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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An interview with photography graduate and curator Millie Battershill

Norwich University of the Arts photography graduate Millie Battershill recently got in touch to tell us about her route into curation. Millie has had the opportunity to curate one show so far and below she tells us more.


Who are you? What and where did you study? My name is Millie Battershill and I graduated in 2016 with a degree in photography from Norwich University of the Arts.

What’s your photographic work typically about? What themes do you like to explore? My work tends to be fairly abstract; I work with a macro lens the majority of the time if I’m shooting what I would call a ‘proper project’ – that’s one which has a more considered concept. I like to photograph textures, mostly from natural subjects that I find outside. Before this approach developed, I enjoyed photographing landscapes so it makes sense that I’m still interested in nature. The projects often have concepts that I would say are loosely based on time, existence, thoughts, emotions and possibly memory in some cases. 

From the series  Cotton Wool  by  Millie Battershill

From the series Cotton Wool by Millie Battershill

I also photograph on film, however these images make up projects that have less of a concept, and are more related to documenting. That being said, I think that my work has an overarching theme running through it, which is exploring life, the notion of living and existing.

You’ve been gaining experience of curating exhibitions. Tell us how you’ve gone about this? I always thought that if I did any kind of further education after my degree, I would probably study curating. This is what I ended up doing. Mostly, I’ve been learning how things are done rather than actually doing them, but I’m now working on a show with an artist, Charlotte Powell, which will go on show in May. 

What do you enjoy most about the curating process? Curating a show involves a lot of admin work for the curator. This is something that sounds boring but I enjoy making contact with various people and pulling together resources to create something. I also like the process of learning about the artist’s work and discussing how it can best be displayed. 

From the series  Cotton Wool  by  Millie Battershill

From the series Cotton Wool by Millie Battershill

What initially encouraged you, after studying photography, to learn how to curate? If I’m honest I think I got what I needed from my photography degree. That’s not to say that no one would benefit from studying it more, or that I will never benefit from it, it’s that at the current time I didn’t feel I could gain more from studying it further. I still love to take photographs and I’m currently working on my own projects, I’ve simply found a way into the art industry through a different route. Also, it means that when I see photographs that have shot work that I wish I’d shot, I can work with them, if they need a curator that is.

Have you got nay tips, advice or resources to share with new graduates? The first thing I would say is that I still have no idea how I passed my degree, it’s not that I think I’m bad at photography, it’s that the grading matrix used to mark our work is definitely not written for us. Therefore, it’s really difficult to fully understand how exactly you can hit all of the right things you need to get a decent grade. So bare that in mind.

From the series  Cotton Wool  by  Millie Battershill

From the series Cotton Wool by Millie Battershill

My advice to graduates would be things that I didn’t realise upon leaving university. Firstly, if you set yourself a goal to have a specific type of job or to live in a specific place within a year or any amount of time, don’t be disappointed if that doesn’t happen. This doesn’t mean don’t aim for things, just remember there’s no time limit apart from the ones you set yourself. Success really doesn’t happen overnight. 

Secondly, do what you love, not what you think someone else will love. People can tell if there’s no passion in your work. 

And my last piece of advice would be this: don’t stop making things.

What are your aspirations as a curator? I’d love to curate an exhibition which lasts a few weeks and involves audience engagement or includes events of some kind, that’s the aim but I’m mostly just happy working on exhibitions and learning more about my individual process. I’m working on my first curatorial show currently, so my main aim at the moment is ensuring that is a successful as it can be.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

In the gift shop at the Norwegian/Russian border.

In the gift shop at the Norwegian/Russian border.

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

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

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

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

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

A river melts near Möhkö, eastern Finland.

A river melts near Möhkö, eastern Finland.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Baltic Beach on the Curonian Spit, Lithuania.

A Baltic Beach on the Curonian Spit, Lithuania.

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

When applying for funding, and in no particular order…

Ask for help if you need it.

Be professional.

Be reliable.

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

Be bold.

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

Trust your own voice.

