from; little chefs to Starbucks and McDonalds and to portray a portrait of Britain and the real people and the roads and journeys we take.

Image from the series  A46

Image from the series A46

Depending on the outcome of Brexit and the future of the UK, where do you see your photography taking you in the future? Brexit has become an absolute farce. Whether you voted remain or leave. The notion that the people that ‘run’ this country would rather lie than govern the country, for the people is absurd. 

With the arts world this is already no funding and galleries have to charge more than I believe that they would want to as there is no backing and cuts are being made left, right and centre within the arts. 

This filters down to artists and graduates trying to get their work into galleries, exhibitions and enter them in to paying competitions, but there are platforms like Photograd that can use their platform and social media to help photographers be seen and keep them enthusiastic and motivated to continue with work and create new work. 

Image from the series  A46

Image from the series A46

My time with photography has been up to and down and projects have come and gone and some have been finished. With the Brexit outcome I can see myself carrying on with expressing narrative through my documentary photography and this may with the outcome of Brexit and documenting people and places; like my new project the A46 and what, who, and or might be affected by Brexit.

How do you feel your series communicates the current state of the UK? What would you like your viewer to learn? I think my series gives an idea of sense of place, change of landscape and the idea of psychogeography of urban and rural environments. I want to show the viewer the nostalgia of a road and relation to myself.  To show a journey and the change of the how far the a service station has come, to observe buildings and infrastructure, cafes, signs and overall semiotics, and be hopeful that the viewer can resonate with the series and the journey and see different landscapes from west to east of the A46 through; edgelands and into environments where different people voted remain and out.

Image from the series  A46

Image from the series A46

Have you got any exciting future plans? I am about half way through the A46 and starting to get a good vocabulary and looking more in to the contextual side as the project grows. I have been looking in to the road trip through David Company’s The Open Road alongside looking into work after Robert Franks Americans. The main homage has been to Paul Grahams  A1; The Great North Road and the nostalgia of Grahams journey on an ‘A’ road. These photographers, their visual communication, and my thinking through my MA so far has lead down a path of psychogeography; before and psychogeography today and the idea of walking. This has come from readings in to Merlin Coverley, Patrick Keillers Robison series, Doreen Massey’s For Space and Paul Farley and Micheal Roberts Edgelands which are helping my understanding the idea of walking, place, representation, awareness and a vocabulary to go and continue to shoot for my essay into the ‘A46’. 

I have also begun to plan a project around villages in Britain and abroad with the idea of Brexit being a very narrative throughout. 

Fleur and Arbor interview Jennifer Atcheson

To accompany the new edition of PGZ, we approached industry experts to select from submissions received a photography graduate they would like to interview for Photograd. Here we have Fleur and Arbor co-founders Jasmine and Olivia interviewing University of Ulster graduate Jennifer Atcheson.


How did this project come about?

My original project West came about in 2009 as part of my BA Photography studies. After returning from a project in Cyprus about the city of Famagusta, which lies along the Turkish and Greek Cypriot border, I began to reflect on why I was fascinated with this area. 

Having grown up less than a mile from the Northern Ireland / Republic of Ireland border, the answer was clear and I felt compelled that this would be my next project. I photographed the area where I grew up, both the border and people where Tyrone and Donegal meet. Almost a decade later and this project has become more important than ever. 

Currently I am working on a project under the title of Bordertownland where I am exploring all counties along the border, my main subject of interest is the people and portraits within the landscape.

Image from the series  Bordertownland

Image from the series Bordertownland

What is it like to photograph a place that is so familiar? Was there anything that surprised you? It’s alien and familiar at the same time. For many the border areas have a lot of attached anxieties, and although I remember little more than the border checks and the impassable minor roads cratered or obstructed with cement blockades, it still gives me an uneasy feeling even in the most beautiful landscapes. Locals are inquisitive about why you are idling in theses areas, sometimes met with support and sometimes with suspicion, either way it doesn’t go unnoticed. 

What has surprised me most is how it all feels very much like a temporary effort now that I look at these places again. The bridges look utilitarian and inexpensive, the old checkpoint and customs plots left in a state of somewhat maintained disuse, even some old cement blockades remain having been moved only feet from where they once stood. 

Image from the series  West

Image from the series West

How has your career as a Camera Assistant influenced your photography style? Working in the Film and TV influences my work mainly in the way that I have little time to spare to pursue photography. A minimal working week for me is 50 hours and I have just recently worked an unusually long 16-hour day. But having said that I love my job and my career and lifestyle are difficult to differentiate. All my working hours I am constantly thinking about cameras, lenses, filters and light. In my spare time I rarely go a day without thinking about Photography. I have worked with some of the most talented and experienced Cinematographers from around the world who I would never have otherwise met.

Photography is almost like a language and for me the more technical understanding you have, the more fluently you can use it to communicate. My photography has changed technically and I know more intuitively how to achieve a shot, but my style has changed very little. My photography is not in any way cinematic and is a world away from how my short films look. For me Photography and Cinematography are closely related but more akin to cousins than siblings. 

Image from the series  West

Image from the series West

Why did you choose to shoot both the landscape and portraiture? For me landscape and portraiture separately are limited in expressing this subject and my main interests are for the representation of the people within the border areas. Photography is always poses the question of how to represent a subject within a single frame and this is where the landscapes come into play. Most of these people would be directly affected by the reinstatement of any kind of a border. Their lives and work are strongly connected to and dependent on the land. 

You're developing a short film, can you tell us about your process? I haven’t started shooting the short film such as yet, but this piece I would say it is more of a moving image Photography piece rather than a regular Film. It will expand on the photographs with the sound recordings being the most important part. I intend on interviewing the people I have photographed about the border and their feelings towards Brexit, yet the outcome will not be a straight documentary type film.

Image from the series  West

Image from the series West

What does Brexit mean to you? Before I comment I feel I need to state that I have friends and family on both sides of “the divide” both religious and political.

Brexit means a border. Hard or soft, either way, and if it is happens between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland it would more than likely result in at least the closure of one family members small business, and the downsizing of a currently booming Film and TV industry. The reality for myself and other family and friends would be disastrous for our livelihoods and many would have to move away for work even if they wished to stay here.

Brexit has serious consequences for Northern Ireland and could be the catalyst for the destruction of the current fragile state of “peace”. Already in the past months we have witnessed a car bomb in an open public place and in a separate incident, the fatality of a Journalist in a shooting during a riot. Northern Ireland is going to be the most directly affected part of the UK, but seems to have been nothing but a complication and an afterthought to the representing politicians.

Pagy Wicks interviews Ben Milne

To accompany the new edition of PGZ, we approached industry experts to select from submissions received a photography graduate they would like to interview for Photograd. Here we have Semi Magazine founder Pagy Wicks interviewing University of Gloucestershire graduate Ben Milne.


Image from the series  Over the Water

Image from the series Over the Water

Pagy Wicks: Really loved Over the Water. How did you come about deciding to document the differences in economic wealth in Liverpool and Birkenhead? What fueled you to create the photobook?

Ben Milne: Thank you. Well technically I was fuelled by my university deadline, haha, but really I wanted to make a piece of work that had some familiarity and discoverability to it. I was born in Birkenhead then lived within ten miles of it growing up so it just felt right to learn more about an area that is close to home rather than try and tell a story about wealth in a community that hasn’t really got a place in my soul.

PW: Ah right, so this was for university initially? I really like that last line, deciding to document a place that has a relationship with you the photographer. What is your relationship with Liverpool? Did your inside perspective reveal any new insights into the wealth divide, or even Birkenhead in general, you maybe hadn't noticed before?

Image from the series  Over the Water

Image from the series Over the Water

BM: Yeah I made the work for my final major project. My relationship with Liverpool is quite simple, it’s just a place that is fun to visit but in terms of the project it’s got a very visible contrast within such a short space, that being the river Mersey. That contrast is down to a few things, job opportunities, scale, the city status itself but EU funding plays a huge role. Liverpool’s waterfront (as viewed from Birkenhead) was hugely funded by the European Union, while Birkenhead gets some funding it just doesn’t carry the same weight. 

Having a little inside perspective was revealing in the sense that it seemed to allow people to talk more openly with me, not so much about their own current opinion on Birkenhead but more of the pathos they have towards the past. The lady pictured behind the bar is 72 years old and she recounted with a sense of joy about “the good old days” when the streets were full and the Mersey ferry was not just a tourist vessel but a business commute, for many. Things move on, that’s a given, but it feels as if a replacement never came for Birkenhead. It’s almost been forgotten.

Image from the series  Over the Water

Image from the series Over the Water

PW: The image of the old woman behind the bar is almost poetic, it's one of the very memorable images from the book for me. What sort of questions do you hope arise from a reader about the distribution of wealth illustrated by the juxtaposition of Birkenhead and Liverpool? Particularly in relation to the UK leaving the EU?

BM: Thanks very much, I like that one too. She was cool. 

I hope it raises questions about the importance of communities that experience loss and the need for them to be rebuilt in some sort of beneficial way. The model is literally there, 1000 metres away in Liverpool. Not to say that Liverpool doesn’t have its own issues with community neglect but in terms of two waterfronts the importance of European funding is there in the Albert Dock, not only to see but to enjoy. The fact that Birkenhead voted to Leave is no surprise as it’s not really benefited from the crop. It does however highlight a possible future for the UK without the EU. Investment will have to come from alternate means and the question is will those means come? And will they ever see an interest in Birkenhead the same way the EU saw an interest in Liverpool?

Image from the series  Over the Water

Image from the series Over the Water

PW: Thanks so much Ben, really excited to see the work develop in the future. The UK feels very divided at the moment, hopefully our conversation, between two people from either side of the coin, will spark something.

BM: Thanks very much, that was fun. It’s great what you’re doing. I look forward to reading the other interviews, especially the leave side ones, they should be interesting... 

Photograd interviews Alex Jones

To accompany the new edition of PGZ, we have interviewed some photography graduates from the submissions received for the Photograd blog. Here we have an interview with Arts University Bournemouth graduate Alex Jones.


Tell us about your time at university. Have you got any stand out moments you can tell us about? I’d been taking pictures for a long time before Uni and wasn’t sure if it was something I needed to study, I was trying to think what my life would look like if I went to uni and wasn’t sure if I would like it. I was sitting there in my room looking at apprenticeships for jobs I wouldn’t mind working, carpentry, arboriculture; outdoor work mostly. But all the people I went to school with were getting married or having babies so I really saw it as an escape before the walls closed in. I was really happy I applied in the end. I felt lucky to be where I was; it really expanded my mind to entirely new ways of thinking about photography and culture. The staff were constantly supportive and the course really challenged me to reconsider conventional narratives in contemporary photography. Beyond the curriculum, my tutors and classmates fostered a great community that I felt was pretty special to be a part of, just looking at our grad show proved that. Most of all I made life-long friendships with incredibly talented people who constantly inspire me and whose support for one another runs contra to the neo-liberal competitive bullshit that pervades the creative industries. 

Image from the series  바람/Wind

Image from the series 바람/Wind

Tell us about your selection of images. What themes do you explore in your work? The photographs I have selected are a small part of a large series I produced in 2017-2018 titled 바람/Wind

The project is a narrative of two bodies meeting in time and space despite incredibly distant beginnings. Through observational snapshot photography the project forms a journal of my relationship with my girlfriend, Nasung, and a journey we made together to her homeland and beyond. The photographs explore distance, connection, time and love.

What initially inspired you to make this series about your relationship with your girlfriend? I wasn’t really making personal work throughout university; I was more interested in exploring other ideas. I suppose an overarching theme of my work is escapism. I had been making a lot of travel projects: I walked across Cornwall, hitchhiked around Iceland and drove to Wales and Northern Spain, I even made an entire road trip series in a video game. I was interested in boredom, time, meditative states, distance; all the kinds of things you think about on a long drive or a rhythmic hike in open spaces.

Image from the series  바람/Wind

Image from the series 바람/Wind

I was thinking about photography’s failure to convey lived experience, I wondered why I should bother making photographs while travelling if there was already 1000s of images like it on the internet, I wanted to figure out how I could overcome this. I wrote a kind of manifesto for my dissertation that attempted to overcome my concerns. I was looking at the photographs of Kawauchi Rinko, Asako Narahashi and Bertien Van Manen, among others; their work was closest to the idea of separating oneself from the act of photographing but still capturing a lived experience. I was reading up on cognitive science and phenomenology. Part of my conclusion - the photographer that is active in their engagement of the world will not only photograph phenomenological experiences well, but they will experience life well.

And so I took the travel work I had been attempting and pulled it deeper into the personal experience; I opened my diary and threw it out there for anyone to look at, whether it was unique or not didn’t really bother me, it was (and continues to be) a beautiful part of my life, shared with someone who I love.

Image from the series  바람/Wind

Image from the series 바람/Wind

Depending on the outcome of Brexit and the future of the UK, where do you picture your photography taking you in the future? Do you think you will continue to make work around this subject? The isolationist, xenophobic bullshit of Brexit is utterly demoralising but not surprising. I’m not sure how well photography can combat these issues, and I personally struggle to find the energy for it. I’m from Cornwall and I had never felt so disappointed in my entire life the day the results came in, 56% of my people had been totally fooled. The cynical, more privileged, part of me wants to give up; how could they have fallen for the lies so easily, why, when Cornwall is one of the areas that receive the most EU support in all of Europe had they voted to reject that. I doubt the solution to these problems lie in photography, it would be much more worthwhile for me to leave the camera at home and go chat to my neighbours, start an action group etc. I love Cornwall, and the Cornish, and I see hope in the younger generations, but with deeper problems such as a seasonal economy, low wages, second homes and so on; young people will continue to leave and old white people will continue to vote to keep things the same. I’m in two minds about the whole thing, give up and leave, or stay and fight. ‘Fighting’ for me would inevitably lead back to photography, since it’s my tool; I have ideas, it’s just finding the energy. I could become very political in my work or I could retreat. 바람/Wind is about connection; the word for Wind in Korean has a similar meaning to hopeful aspiration, which I felt encapsulated love in a way. I was also thinking about the feelings love and connection brings, and photographing things that I related to these feelings: warm ocean water, a summer breeze, clear blue sky; these elemental, natural phenomena that are sensorial and for me, therapeutic. No matter how fucked up this country becomes I think there is hope for connection to prevail.           

 
Image from the series  바람/Wind

Image from the series 바람/Wind

 

Do you think it's important for us to know where you girlfriend is from and where you made these images? It might be, for the audience. But it’s a universal narrative that I believe a lot of people can relate to. What I do believe is important is that the audience understands the significance of the journey and being invited into someone’s life; to see their world and the way they see it.

With regards to Brexit, our country is becoming a much more insular place. Our future has always seemed fragile, having homes 5000 miles apart, but Brexit has only made it seem even more so. Harsher and more hostile rules on Visas and immigration have brought even more uncertainty to our relationship. Despite this we continue to love and be loved, knowing that it may become difficult or even unfeasible in the future. This project celebrates the joy of sharing your life with someone regardless of politics, nationality or distance.

The images here aren't specifically of your girlfriend, but of the landscape and sometimes include a few other people who we don't know. Why have you edited your series in this way? This is just a small part of the much larger body of work. The project itself actually exists as a publication consisting of 5 books (each for a different chapter and location of our journey) and a 14-meter long scroll print with over 100 images displayed along it. The photographs depict my observations on this journey but interspersed throughout there are a large number of portraits of Nasung and our shared experiences. Despite her not being in many of the photographs you can feel her presence in nearly all of the images, whether she was just waiting for me or occupied by her own curiosity, there is a presence of companionship throughout the series. Nasung was also my guide on this trip and so the things we did and subsequently the things I photographed were directly influenced by her. The structure of the project became clear to me suddenly one day. By chance I was listening to a Sun Kil Moon/Jesu album in which Mark Kozelek reads his diary to the experimental accompaniment of Jesu. In the song Beautiful You, Kozelek nonchalantly describes his day; walking down to the beach, reading some emails, watching a documentary on tv, but interspersed through the quotidian lyrics is the chorus of ‘Beautiful You’ repeated in an almost angelic voice in appreciation of his partner; I thought this really captured the way that being with someone can elevate your day the monotony of the everyday. 바람/Wind is part of my diary but it is elevated by periods of appreciation, admiration and thankfulness for sharing my experiences with my best friend.