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

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

Photograd Experience: Joanne Coates at Photo Scratch

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


From the series  We Live By Tha’ Water

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

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

From the series  We Live By Tha’ Water

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

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

 
From the series  We Live By Tha’ Water

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

 

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

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

From the series  We Live By Tha’ Water

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

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

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

From the series  We Live By Tha’ Water

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

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

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

Photograd Experience: Scott Charlesworth at LAW Magazine

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


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

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

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

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

LAW Magazine CV (click to enlarge)

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

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

 
Fila Trailblazer shoot

Fila Trailblazer shoot

 

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

 
LAW 9 Launch Image

LAW 9 Launch Image

 

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

LAW 9 Rave Poster

LAW 9 Rave Poster

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

Me shooting Rave Posters

Me shooting Rave Posters

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

Photograd Experience: Arron Hansford - MA Photography at MMU

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


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

 
Test series from current work  Father Please , 2017

Test series from current work Father Please, 2017

 

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

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

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

 
From the series  Father Please

From the series Father Please

 

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

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

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

 
From the series  Father Please

From the series Father Please

 

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

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

 
From the series  Father Please

From the series Father Please

 

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

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

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

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

'Better Perspectives': An Interview With Genea Bailey & Daisy Ware-Jarrett

Last month we introduced you to Better Perspectives; a collaboration between travel firm Expedia and eight up-and-coming London photographers. We've interviewed a couple of those involved to find out more about their work and favourite London landmarks. First up we spoke to Ben Shmulevitch, an Edinburgh College of Art graduate who enjoys exploring London's diversity of character.

This time around we've asked Genea and Daisy from #PHOTOGRAPHY Magazine some questions about Better Perspectives and their chosen London landmark.


Through Space and Time on the Millennium Bridge

Through Space and Time on the Millennium Bridge

What and where did you study? We met at Coventry University whilst studying Photography. Our course was small and we had inspiring tutors so it was a perfect melting pot for creativity and collaborations.

What do you enjoy most about London, and what does the capital mean to you? The best thing about London is how diverse it is, you’re constantly surrounded by people with different world views, religions and interests. It’s also a very creative place, you can walk down one street and see so many different artists, painters, singers, performing artists and photographers.

What have you learnt from being part of Better Perspectives? Have you enjoyed the project? The project was fun to work on, it had quite a fast turn-around time so we ended up shooting, editing and captioning our work within 48 hours which was intense but ended up being a great learning exercise. A lot of the time we can overthink and second guess our creative choices, something we're sure a lot of other creatives can relate to, but with this project we didn’t have the time to do that so we just ran with what ideas we had in the moment and it worked out for the best. 

Shooting the Millennium Bridge was a little different for us, we’ve both walked past it countless times, but never really stopped to examine it. Doing this project has reminded us that little things we see and take for granted every day can be so much more interesting if you take the time to stop and really examine them, and photography is the perfect reason to do that.

Divided sky, Millennium Bridge

Divided sky, Millennium Bridge

Why did you choose to photograph the Millennium Bridge as an iconic landmark? We chose the Millennium Bridge initially because we both agreed it’s often underrated. We were both young when it originally opened and remember the hype that surrounded it, so it also reminds us of being care-free 8-year-old girls who spent our time watching Powerpuff Girls and signing about girl power. (Although saying that, we still do those things now too!)

How have you approached your subject and captured it in your own way? We tried to spend as much time as possible at the bridge on the day of the shoot, by doing that we started to notice the structure underneath it – an area that’s never really explored. There was one moment that was quite surreal, we were on the river bank under the bridge, about 10 foot below the city, the sun was setting and the bridge was just catching the light in a really beautiful way, then out of nowhere a group of canoers paddled in front of us and under the bridge where they became silhouetted. For a moment it didn’t feel like we were in the city, it felt quiet and peaceful. We got a sharp reminder that we were in London when some rubbish came floating into shot and we had to use sticks to move it a long, it was either a plastic bag or a shoe, can’t quite remember.