Image from the series  바람/Wind

Image from the series 바람/Wind

What does your girlfriend think of you making these images? We enjoy making photographs of one another, all my favourite photographs I’ve taken are of her, and she takes all my favourite photographs of myself. Sometimes it feels like if you care about someone then you will make a nicer photograph of them. As for this project Nasung was my collaborator from the beginning, we made the photographs together, made the final selection together and edited the books together. I tried my best to shirk the authority of representation, but at the end of the day this is my best friend, she makes me happy so I want to document that. I was well aware of similar male-gazey works. I wanted her to have a voice, not just in her editing and self-representation, so I asked her to write the introductions to each book. We put a lot of work in to the project together and it’s great to see both our names together on the front cover. It means a lot to me that the project was a collaboration. Of course there I lots of images that didn’t make the cut, and many moments that were never photographed, I think its nice that no matter how much people see in this project they will never no the full story, Nasung and I will always have the moments that only we share.

 
Image from the series  바람/Wind

Image from the series 바람/Wind

 

What would you like for viewers to learn from your work? There’s a lot that could be said about these photographs and the narrative they depict. But all I really want to say is that I hope in some way they come even within a mile of describing what it’s like to love and be loved.

Have you got any exciting future plans? In June I will be exhibiting the original scroll and launching 바람/Wind as a self-published photobook in Falmouth (dates announcing soon) and maybe London too.

In September Nasung will have one year left on her student visa, I will make lots of photographs just like always and maybe this will become an epilogue to 바람/Wind

Long-term I’m not sure, see how Brexit plays out, move away, maybe to Korea or a more enlightened European country.

Alex Ingram interviews Luke Archer

To accompany the new edition of PGZ, we approached industry experts to select from submissions received a photography graduate they would like to interview for Photograd. Here we have Alex Ingram interviewing Arts University Bournemouth graduate Luke Archer.


Tell me a bit about yourself. Where are you from? How did you get into photography? I’m originally from North West London, end of the Jubilee Line, Zone 5, deep suburbs! After a few years in Bristol I’ve crossed the river and now call South London home. Photography has always been a part of my life in some form or another, my granddad worked for Kodak all his life and predictably gave me my first film and digital cameras, both Kodak obviously! My other grandad died before I was born but he was a working photographer -  I like to think it’s in the blood!

Image from the series  The Rock

Image from the series The Rock

I didn’t become that engaged with photography until studying A level art, at that stage I was using photography as a starting point, painting over photos, collaging, all sorts. At that time, I went to see a big Diane Arbus retrospective at the V&A, it was a pivotal moment because I realised that photography can be so powerful on its own you don’t need to mess around with it. From that point on its been a love hate relationship where I have studied photography, given up on it and then gone back to it. I finished an MA last year and I’m currently trying to pursue assisting while running Loupe magazine.

What is your relationship with Gibraltar? I have family who have lived there for about 10 years so it’s a country I have always been aware of but in reality I had not spent that much time exploring it. I would visit my family in summer holidays and despite flying in and out of Gibraltar most of the time was spent across the border in Spain. The project has enabled me to establish a much better understanding of Gibraltar.

Image from the series  The Rock

Image from the series The Rock

Talk us through your new project. What is it about Gibraltar that interested you and made you want to produce your work there? I had always thought Gibraltar would make a good subject for a project. I think any location that a wider audience knows little about is going to peak a photographer’s interest. I wasn’t aware of any other photographer’s projects based on Gibraltar so it gave me the chance to get stuck in and not be swayed by any existing imagery.  I knew with Brexit looming that Gibraltar would be a place of interest but also that the media coverage might be one dimensional. I felt it would be a good time to shoot a project that went beyond some of the more alarmist headlines.

Gibraltar has a very high number of Spanish workers who migrate into the country every day for work. How do you think Gibraltar will be effected when the UK eventually leaves the EU? Yes as far as I know it’s around 10,000 Spanish workers who cross the border, not to mention Gibraltarians living in Spain and other nationalities who have decided to live on the Spanish side, normally due to cost. It’s very hard to tell because of the general uncertainty that surrounds all of Brexit. There are some scary worst case scenarios. In regards to the workers it could impact on their jobs but this seems unlikely, it’s in everyone’s interest to keep the border open and flowing as normal, anything that hampers this will likely see protests on both sides. One worry for people living in Gibraltar is lack of food. After Brexit  food that would normally cross the border is will now be going out of the EU and it will be subject to a different level of inspection. Apparently, the Spanish border town does not have the facilities to do this and the food would have to go to another nearby port town and perhaps be shipped across to Gib. The very worst case scenario is Gibraltar could run out of food. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen and I think most people expect a rocky first month or so but that some form of normality will return. 

Image from the series  The Rock

Image from the series The Rock

You described Gibraltar as being "more British than the Brits". Can you elaborate on this? What similarities or differences do you see between life in Gibraltar and life in the UK? It’s not a phrase that I have come up with, it’s something that is often said about Gibraltar and I’m not sure I agree with it now. I think because it’s a major tourist destination, sometimes the Britishness is played up for that crowd, thousands of people get off a cruise ship and want to see the red telephone boxes, eat some fish and chips etc.  Whereas day to day life is more Gibraltarian and by that, I mean infused with its own unique culture and identity, which has more of a Spanish influence than most people realise. For example, a lot of casual conversations on the street will be in the local dialect of Yanito which is predominantly Spanish with phrases and words from other languages thrown in. 

There are of course similarities, in the digital age with TV and internet its easier for UK music and fashion to reach Gibraltar, whereas perhaps in the past there might have been a time delay or a disparity. 

Just like the UK It’s also a country of dog lovers and despite the lack of space there are lot of dogs! 

Did you go to Gibraltar with a preconceived idea of what life will be like there? Did that perception change? It’s hard for me to look back because I’ve spent so much time there over the last couple of years. I suppose at first I was guilty of thinking it would be very British and thus easy to get my head around. I underestimated the Spanish influence: it’s worth noting that often Gibraltarian families have one side Spanish and one side British so of course that is going to come together to make something new. That cultural fusion can make understanding the country and its culture very tricky.

Image from the series  The Rock

Image from the series The Rock

Now I see Gibraltar as a distinct country, it’s just like Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland they are all British but each with their own identity and culture.

Were there any stand out moments during your visit? I got back from a visit earlier this year, and during the trip I spent a day with the police force and went out in really rough weather on one of their fast patrol boats. It was crazy the boat was literally leaping out of the water and then slamming back down. I can’t imagine having to chase and stop another boat using one those, I could barely stay in my seat! I don’t think the images will be any good but it was an experience!

What is your favourite image from the series? That’s a tricky one – I’m not always that confident in my individual images I feel the strength comes from how the images come together as a series.  however, I really like the image of the Iman at the Moroccan mosque.

I always find mosques very calm places and it was a low stress sitting, I had plenty of time and he was a great sitter. I’m pleased that I was able show him in context. Portraits are always the hardest but most rewarding aspect for me!

Image from the series  The Rock

Image from the series The Rock

Do you plan on returning to Gibraltar after the UK leaves to continue working on the project? Yes definitely, I have portrait sittings I still need to complete and a few locations I’m in the process of securing access to. I’m very lucky that I can stay with family so going out is not too much of a challenge financially. A lot does depend on Brexit, now it’s great excuse to get the project out there and bring attention to Gibraltar. If Brexit is disastrous then I might be out there photographing the impact. However, I hope that whatever happens  is minor, as a country its survived sieges so I’m sure it will cope with whatever Brexit throws at it!  In the long run, I hope the project will be framed more around Gibraltar’s unique landscape and identity and Brexit will be more of a footnote.

What's next for you? Are you currently working on any other projects? I have a long list of projects I would love to shoot but it’s going to take several lifetimes to get through them all! I have previously been bad at finishing projects so I would be nice to see this one in print before moving on. I do have one project idea that is more focused around technology I just need to research it to make sure no one else has shot it already! 

#PHOTOGRAPHY Magazine’s Genea Bailey interviews Jordan Turnbull

To accompany the new edition of PGZ, we approached industry experts to select from submissions received a photography graduate they would like to interview for Photograd. Here we have #PHOTOGRAPHY Magazine’s Genea Bailey interviewing University of Gloucestershire graduate Jordan Turnbull.


Curating #PHOTOGRAPHY Magazine has introduced me to many fascinating bodies of work, those that resonate most are projects with a compelling narrative, which is essential when it comes to issues of importance such as Brexit. Jordan Turnball’s series A Rock and a Hard Place explores beneath the surface of Gibraltar, revealing the troubling core of a British territory in political limbo and shedding a light on an overlooked community. 

Image from the series  A Rock and a Hard Place

Image from the series A Rock and a Hard Place

What was it about Gibraltar specifically that moved you to make this body of work opposed to other territories within British jurisdiction? I was researching possible ideas for my Final Major project knowing that I wanted to focus on something Brexit related because this was the biggest change to happen to the country in decades and it would affect how Britain interacted both internally and with the rest of the of the world.

I was reading a ‘Financial Times’ piece detailing the issues surrounding the “Irish Backstop” and after finishing the piece there was a related article on Gibraltar and how Brexit would affect the tiny overseas territory. I did look into other territories such as Helena and Ascension but Gibraltar’s ease of access and the way the inhabitants had showed their loyalty to Britain in the past only reinforced my vision that the work would hold greater resonance there.

Gibraltar appears to be a haven caught among generations of consistent turmoil between irreconcilable governments. Having explored and documented the culture, in what way do you think this has affected Gibraltarian people and everyday life? I think, to a degree, this has affected the Gibraltarians. I have heard about fisherman being hassled after the Brexit vote went through and threats regarding the border have been made before although nothing too concrete has been put in place as of yet. It does seem to me that each generation of Gibraltarian has got to prove where their loyalties lie, as if those who had voted in 2002 would feel any less British than the generation who voted in 1967, with both outcomes resulting in resounding favour of British sovereignty. 

Image from the series  A Rock and a Hard Place

Image from the series A Rock and a Hard Place

I can completely understand why they would feel very frustrated and a little bit apprehensive that any movement politically that Britain or Spain makes could unearth this issue again and go to a peoples vote, which having spoken to Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia, would no doubt result in the same outcome of the previous two. Gibraltarians are British, although territorially not part of the mainland, which means that Gibraltar has a balancing act on its hands in keeping both Spain, its neighbour, happy while continuing with a proud British identity. 

Your work shows an unwavering loyalty to the UK despite the Gibraltarian people having overwhelming voted to remain. Do you think this support will falter once exit negotiations have come into full effect, especially with Gibraltarian economy relying heavily on Spanish trade and open borders? I think this would be more difficult to foresee because things can change so quickly and go in the opposite direction to what was predicted. There are a couple of things that make Gibraltar such a unique place. One being that they are almost entirely self-governing and completely self-financing which allows them to create their own budgets which in turn has shown economic growth possibly when other EU members have not. While I was there I noticed just how much construction was happening in the area, owing to the high demand for development of properties within an area which is still seen as very attractive to businesses establishing themselves. Gibraltar does rely on Spain for construction and other materials so hypothetically if they chose to cut off these links by a hard border it could have detrimental affects on Gibraltars economy. On the other hand Gibraltar single handedly accounts for 25% GDP of the overall southern region of Andalucía through employment and purchasing of these aforementioned materials so Spain would have to determine whether to lose such a positive partner and think about the social and economic implications of those actions. 

Image from the series  A Rock and a Hard Place

Image from the series A Rock and a Hard Place

Has creating this work shifted your viewpoint on Brexit and what it means to be British? In short regarding whether my viewpoint has been changed, no, it has not due to the fact that there have been no positive steps to come out of the whole process. We have gone through the initial transfer talks, parliamentary meetings to summits and thus far are no closer to agreeing a deal with the EU than when we started in June 2017. 

To be British, for me, is to be proud of my country, respectful and have a sense of belonging. It's also a privilege especially when you turn on the news and see some of the other events that are happening in other parts of the world and I do think this is disregarded a lot of the time. Making the work certainly reinforced my pride in Britain as there’s a real neighbourly atmosphere within Gibraltar shown through the decorative Union Jacks on almost every street as a way of reminding people of their history, back in the UK we only get that robust togetherness feeling when a World Cup is on or its one of the Royals birthdays, but when it happens its certainly a great feeling. 

Image from the series  A Rock and a Hard Place

Image from the series A Rock and a Hard Place

Do you have any plans to continue the project or any other Brexit based work? I do have plans to go back to Gibraltar and continue the project, there’s a few other photographers making work over in that corner which is good because its got a lot to say for itself and the people are really interesting. Brexit is an absolute goldmine for photographic work not just politically but on a social level too as something will always be shifting further down the line so its good to see other creatives exploring these changes. 

I have certainly been taking notes on other potential situations that are developing or will develop when and indeed if we do eventually leave. Theres an argument that if we leave we could capitalise on greater trading with India, The UAE and Japan which could throw up some interesting narratives with opportunities to travel. We will also more than likely feel the effects of Brexit for years to come so there will constantly be new opportunities for work arising closer to home.

An interview with female photography group, Uprooted

UPROOTED features six female artists from different cultural backgrounds working with a distinctly diverse approach: photography, installation pieces and works on paper. The unexpected fusion of each artist’s practice leads to a metaphorical understanding of the concept uprooted. The exhibition celebrated the not-yet possibilities when something or someone is rooted out from its familiar locations.

Private view: 29th May 2019, 6-9pm

Dates: 30 May - 2 June, 12-6pm

Location: Arts Hub Gallery. 509 Creekside, Deptford, London SE8 4SA


Tell us about Uprooted.an.exhibition. Who does the group show consist of and have you all studied photography? We are an evolving group of six female artists from different cultural backgrounds, where photography is at the core of what we do. The Uprooted exhibition will consist of a diverse approach including, photography, installation pieces and works on paper. We all studied MA Photography at University of the Arts London in 17/18. 

Image by  Clare Hoddinott

Who or what motivates members to continue making new work?  Our practice is research driven, so this sparks ideas and experimentation. We support one another to activate momentum to try things out and create a safe space to celebrate our achievements and our failures. 

How did Uprooted.an.exhibition come to the surface? What were the initial ideas and inspirations? We wanted to create a group of women to support one another in the next phase of our artistic journeys post studying a Masters. We wanted our work to be seen beyond the UAL network, to create and curate something that we had full control over and to try things we weren't able to do within an educational institution. We were inspired by the common threads running through our works and wanted to build a show around the unexpected fusion of each other’s practice which leads to the metaphorical understanding of the concept uprooted

What is the group’s biggest achievement to date? This is our first exhibition together. Watch this space… 

Individually, we are busy exhibiting elsewhere including, Photo London, Arles in France, Thomassen Gallery in Sweden and The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle. 

Image by  Nazanin Raissi

What's the main goal for Uprooted.an.exhibition? The exhibition celebrates the not-yet possibilities when something or someone is rooted out from it’s familiar location. We hope that each person that comes to the show will find something that resonates with them when thinking about the concept behind uprooted

Image by  Laura Blight

Image by Laura Blight

How can photographers get involved in what you do?  Anyone is welcome to come along to the private view on 29th May between 6.00-9.00pm and the exhibition will remain open till the 2nd June, so do come along and say hi. The majority of the artists should be around most days too. Otherwise you can e-mail us info.uprooted@gmail.com or follow us on Instagram @uprooted.an.exhibition to get in touch. 

Image by SandraF

Image by SandraF

Give one tip to new photography graduates. Perseverance. Things can take time. Our show has been 6 months in the making due to a few hiccups and hurdles, particularly in finding a suitable, affordable and available space in London. 