Symmetrical Construction, Millennium Bridge

Symmetrical Construction, Millennium Bridge

What, in your opinion, does the future hold for young creatives in London? Now more than ever it’s important for young creatives in London to listen to other people’s voices. Go to see exhibitions and meet creatives from different countries, with a different gender, sexuality or religion to you – challenge your own world view, burst your own bubble and learn from it. Embrace London’s diversity.

Can you tell us about your work? What themes do you explore and what does a typical series look like for you?

Daisy: My work tends to be very insular, usually I’ll lock myself away and binge-watch Netflix whilst I do a load of research on what I’m shooting, I’m an over-preparer and usually this is my favourite part of the whole project. I’m drawn to series’ that challenge what we accept as normal – they make me sit back and think how I see the world, it’s not something I’ve been able to bring through in my own work yet but that’s a hard thing to do and something I’ll always try to work on. 

Genea: I'm still learning and shooting a variety of styles. Sometimes I'll be completely obsessed with a certain narrative, delving deeper into a lifestyle choice or unlikely hobby to photograph. My degree show piece was a documentary series exploring the hidden world of British Beauty Pageants. At the moment I'm working at fashion week and I've fallen in love with the designers aesthetics so that's becoming my biggest inspiration. This year I hope to shoot a lot more creative portraits and fashion work.

Lone pedestrian, Millennium Bridge

Lone pedestrian, Millennium Bridge

Do you use social media to share your work? What are your thoughts on doing so? We both tend to use social media to share our work a lot, it's how we were selected for this project too. The magazine we run (#PHOTOGRAPHY) is built on social media and creating communities to share work with – it’s such a valuable tool for photographers.

Do you think Brexit and the future of the UK will affect your work? 100% yes. As two young creatives living in the UK we both felt very affected by Brexit, we think a lot of our generation (but not all of them) feel proud of Britain’s diversity, it’s part of our national identity and that’s been taken away. If there’s one good thing that will come from Brexit though, it is the work it will inspire, people care about what’s happening and that will come through in their work. The last issue of #PHOTOGRAPHY Magazine was focussed on European creativity and unity – most of which was created as a direct response to Brexit so we’re already seeing that happen.

Photograd Experience: Charlotte and Georgia Bennett at Gallery Six

To continue Photograd's coverage of Gallery Six we're bringing you the second case study in the series. Yesterday we brought you Katie McAtackney, and for this post, twins Charlotte and Georgia will introduce themselves below.

Some of the team at Gallery Six

Some of the team at Gallery Six

We’re Charlotte and Georgia, photographers from the South East of England. We recently graduated from the University of East London where we studied photography. We are twins who work collaboratively on documentary style photographs and films, we then use these themes together to depict the stories of peoples lives, places and important issues, recording them in an intimate way. We love creating projects that have a social impact and that people can learn from.

Image from the series  Made Strong  and the  Made Strong  photobook

Image from the series Made Strong and the Made Strong photobook

Our current project Made Strong follows our friend Michelle and her story dealing with Multiple Sclerosis. Made Strong originally started as a university project but a year later we are still working together along with the MS Society and the MS Trust to help raise awareness. 

We first heard about Gallery Six online through Twitter and applied straight away. We exhibited at Free Range with our university so spent the whole summer at the Old Trewman Brewery and loved the atmosphere around the place.

We both studied and lived in East London so it’s great to be working here now too; it’s the creative hub of London, full of interesting people. The space itself is in a location where you get inspired just looking out the windows or walking to get your lunch on your break. The only con was not being able to get there as much as we’d like. That’s something that every creative has to deal with, balancing your normal job with what you love.

We use the space to mainly work on Made Strong; it's great to have somewhere to go and solidly work on our project without any distractions, and also to be surrounded by likeminded creatives is amazing. It's led to a group of us now working together creating a zine, something that is really exciting and brings us together even when our time runs out at the gallery.

We both think that Gallery Six pushed Made Strong forward. Being in a creative environment surrounded by other creatives has encouraged is to do more, to experiment further and really work hard. We both have a really bad habit of being unorganised but when we work at Gallery Six everything seems to get done quicker and so we were always on top of things. 