What does the future have in store for the group? We want to progress and expand our individual practices, collaborate with other artists and engage with the local community in practical ways.

Introducing Darkroom

darkroom is a fantastic new facility in Camden Town in north London where you can work comfortably to produce high quality photographic prints.

 
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With a range of enlargers that will satisfy most photographers’ needs, ranging from easy to use Kaiser 35mm/120 enlargers to a range of De Vere and LPLs capable of handling everything from 35mm to 5 x 4.

Initially, you will need to attend a short Induction session with an experienced technician, to ensure you understand how all the equipment works and what standard operating practices are.

Once inducted, as a member you can book an enlarger for a session of independent printing. darkroom provides all essential chemicals (developer, stop, fix, etc.), so all you need to bring is your own paper. darkroom even provides a processing service for films received at least 48 hours in advance.

No previous darkroom experience? Don't worry, darkroom offers workshops to get you started, or if you've mastered the basics there will be more advanced courses too. Head over to Courses and Workshops to find out more and book your first workshop.


Here we have an interview with one of darkroom’s directors, Phil Grey.

Run by a small group of photographers and enthusiasts, based in Camden Town, this fully equipped darkroom offers a co-working space to artists and photographers working with film based photography, as well teaching those keen to learn. The space offers membership, introductory and intermediate workshops, and aims to sustain a film based photographic community. 

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So, starting from the beginning, what motivated you to start darkroom? Well, we’re all film-based photography enthusiasts and felt that there was a need for a co-working space that supports other film-based photographers. Sadly, a lot of darkrooms are closing down, so we inherited a lot of our equipment as we couldn’t bear to see it all thrown away. A number of photographers have also very generously donated equipment they no longer use. 

We’re really keen to support the revival of interest in film based processes that has arisen over the last few years. As well as our membership, and co-working facilities, we offer workshops enabling darkroom access to people who may never have experienced the magic of one before. 

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Why do you think analogue photography is still so relevant today? I think younger photographers, who have always worked digitally, appreciate working away from screens, and slowing down their photographic process. I think there’s an increasing number of creatives who enjoy the discipline of working with film, and the therapeutic experience of spending time in a darkroom. There are also older photographers who are welcoming the opportunity to get back into the darkroom, and have that experience they had when they were younger. Few people nowadays have the equipment (or space to house it), to enable them to have a darkroom at home. 

The  darkroom  team with Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery

The darkroom team with Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery

People who come in to use our space are constantly saying how enjoyable it is to slow down and spend time with a tactile process. They also love doing it in the company of others. It’s become a place to meet people, a place to share ideas, see other people’s work - some members are collaborating together on new projects.

Who is darkroom for? Everyone! Well, everyone who loves, or wants to learn more about, photography and film based processes. It’s for people who want to continue working with film, processing film, developing prints, learning about the processes. We run workshops for new comers and people who want to improve existing skills, as well as offering facilities for those who want to get on with their own work.

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How can those interested, get involved? You can find details of our membership offers and workshops on www.darkroomlondon.org or follow us on Instagram and Twitter. We offer a 20% discount for students and recent graduates!


darkroom membership details

As a user of darkroom you can choose the membership that suits you best. Members are at the heart of the darkroom community. We have different membership schemes to meet different needs, as well as our new gift memberships for your analogue enthused loved ones. 

Resin Coated £60 - Our entry level membership for occasional users. This membership enables you to book your darkroom sessions.

Silver Bromide £250 - For those of you who imagine developing your relationship with us. In addition to your induction, you get four free long or seven short sessions, plus 10% discount on workshops and darkroom sessions.

Platinum £500 - For the safe light junkie. Free induction and one free long session per month, plus 10% discount on workshops, darkroom sessions and bookings at our partner studio 2 Iliffe Yard.

Our friends at Process Supplies are offering all darkroom members an additional 5% discount on their already very competitive prices.

Once you buy annual membership and have taken our mandatory Induction (£20 for Resin Coated members) you can use our online booking to reserve darkroom sessions.

Session Prices

Weekday Long Sessions  £45

Weekday Short Sessions  £30

Weekend Long Sessions  £55

Weekend Short Sessions  £35 

Bulk buy sessions in advance and get one free. Six-pack Weekday £225. Six-pack Weekend £285

Exclusive weekday darkroom use once a month from £80.

One-to-one guided sessions with an experienced tutor from £150

Student Discount: We offer a 20% discount to students on Memberships, and 10% on Workshops and Access Sessions.

 
 

Introducing The South West Collective of Photography

In this blog post we introduce you to The South West Collective of Photography, a company dedicated to promoting photography and art as a medium in the South West of England. Run by Plymouth University’s recent BA Photography Graduate Samuel Fradley.


Who are you, what's your motto? My name is Samuel Fradley and my motto is to make a positive change within this world.

What’s your background? Have you studied photography? For the last 6 years my life has pretty much revolved around some sort of education whether that be from A levels all the way to university; it always involved photography. I studied a BA in Photography at the University of Plymouth and graduated with a first-class honours degree last year.

Image from the series  A Handshake with a Martian  by  Samuel Fradley

Image from the series A Handshake with a Martian by Samuel Fradley

What's your favourite style of photography? I am a big fan of documentary photography, particularly works which are approached as a photographic study. The idea that the photograph freezeframes that moment in time and keeps a record of that story fascinates me. 

Who or what motivates you? I have always been motivated to be my own boss. I suppose I have always had this feeling of rebellion or resentment to those who control or have power to control what I do in my days; I have always wanted to follow my own goals and dreams and through photography I can explore that. I suppose that’s natural as an artist, as you create work within your own perspective. In the last few years I have been really motivated to make a positive change in the photography world. Too many young artists go through education thinking there are little opportunities and it is my absolute goal to change this. 

Image from the series  A Handshake with a Martian  by  Samuel Fradley

Image from the series A Handshake with a Martian by Samuel Fradley

Can you tell us what The South West Collective of Photography is? The South West Collective of Photography is a company dedicated to the promotion of photography and art in the South West. Founded by myself in July 2018 the Collective aims to one day have a permanent gallery or space for artists to work, exhibit and explore their artistic interests. The Collective is a business, but heavily interacts within our local community and voices its opinion on a wide variety of topics that relate to our interests. 

Primarily an online platform, we feature the work of emerging photographer’s and graduates over a variety of social platforms as well as on our own website. This will develop into so much more in the future. 

Image from the series  A Handshake with a Martian  by  Samuel Fradley

Image from the series A Handshake with a Martian by Samuel Fradley

Tell us about the team behind The South West Collective of Photography. Currently, The South West Collective is just myself; Samuel Fradley. In business terms it is just me, but in artist terms that will soon change.

The Collective was always meant to be more than just me; therefore, I am pleased to announce that starting from May, the Collective will begin to announce new members to the Collective family, with our first artist being Ella Cousins. Ella is a recent graduate from Southampton Solent University and will be a fantastic part of the team. Her inspiration, motivation and kind heart is something that is desperately needed in this industry and I am certain she will play her part in inspiring female artists all across the country.

More artists will be announced in time, but I am delighted to say that there will be a strong female presence on the collective, representing and inspiring female artists across the country and further afield with Ella taking a lead on this. 

Image from the series  River  by  Ella Cousins

Image from the series River by Ella Cousins

What were your initial aims and inspirations when putting ideas together for the collective? Honestly when I started the Collective I didn’t have a plan. I’m not really one for long term planning, I have kind of got through life doing everything last minute and it has ironically worked. I knew that I wanted to start an organisation in the South West that represented photography. The primary reasons for this was that the South West has little to no infrastructure for photography. The majority of exhibitions, galleries and institutions are in Bristol or London, but for the thousands of fantastic artists here in the West Country, we have quite literally have nothing. The goals are to change that. I don’t actually pay myself at all from the Collective because I want it to grow. Although in the future I want this to be my living, for now I have to nurture it. 