2017 has started well for us, our video got featured by MS Trust and has had nearly 3,000 views! We’re now organising our first solo exhibition which is exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. Made Strong is our main focus before we start any other project, the next step is to travel around the UK to interview other young people who have been diagnosed with MS and following their stories. Although we are both photographers, we have been filming a lot recently, it was a natural progression and something that we have wanted to do for a while. A lot of the people following Made Strong through our social media channels are from all over the world, so to put up work that is easily accessible for them to see is our main goal for this year.

Take a look at Bricoleur Mag on Kickstarter here.

Photograd Experience: Katie McAtackney at Gallery Six

Late last year we introduced you to Gallery Six; a specifically designed space for first year BA graduates, where members benefit from a fully connected workspace with all the required facilities. The space is a hub for engagement, and a place to develop personal projects and collaborate on in-house Truman briefs.

Gallery Six

Gallery Six

We've reached out to some of the photography graduates who have experience of using the space provided by Gallery Six and we'd like to bring you our first case study. Katie McAtackney will introduce herself below.


Hello I am Katie, a fresh photography graduate from Norwich University of the Arts. My work mainly revolves around travel, lifestyle and editorial work, where I tend to capture the candid moments of the everyday. 

From the series  On the Road

From the series On the Road

At the moment I'm working on several projects; one being On the Road which I'm sure you’ve heard about. It’s currently being exhibited in Norwich alongside other talented artists. Another is For the time being.. which is a photographic project based on the idea of ‘slow living’ and those quiet moments in life. 

Gallery six is an amazing little hub to be a part of. I was lucky enough to find out about it via the Free Range Instagram page. I was so intrigued by it and couldn't wait to complete my application. I feel my work and thinking process has came on a lot since being in the gallery, this is because of the Truman’s briefs. In Gallery Six we are encouraged to act professional when it comes to these briefs but we are also allowed to have our own creative freedom. I feel it definitely makes me more aware of the commercial/advertising/marketing aspects of the creative industry. By completing these briefs we are able to add new skills to our CVs and build up our portfolios and online presence.

Some of the team at Gallery Six

Some of the team at Gallery Six

At Gallery Six we are able to collaborate and network vigorously. At the moment there are 13 really diverse members at Gallery Six. So, a small group of us came up with an idea of creating a zine. The zine will consist of our profiles; cover various topics such as art critiques, events, life after graduation and serious issues like mental health. This will enable us to collaborate, get the word out about Gallery Six, Free Range, 91 Selects and the other opportunities that The Old Truman Brewery gives out to creatives. We hope to get the zine out soon so watch this space!

Take a look at Bricoleur Mag on Kickstarter here.

'Better Perspectives': An Interview With Ben Shmulevitch

Last month we introduced you to Better Perspectives; a collaboration between travel firm Expedia and eight up-and-coming London photographers. We've interviewed a couple of those involved to find out more about their work and favourite London landmarks. First up is Ben Shmulevitch, an Edinburgh College of Art graduate who enjoys exploring London's diversity of character.

You can find out more about Better Perspectives here.


Buckingham Palace - Seeing the Sightseers

Buckingham Palace - Seeing the Sightseers

What and where did you study? I studied Graphic Design at Edinburgh College of Art. Throughout I often sought to combine photography with editorial design and typography. I feel learning about the wider context of how images can be used taught me to take a more considered approach to capturing photographs.

What do you enjoy most about London, and what does the capital mean to you? London is an incredibly diverse crossroad for people and culture, and to me that’s what makes it such an interesting place to be. It’s a big city but I think of it more as a cluster of urban microcosms sitting side-by-side. The atmosphere and characteristics of London boroughs can be so different that you could explore the city for years and still find surprises. In that sense I think it’s a city you learn to enjoy the more you explore it, as opposed to say, the overt drama of New York or the romanticism of Paris.

What have you learnt from being part of Better Perspectives? Have you enjoyed the project? What I enjoyed about the Better Perspectives project was the challenge — it’s not easy to find other ways to look at Buckingham Palace without exclusive access. I feel a photographer should always adopt a more observant view of what’s around them, but for this project I really had to look beyond the most obvious viewpoints.

Buckingham Palace - Seeing the Sightseers

Buckingham Palace - Seeing the Sightseers

Why did you choose to photograph Buckingham Palace as an iconic landmark? The building is grand though certainly not the most interesting example of London architecture. I wanted to photograph a site that I knew would bring a constant stream of visitors ticking off another site on their ‘bucket list’.

How have you approached your subject and captured it in your own way? I wanted to spend some time observing how visitors interacted with the landmark. I found it quite entertaining seeing the different behaviours of people stopping at famous landmarks. Taking ‘selfies’ is the most commonplace reaction of course, along with half-heartedly snapping a photo of the gates more as an act of obligation than intrigue.

What, in your opinion, does the future hold for young creatives in London? I think London is and to some extent always will be a European creative hub — the city is home to a huge amount of influential creative institutions and people that attract talent. I do however think there is a danger that the rising cost of living and aggressive urban development will push out young and non-commercial creatives. I hope the city’s emerging design and art communities will receive adequate support and not just the large, prestigious institutions.

 
Buckingham Palace - Seeing the Sightseers

Buckingham Palace - Seeing the Sightseers

 

Can you tell us about your work? What themes do you explore and what does a typical series look like for you? I like to shoot with a photojournalistic approach when I can, regardless of whether it’s travel, editorial or food photography. Some photographers like to interact with who or what they’re shooting to bring about an intriguing perspective but I tend to read the situation and try capture a scene unobtrusively by letting it develop on its own.

Do you use social media to share your work? What are your thoughts on doing so? I probably don’t use social media as much as I could to share what I do — I think the self-inflicted pressure to gain exposure can be too stressful! However I do use Instagram — it feels like the most immediate way to share images with a far-reaching audience.

Do you think Brexit and the future of the UK will affect your work? The lasting impact from Brexit is yet to be seen, but I find it hard to imagine that it won’t affect and influence artists and makers for years to come. We’ve already seen some interesting work come about and I think it’s important that we continue to see an introspective exploration of the topic from creative practitioners. In terms of what it means for the UK’s creative industry — I think signalling that the UK is more isolated from Europe and the world could leave us poorer culturally as well as economically.

Photograd Experience: Paris Wood

We think it's really important for graduates or students to share their experiences within the photographic industry. Not only does it allow those interested to share their achievements and experiences, but we hope for it to encourage others. We've caught up with current UCA student Paris Wood, who has a lot to say about what she's achieved over the years. We really think everybody can get something from what she's written!


I’m currently a third year photography student at UCA, Farnham in Surrey. My work mainly focuses on documentary style photography, and I’m really intrigued by social classes, people and geographical locations. Some of my latest projects have included a study of my family home with 10 people living under one roof, and my most latest project studied the area I’m currently living in during term time in Farnham.

The area is a massive change from where I live back home in Norfolk, but I love it and don’t want to leave! Farnham isn’t too far to travel to London, so I wanted to make use of this connection to gain experience in the city.

A recent series about family

A recent series about family

During our second year, one of our units, Professional Futures, encouraged us to go out and get relevant work experience. Me, still not having a clue what I wanted to do in life, took this opportunity to get a short, months worth internship at a photo syndication agency in London - Lickerish Ltd. I found this opportunity through the AOP’s jobs shop.

Having had NO previous experience, not even a part time job, I was literally thrown in the deep end and had to help and push myself to get anywhere. I was in contact with Arlene at Lickerish and had a casual interview not long after my initial email. Lickerish is based on Riding House Street, London, and a small, friendly office with roughly 6 people working each day.

During my internship I was shown how Lickerish works. Most of my days were spend key wording, on Adobe Bridge, fashion week photographs from their photographers to be uploaded to the website. I was surprised by the detail needed to be included in each image to be uploaded, but this key for detail was something I really enjoyed, despite most calling it a tedious job! I ran a few errands, and helped out with scanning magazines in which our photographers images were in.