What is The South West Collective of Photography's biggest achievement to date? Appearing out of nowhere and growing it into a photography platform for artists across the United Kingdom. I have been so privileged and honoured to feature a wide variety of photographers, both students and graduates on the Collective who are so immensely talented, it has just been a fantastic experience hearing people’s stories and watching their work develop. Meeting new people has to be a highlight too, I have encountered so many genuinely lovely people it makes this all worth it.

Image from the series  River  by  Ella Cousins

Image from the series River by Ella Cousins

How can photographers get involved in what you do? At this moment in time, all you have to do is reach out to me via email, Instagram or Facebook. I am more than happy to chat to artists and give advice or discuss featuring them on the Collective. As this Collective grows more opportunities will come about, but for the time being that is the only way to get involved. I am ALWAYS open to new ideas, improvements etc. 

Give one tip to new photography graduates. Ignore what everybody else is doing. Make the work you want to make in the style you want to make it. At the end of the day if somebody doesn’t like your work it’s only an opinion. Don’t fret, figure out what’s right for you and don’t fall into trends or patterns just because something is popular.

Tell us about your goals for The South West Collective of Photography for the future. My goals are to keep on going, to make this my own living and to get out of my part time job. Obviously like mentioned before, the long-term goals are to have our own space, but until that day comes, it’s just a case of going day by day and taking every opportunity that I can to grow The South West Collective. We will be seeking to hold exhibitions, run workshops and artist talks too, to get the public to interact with photography and to inspire the next generation.

Image from the series  River  by  Ella Cousins

Image from the series River by Ella Cousins

What does 2019 have in store for The South West Collective of Photography? 2019 is a huge year for us as it will be our first full year since it was founded. In May we will be hosting our inaugural exhibition. The South West Collective of Photography have been offered the fantastic opportunity to turn a disused, empty shop space on Torquay High street at Fleet walk, into a fully operational public photography exhibition for a duration of 6 weeks beginning in early May 2019. This will be a first in Torbay with regards to photography and will hopefully be the start of something fantastic within the local community and aims to engage with a wide variety of demographics. 

The exhibitions theme is “Visual Story Telling” and will be focusing on local artists and artists from further afield, who have created gripping and engaging photographic bodies of work presenting to the public issues and stories that they may not have ever heard of. We want the exhibition to have as much community engagement as possible and will seek to be holding workshops, talks and visits from local schools, as well as working with local businesses and organisations to try and get the public engaged with photography as a medium and our exhibition. We are hoping to run a series of events and talks from historians and lecturers which will educate students and the public on the selected works themes, in order to educate them on the bigger picture that they otherwise might not be aware of. 

Not only this; we will soon be releasing our brand new website which will have a ton of new content so stay tuned for that!

Introducing FORM

In this blog post we introduce you to FORM, a lens based collective who create and communicate on issues concerning altered identity. FORM are currently calling for work for an exhibition in Derby. FORM Fringe will coincide with FORMAT International Photography Festival 2019 which will consist of a series of exhibitions, events, and a photobook stall. Click here to find out how to submit. Deadline Sunday 24th February 10am and entry is free.


What is FORM? FORM is a collective of artists based across the UK who all work with photography. Our specialisms range from graphic design, creative writing, artist book making, event planning, product photography, socially engaged practice and teaching. Our core aim is to support the production of new projects by sharing skills, collaborating and creating a community of artists.

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Tell us about the members of FORM. Have you all studied photography? FORM is made up of Becky, Cath, Jo, June, Liz and Rachael. Becky and June both studied Photography at MA level, at London College of Communication and Westminster respectively. Jo also studied at LCC for her BA in Photography, and Rachael also studied BA Photography but at Manchester School of Art. Liz studied her BA in Brighton, which allowed her to produce image and text for her dissertation and Cath studied on a Creative Arts degree and now teaches Photography A Level.

Who or what motivates members to continue making new work? We all motivate each other, that’s one of the huge benefits of working as a collective. Photography can be very solitary, and even though we all produce work at different rates we all benefit from feedback from the rest of the group and having a deadline.

How did FORM come to the surface? We were established in response to Redeye, the Photography Network’s ‘Lightbox’ program; a creative development course where photographers are grouped into collectives and supported through talks, workshops and provided a mentor. FORM were matched with Nicola Shipley of Grain Photography Hub and since the program ended have continued to work together and with Nicola to make new work.

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What is the collectives biggest achievement to date? Our first exhibition together at Brighton Photo Fringe is the biggest project we’ve worked on to date. All of the members developed new projects responding to the title of ‘Form’ while organising the fundraising, curation and promotion of the exhibition. We were based in the Collectives Hub alongside some brilliant fellow collectives and projects and received some great feedback on the show.

Tell us about the conversations you produce for your website. What's your aim for them? The conversations started initially to informally introduce the members and give us all the opportunity to know each other better, but that format suits us perfectly because it represents how we want to work as a collective.

How can photographers get involved in what you do? If you like what we do please follow us on Instagram! FORM is currently looking to work with other photographers as part of the fringe at FORMAT International Photography Festival, details of this can be found on www.formcollective.co.uk.

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Give one tip to new photography graduates. Work with other creatives! Find people who you can work with to motivate each other, get honest feedback and collaborate with. Even if they aren’t a photographer, having someone to push you to keep making work and applying for opportunities is invaluable.

What does 2019 have in store for FORM? We have recently received Arts Council funding to produce work and exhibit in a fringe alongside the FORMAT International Photography Festival. We are all continuing to develop new work for more FORM exhibitions and events, and we want to meet and work with new people. We are also very excited about the launch of Landform, a platform for female landscape photographers run by Cath. Landform will be having their first events in 2019, and there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved in photo walks and socials this year.




Introducing Landform

In this blog post we introduce you to Landform, a network developed to promote and support the work of female landscape photographers. Supporting each other in practice and engagement with landscape.


Image by Lisa Bond

Image by Lisa Bond

Who are you, what’s your motto? I am Cath Stanley, a landscape and fine art photographer based in Manchester.  I am one of the members of FORM Collective, a relatively new collective who has just completed a successful first year.

What’s your background? Have you studied photography? I graduated with a creative arts degree and have taught graphics and photography in further education for the last 17 years. Having taught in an art department you become quite familiar with many creative techniques, my last project took on a more mixed media style.

I am part of FORM collective, a group of talented photographers and image makers from across the UK.  Last year we put together our first exhibition at the collective hub as part of Brighton Photo Fringe.  

Image by Cath Stanley

Image by Cath Stanley

What’s your favourite style of photography? That is a difficult question, I actually like and appreciate a lot of different styles of photography. Although my main work is based in the area of landscape, I often find great interest in alternative photography techniques, I like the aesthetic of film and some of the camera-less methods. I like photography with an interesting story behind it, something that opens conversations or raises questions, expresses a point of view or just simply engages the audience in different ways.  

Who motivates you? I love travel and adventure, I like exploring and different types of landscape really motivate me. I have always been a bit of a daydreamer and spent quite a bit of my early education staring out of the window at the outdoors. The idea of just being able to lose yourself amongst mist shrouded mountains, or explore wild moors, see sun rays beaming through clouds or capture forests of tightly knit trees, it is the landscape itself gives me a real sense of wellbeing. Sometimes I return to locations and document the change in seasonal colours as this particularly interests me.

Image by Joanne Coates

Image by Joanne Coates

Can you tell us what Landform is? I set up Landform as a network to develop, promote and support the work of female photographers who are interested in landscape. Through social media, meet ups at various locations around the UK, photo walks, portfolio/work reviews, workshops and possible exhibitions it is my aim to support others in our practice and engagement with landscape.

Landform aims to bring female photographers together, of all levels and abilities, to encourage a supportive group, to share good practice and skills, whilst exploring new areas within the landscape as a group. 

What were your initial aims and inspirations when putting ideas together for Landform? There are lots of reasons to why I set up Landform, firstly landscape photography can be quite solitary and some of the best light to capture during the day is tricky especially if you live in a city. Having a community, a group of like-minded individuals to support and share good practice with means we can explore and engage new locations safely.  

There is also a real imbalance of female photographers to males in industry, with just under 30%, maybe even less in landscape. As a female landscape photographer, full time teacher and a mum it is very hard to gain a balance, to juggle all the responsibilities to just be able to drop everything and go out to take photographs. Most importantly that no matter what your photographic ability is or whether using a mobile phone, I would like Landform to be open to all.

Image by Lisa Bond

Image by Lisa Bond

What is Landforms biggest achievement to date? Landform is very much within its infancy, but I have had overwhelming support from both other photography networks and groups of people who are interested in supporting or joining me at events. I am a big fan of using social media to share other peoples accounts and promote work, I think that sometimes as photography can be quite isolated and using social media can be for some quite daunting it is difficult to become lost, especially as landscape photography is so popular. I have received so many positive and heart-warming messages from followers who are genuinely surprised that I have shared their accounts. 

Image by Joanne Coates

Image by Joanne Coates

How can photographers get involved in what you do? Landform on Instagram offers a place for female landscape photographers or image makers of any level to share their images, it is a platform to promote their work and a space that is a supportive community for other like-minded individuals.   

Later this year I am running a series of social meet ups and photo walks out in the Peak District and other locations, building our community and enabling individuals to meet, share good practice, create new opportunities 

Image by Cath Stanley

Image by Cath Stanley

Give one tip to new photography graduates? Opportunities, take opportunities and then create opportunities for others because everyone needs a bit of help just to grow and to believe in themselves.

What does 2019 have in store for Landform? As Landform is still in its very early stages I am hoping to establish a community and the support for others grows both on social media and on photo walks.

Introducing Fable & Folk

There seems to be a running theme in our recent blog posts here at Photograd as we introduce you to some other online communities and networks.
In this blog post we introduce you to Fable & Folk, an independent platform created to embrace and share the tradition of visual storytelling to inform, educate and inspire.

We think Charlotte’s answers are really inspiring so we hope you enjoy a read through them.

If you have something to share or talk about on the blog, get in touch!

Kate Walker,  A Day Away From the Farm , 2018

Kate Walker, A Day Away From the Farm, 2018

Who are you, what's your motto? My name is Charlotte and I’m a recent photography graduate. I wouldn’t say I have a motto, but one of my favourite quotes is “comparison is the thief of joy”. I think this applies so much within the photographic community - I spent years looking at other people’s work and thinking it was so much better than my own. Once I learnt to value my own work and not compare myself to others, I produced my best photography to date.

What’s your background? Have you studied photography? I was born in Manchester but grew up in a small village in North Lincolnshire. I started studying photography at A Level then moved to Cheltenham to study Editorial & Advertising Photography at The University of Gloucestershire. I graduated in November and recently got a job as a Content Creation Manager at an independent company specialising in homeware and DIY products. I plan on travelling in a couple of years time and would like to start my own photobook business in the future.

Charlotte Colenutt,  Soul Mate , 2018

Charlotte Colenutt, Soul Mate, 2018

What's your favourite style of photography? I wouldn’t say I have a favourite genre of photography, I love and appreciate photographs that tell a story or photographs that have thought and craftsmanship behind them. My specialisation, however, is documentary photography because I love to talk to people. I love to dedicate time to speaking to someone, finding out their story and trying to capture that. Moreover, I love finding out the story behind an interesting place and trying to document every inch of it to best tell it’s story to others.

Who or what motivates you? I have been passionate about photography for years now. I guess what motivates me to photograph is I feel a need to tell people’s stories and share them. I feel motivated by what’s going on in the world and by finding stories I haven’t seen/heard told before. I also surround myself with other photography - photobooks, magazines, social media accounts, organisations and blogs - to inspire me and keep me constantly thinking of new ideas.

Can you tell us what Fable & Folk is? Fable & Folk is an online platform created to embrace and share the tradition of visual storytelling to inform, educate and inspire others. Directed at young or aspiring photographers, it’s a space I curate and share narratives and photo-stories. I want to develop Fable & Folk into more than just a blog sharing others work but an online hub - full of information from fellow budding photographers and the professionals whilst keeping my audience updated with current affairs in the photographic world.

Gweniver Exton,  Spiritual Spaces , 2018

Gweniver Exton, Spiritual Spaces, 2018

Tell us about the team behind Fable & Folk. There isn’t really a team at Fable & Folk, it’s mostly just me. I tend to be involved in every step of the process from recruiting a photographer to feature to the end blog post and sharing that on social media. I don’t feel I would be 100% truthful though if I said I did everything. Sometimes, my partner Adam Elliott and a few great friends from university, particularly Megan Bendall, are a great assistance in helping me find new and exciting work. It’s difficult running the operation mostly on my own but I consider it my baby and even if I had a full team of amazing staff, I’d still want to be involved in everything.

What were your initial aims and inspirations when putting ideas together for Fable & Folk? Fable & Folk started when I was studying at university and couldn’t decide what I wanted to do for a career - all I knew was that I love photobooks. I love designing them, constructing them and collecting them. Eventually my tutor Grant Scott and I decided the best way for me to pursue a career in photobooks would be for me to start my own publishing company. To build an audience, you first need to create a blog that naturally attracts an audience that will eventually move from the blog, to your company. I can’t thank Grant and my university peers enough for their support of Fable & Folk and if you haven’t already, I recommend listing to Grant’s podcast series ‘A Photographic Life’.

Jordan Turnbull,  A Rock and a Hard Place , 2018

Jordan Turnbull, A Rock and a Hard Place, 2018

What is Fable & Folk's biggest achievement to date? I’ve never been one to keep track of numbers or views. I know it sounds cheesy but I would say my biggest achievement is having had the chance to be in contact with so many fantastic photographers and to have built a hub of Fable & Folk support on Twitter. I feel so proud of where Fable & Folk is, who our biggest supporters are and most importantly, the list of photographers I get to consider friends and mentors.

How can photographers get involved in what you do? We always love being contacted by photographers! If you’re interested in submitting to Fable & Folk, visit our ‘Contact’ page for more details. We don’t have specifics on what the series should necessarily be or look like, we only ask you send us a strong narrative. THAT’S IT. That’s not to say we accept all work but we always want to offer something - whether it’s a feature on the blog or advice on how to develop the work to eventually get it featured. We also love getting constructive criticism and positive feedback from our audience on F&F so please feel free to message us or drop us an email.

Adam Elliott,  For ours you see, was Welsh steam coal , 2018

Adam Elliott, For ours you see, was Welsh steam coal, 2018

Give one tip to new photography graduates. If I could give one tip to new photography graduates I would stress the importance of networking - whether it’s through social media or attending events, it’s vital to make contact with other photographers. Networking so much during my course has meant that since leaving university, and trying to grow Fable & Folk, I have had endless support and mentorship from so many different photographers and influencers within the community - special thanks to Iain Sarjeant for giving me heaps of advice when the blog first started and to Chloe Juno for motivating me and offering so much help. In addition, I think it’s even more helpful if you’re struggling mentally, feeling overwhelmed or lost, to talk to someone in the same boat so don’t be afraid to reach out!

What does 2019 have in store for Fable & Folk? I don’t want to give too much away but I’m hoping 2019 will be a game changer for Fable & Folk. I really want to get more interviews on the blog and I’d like to try and get a new feature on the site where I share exhibitions, events and workshops for people to attend. I’d also potentially like to rebrand - new website, new logo - so the brand evolves with the work and the audience. I hope we can really develop into a fully realised online platform featuring lots of different important yet inspirational content for budding photographers/ photography enthusiasts.

Introducing Flourish

In this blog post we introduce you to Flourish, a magazine all about thriving in a particular place, community, culture and flourishing in the outdoors. Flourish are currently seeking support through their Kickstarter campaign to bring their second issue to life which will be all about the British Isles. Check out their great rewards here - we’ve pre-ordered ourselves a copy!


Volume 1 of Flourish

Volume 1 of Flourish

My name is Lucy Jane Saunders and I am a Bath Spa University Photography graduate. I started photography years before going to university as a hobby, inspired by the disposable film camera images my dad would bring home and develop after his travels abroad. I never anticipated it could become my job, yet it slowly immersed me into the world of photography and its potentials. At university my style narrowed and I found my preferred way of working. Photographers such as Jon Tonks, Colin Pantell and Robert Darch inspired my documentary approach to photographing. Yet being outdoors, travelling, and finding new locations really motivated me to keep making new work. 