A recent series about family

A recent series about family

I also helped out with a few photo searches which came in via email when clients needed a specific photo. Lickerish also gave me the chance to meet one of their photographers - Holly Mcglynn - and help out on a shoot with her. Despite not particularly loving the idea of assisting a shoot, Holly was lovely to work with and I was super thankful for the opportunity to experience assisting.

Due to costs, I travelled into London 4 days a week for just over a month and was paid half of my travel money back. This routine was just what I needed and was my first break into the experience I really needed to get any further with my search for what I wanted to do in life!

Leading on from this, I found another opportunity through Twitter to work with Empowering Futures. Laura contacted me by phone later that day explaining what exactly Empowering Futures does, and got me involved immediately! Empowering Futures ‘conects entrepreneurs and university students to collaborate on specific projects.’ I went into London for a chat with Laura and an entrepreneur she matched me up with. Unfortunately this meeting wasn't a success, and i just wasn't the right candidate, with the entrepreneur realising he maybe needed more than a university students help. Despite this, is was a good experience meeting new people, and I ended up working with Laura to create some Infographics for her company. I also attended a Branding Workshop with Laura which was incredibly useful and is something that is open to all university students, studying any subject.

Having at least some kind of experience on my back, I went on to volunteering in an art gallery, the New Ashgate Gallery, Farnham, which I’m currently involved with, and a great insight into the gallery world. I’ve also got myself involved with an online magazine The Urban Watch and blogger Haylie Rubery from Frock Me Im Famous.

 
At the gallery

At the gallery

 

Both of these opportunities are great, each in their own way. Laura at The Urban Watch Magazine met me for a coffee in London and we discussed what we both wanted to achieve. I wanted experience of running a start up magazine, and Laura wanted help with social media and creation of a media kit for the site. Frock Me Im Famous’ Haylie took me our for lunch in London and said she wanted some social media, Pinterest ‘pinning’ help and typography/graphic overlays on her images to upload to the blog and use on Pinterest. Both these opportunities are on going and I complete remotely which keeps costs of travelling down.

For the time being, I shall continue with my current opportunities, and I'm still on the look out for other things I can get involved with. I’ve also just co-founded a new, online photography magazine - Untitled Collective which showcases the work of aspiring photographic artists and aims to connect, support and collaborate with other artists. Untitled Collective is always open to photographic or written submissions!

At the gallery

At the gallery

I said at one point I wanted to go on to compete an MA, but I just cant see this happening. At the minute, I just love meeting new people, getting involved with different projects and companies, and just want to get myself out there! I’ve loved my time studying photography at university, and it’s given me the confidence in the art side of things to go out and find what I want to do. When I’ve graduated, I hope to continue with the online photography magazine - Untitled Collective; get myself involved with more opportunities and internships, and hopefully soon, find what I really want to be doing!

My main advice would be to not worry too much about what you want to do in life. I’ve never had a clue what I wanted to do, and choosing photography as my BA degree was out of not knowing what else to do! My parents told me that I should take the opportunity to go to university for the experience, and I can say it has built me up as a person incredible amounts. I have no clue what I’d be doing with my life if I hadn't gone! During holiday breaks, take the opportunity to get in touch with people you know, or have industry contacts to get yourself relevant experience as it's so incredibly important these days. Even if it's something short and simple, to say you have pushed yourself to take on opportunities is something that will push you further and further!

In terms of things I find really useful - I subscribe to SO MANY email subscriptions, and not just related to photography! Any company you like, subscribe to them - you never know what opportunities may arise! I highly recommend Twitter, Diary Directory, The AOP and Fashion Workie for finding relatable opportunities.

Jessa Fairbrother: Hothouse Birmingham

Towards the end of last year we caught up with some of the speakers from the line up at Hothouse Birmingham. This time around we've spoken to University of Westminster graduate Jessa Fairbrother who has introduced us to her series Conversations with my mother. We've unravelled a real interest in Jessa's work and we hope you enjoy reading about her experience of speaking about it in Birmingham last year.