After graduating two years ago I started freelancing alongside setting up the magazine publication ‘Flourish’. I have always adored working within print production and love magazine design. I initially created it out of pure passion, the desire to create new work, and design pages where photographs and text interacted on the page telling stories. But once the first volume was made I almost felt selfish keeping it to myself… the stories I had encountered travelling, the archive of photographs I had collected and the other people I collaborated with. I decided to launch a Kickstarter Campaign to see if other creatives would be interested in supporting the publication to get the magazine to print. To my surprise we achieved our target! People from all over the world backed the campaign and three months later we had enough funding to get the magazine to the printers. I sat in the post office for hours posting a host of magazines to backers and from there I tried to gain stockists to hold the rest.

Flourish became a brand rooted from its definition: “(of a living organism) grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly congenial environment.” As humans we are constantly seeking new, intriguing, and stimulating locations to explore, travel, and experience. Flourish aims to capture those moments we treasure; the bright colours, the tastes we remember, and most importantly the time spent thriving within that place. 

I wanted to capture not only the sensual elements of a location, but also its underlying struggles, and those who have met and overcome the challenges of sustainability. Those who live from the land, create from the land, and are protecting and flourishing with the nature that surrounds them.  

In recent years, photographic magazines have been blurring the lines between books and throwaway publications. Flourish is a magazine with stability, acting as a visual map for your mind, a great piece of reading material for your rucksack, and some inspiration to enjoy with your morning coffee. 

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Flourish will remind you that life is an experience, to capture those moments from other lives you cross paths with, to think more about what surrounds us in the landscapes you gaze at, and to speculate more on your next adventure.

Over the past year Flourish has thrived and I started to stock the publication in more and more independent stores. Due to the unexpected work I had to start bringing people on board and the Flourish team started to grow. My amazing supportive family started to help me get a website together, social media sites, help package, proof read and blog. It almost became a full time job for myself. 

My biggest achievement for the publication so far was definitely an unexpected win at the Creative Bath Awards in the summer of 2018. Winning Young Creative was an outstanding achievement for myself and for the magazine team. As we went from strength to strength I found the need to make more work and I was conscious people would be expecting a second volume. Depleted of money with the print of volume 1 and the lack of freelance work I could do, I find myself back in the same position as I was in with volume 1…. It’s never easy setting up a business and the profit from print is minimal, at least for the first couple of volumes. I have set up another Kickstarter to support volume 2 titled A Snippet of The British Isles where we collaborate with more photographers, writers and illustrators than we did previously in volume 1. 

Our Kickstarter Campaign is now in its last 30 days, so we are currently half way through. We are really close to making our target to get the publication to print and we would love the support of fellow photographers, creatives, and others who are passionate about the subject of Travel, Culture, Sustainability and Outdoor Living. Our campaign acts as a pre-ordering service…. where you can pre-order volume 2 A Snippet of The British Isles but also the possibility of gaining other rewards such a one off prints, illustrations and getting your name within the volume. 

If you would be interested in supporting the publication please visit our page here.

I am always on the look out for new photographers to feature within the publication. I love collaborating and love working with other graduates and fresh graduates as I was once in this position myself. I am always on the look out for something unique… someone who can create innovate stories through their pictures and who are enthusiastic about their work! 

Introducing Fiiiirst

In this blog post we introduce you to Fiiiirst, an online gallery showcasing anonymous discussions between authors photographers. Every month, two photographers are invited to interact through an image-based discussion. To keep this dialog without a pre-formated vision, the identities of each author are kept secret until the end of their respective discussion. Each picture produced is used as an inspiration to create the next one.


Who are you, what's your motto? I’m Guillaume Tomasi, a french-canadian photographer based in Montreal. 

What’s your background? Before doing photography I was a creative developer in several design studios in Geneva and in Montreal. During that time, I was addicted to creating beautiful websites with complex animations and visual effects. When I moved from France to Canada, I discovered a new city and at the same time I wanted to capture this new place with a digital camera. Slowly, photography became an obsession and in 2016 I decided to leave my job, and dedicated my time to photography.

Thomas Bouquin , Montreal

Thomas Bouquin, Montreal

Have you studied photography?  When I left my job I decided to start a BFA in Photography at Concordia University in Montreal. I discovered analog photography; how to developed negatives and how to print in the darkroom. I wanted to be more coherent when I was working on a photo project: How can I translate a subject into visuals.

It was not easy to return to school with two kids so I studied part-time and I will finally complete my degree in 2020.

What's your favourite style of photography? Its changed over time. At the beginning, I was very interested in black and white street photography - Cartier Bresson, Winogrand, Robert Frank, etc... After that I became strongly attached to colour - Joel Sternfeld, Stephen Shore, Todd Hido, etc…

Now I am more and more interested in communicating something personal who can touch a larger audience, like a universal feeling or situation. And working with something fictional is a new method that I want to implement into my future projects. An imaginary subject that can relate to our lives or society.

Kent Andreasen , Cape Town

Kent Andreasen, Cape Town

Who or what motivates you? Ideas! The moment where a tiny and simple idea becomes something bigger, where everything is possible. It really excites and motivates me.

I noticed that I am very confident at the beginning of a project because I have many pictures in mind. After that, I feel frustrated and disappointed by my results because nothing looks like what I had in mind. Slowly the project becomes something completely different that the initial idea. It's like a short moment of grief everytime.

I find inspiration in classical fields such as literature, cinema and music, but my latest projects are often sentences that I heard from discussion or a mundane situation.   

Sophie Barbasch , New York

Sophie Barbasch, New York

Can you tell us what Fiiiirst is? Sure! Fiiiirst is an online gallery showcasing anonymous discussions between authors photographers. Every month, two photographers are invited to interact through an image-based discussion. The main detail is that the photographers don’t know with whom they discuss until the discussion is completed and published on the website.

They upload their pictures into a private area and send an anonymous email to the other artist. The first artist then creates a picture. The second one receives it and uses it as an inspiration to create another picture. The discussion continues until they reach a certain amount of photographs.

I wanted this experience to be anonymous when they discuss the images so to remove the ego complex or to dictate which style (or photographs) they will then create based on the universe of their penfriend. 

Maela Ohana , Montreal

Maela Ohana, Montreal

What were your initial aims and inspirations when putting ideas together for Fiiiirst? When I discovered photography and started to follow some contemporary photographers, I noticed that they was a small community where everyone knew the name or the works of each others. I became curious in imagining what would be the result if this artist collaborated with another one, and it was a great opportunity to challenge their creative practice by placing them with another artist whose work is very different in aesthetics or themes. 

What is Fiiiirst’s biggest achievement to date? Currently, the 3rd edition is running and I really appreciate the critical response for each discussion. I receive more and more submissions for future editions and it’s very difficult to decide which one will be chosen.

When I started the first edition I had nothing except a concept and now there are 80 photographers from 29 different countries involved.

How can photographers get involved in what you do? If people want to participate they can simply send me their portfolio at guillaume@fiiiirst.com because the recruitment for the 4th edition is open until the end of January!!  They can also follow our Facebook and Instagram page to get the latest discussions and news about Fiiiirst.

Give one tip to new photography graduates. Do your thing without anticipating awards, recognitions etc… Your work will benefit to be outside this stressful and unnecessary circle. Also, don’t tease too much of your work before a publication. Consider the quality instead of the quantity on social media. It will be good in the long term. 

What does 2019 have in store for Fiiiirst? In 2019, I am going to publish the first "Fiiiirst book” which will regroup pictures from the first two editions. It won’t be the same as the website but the pictures will be mixed or edit into a global and hybrid discussion.

I hope to be able to present to you this book in the summer. It’s difficult to say exactly when it’s going to be real, because Fiiiirst is a pro-bono side project which take a lots of time and I it’s just me working on it. I will create a kickstarter campaign in a few days/weeks. 

In June 2019 I am going to launch the 4th edition of Fiiiirst and right now I am very excited when I see the names of some shortlisted photographers.