Series Statement:

Conversations with my mother.

This is my story of severance..

It explores the relationship I had with my mother and my own inability to become one. It is a photographic performance of being cut from the role of the daughter while at the same time denied a maternal role to shape my future.

We had been tentatively making work together using a single disposable camera, taking photographs of our own lives. I would take one and send the camera to her in the post; she would do the same. We tried to communicate through this process. 

Not long after my fertility began to unravel. I was unable to concentrate on my story because it was then we both found out she was going to die. 

From the series  Conversations with my mother

From the series Conversations with my mother

I dismantled my existing life to relocate and care for her, my second parent dying of cancer. In the immediate moment I was concerned with the gesture to record her as she was but felt the photograph's inability to do this. I photographed myself responding to the surroundings, to negotiating space. Once or twice I asked my mother to photograph me, echoing the way we had used a camera only a few months before. I tried to make sense of things that had no sense except sadness.

I jostled with several personas during this period - wife, daughter, sister, artist. I gained new roles and became Carer. I became child-less…. or child-free. We strived to understand and love each other more completely; we looked at each other seeking resemblance, resentment, entanglement and reliance. I became Orphan. 

An orphan. 

I put on her chemotherapy wig afterwards – it was the only thing that smelled of her. I burned, buried and embellished photographs of us. I performed my grief and began to stitch.

I cried a lot for her. I cried for my loss of feeling the hug of her body, her touch, her laugh. I cried in sorrow at the abrupt suspension of future narratives, for the mother I would not hold again and for the child who would never hold me.

Images from the series  Conversations with my mother

Images from the series Conversations with my mother

You and your work: I am an artist using photography, based in Bristol. A brief overview of how I got to this point includes a degree in English, a stint of unsuccessful acting attempts, a fall into journalism (where I discovered my love of photography) and teaching. Both my parents were artists but I did everything to avoid this myself... although it was probably inevitable I would end up forging this path of my own eventually.

When starting my own visual work it was rooted in documentary practice - due to the influence of being a journalist I suspect. It wasn't until half way through studying my MA at the University of Westminster that I began to physically include myself, fundamentally changing my direction. I was thinking through ideas about happy endings, performance, the appeal of clichés, romance as a structure... but I was struggling with the ‘things’ I was actually photographing: I couldn’t get a handle on what it was I was looking for. One day, in a tutorial, I began to talk about the dress a boyfriend had given me when I was 21... it seemed a little ‘wedding-y’ - which was why I had never worn it.  A friend suggested I put it on and photograph myself in it.  I did - that was the start of how my practice transformed: a light suddenly went on.

Images from the series  Conversations with my mother

Images from the series Conversations with my mother

I started searching for communal meanings defined and given shape through the presence of a figure: I use(d) my own to express this,  concentrating on treating the body as a mortal vessel upon which experience physically imprints itself. My stitch and mark-making I do now is emblematic of this. I am at my most comfortable making work occupying various mediums - I use them to extend the image-object beyond a single time and space. 

Influences, style, and genre: There is a core group of artists that have anchored me, including Hannah Wilke, Carolee Schneemann, Elaine Reichek, Mary Kelly, Rose English, Ana Mendieta, the archive photographs of the Salpȇtrière Asylum… I’m also really drawn to American quilts and whatever I see in the Victoria and Albert Museum! Most things filter in and out when I make my own work. I love Instagram for finding things. I read a lot when researching and go to see as much as I can. 

I am concerned with the fragility of the body, how it hovers on the edge of being both here and not here - how its failure is simple. My interest in performance within familiar structures is a way of trying to ward off this inevitable frailty. When I began to embroider work I literally and metaphorically punctured the skin of the photograph - this became representative of the body for me.

Images from the series  Conversations with my mother

Images from the series Conversations with my mother

It has always been important for me to make emotional work.  Maybe this stems from my original desire to perform, translating personal feelings from the inside to an unknown audience. 

I use film, mostly printing from negatives: I only really make the one object - it makes more sense that way. I’ve recently managed to get back in the darkroom and do some printing myself which allows me more room for experimentation - there is less fear of marking my prints afterwards. With bigger work though I will need some help.

The main practical feature of my working method is how to protect my fingers! When I am sewing they get really sore. I have all sorts of tricks... Recently I got rubber thimbles, and ‘spray-on’ plaster liquid helps protect them a bit. There are some wonderful quilter’s gloves I found which are really thin with rubber tips - they are the best of all. It's a balance of protection and keeping the ability to feel the paper, without getting grease on it. Especially when I work with tracing paper, which is a nightmare for marks.

Images from the series  Conversations with my mother

Images from the series Conversations with my mother

The Talk: I did the talk at Redeye’s Hothouse event because I met Paul [Hermann] many years ago when I had moved to Sheffield and was looking for photography networks I could plug into within travelling distance. We kept in touch through various things - he’s been to Photobook Bristol a few times, which I have been involved with since I moved here, and it’s a small world - our paths are always crossing. When I thought it was a good time to start talking about this particular body of work publicly, Hothouse seemed a good way to do that. I was really touched by the response - the audience were very sensitive to it which moved me a great deal and I got some lovely messages afterwards. It is important for me to go to events and be present - I find it much more beneficial than email. People like people.

Future plans: I’m constantly working on something... All my work takes a very long time and there always seems to be research to do or people to contact, as well as the actual embroidery. I have a solo show at the Birmingham City University which I am really looking forward to, opening on January 16th at the Vittoria Street Gallery.

Melanie Letoré: Hothouse Birmingham

As you probably know, we've been in touch with a few speakers from the line up at Hothouse Birmingham. This time around we spoke to Glasgow School of Art graduate, Melanie Letoré, who told us about her series Rectangle Days and her experience of talking about her work. We hope you enjoy what Melanie has to say.


Series Statement: I presented Rectangle Days, a blog on which I try to post a photograph a day, and which came into existence on the 1st of January 2014. Initially it was a blog I shared with my brother. We lived in different countries and wanted to show each other what we were seeing. As neither of us have a smartphone, this systematic online posting was a way of saying “I am thinking about you”. Furthermore, I was interested in seeing how he would take photographs, what he would include in the frame, which subjects he would choose. I was already familiar with my visual language, and I was curious to see his. 

Quite quickly, the blog became mine only, and has been for quite a while. It keeps me visually awake in my daily life, always searching for interesting subjects, colour, light, places and actions. At the end of each day, there is an editing process to choose my daily image. One day I will take a single image, another day three hundred. At the end of the year, a more extensive editing process takes place, from which other projects are born. The first year, I made a publication, and the second, a hinged photography installation requiring the public’s interaction, whereby the audience could touch the photographs to see the full exhibition.

From the series  Rectangle Days

From the series Rectangle Days

Rectangle Days is an open-ended recording, a live contact sheet and an endeavour to better understand the world. 

In 2014 there were 272 images, in 2015 there were 244, and 2016 currently has 208. This is probably due to a stricter and more critical editing process.  

You and Your Work: My name is Melanie Letoré and I live in Glasgow. 

I am interested in all the following and much more: places, people, objects, hierarchies, narratives, histories and stories, processes, systems and parameters. When I edit and sequence my images, they talk to me of curiosity, intimacy, memory and light. 

Because these photographs are diary-like, I often wonder if my images are autonomous single entities, or whether their backstory should be revealed, and what dimension this adds to them. If people do not attach my specific personal memories to images, does it matter? How does their reading of my output differ from what I expect it to be? 

From the series   Rectangle Days

From the series Rectangle Days

I have been considering exploring how my images could work with text for a long time. I enjoy writing. I am scared of failing and of creating something meaningless by adding text. I have also been playing with photography’s preciousness and quietly attempting to dismantle it as a way of better understanding the medium. 

For Rectangle Days I use a Canon Powershot G16 or anything available if I don’t have my camera on me (four images in my three years of output were taken on friends’ smartphones). Otherwise I use a Mamiya 645. Truthfully, I haven’t used the latter in over a year; nothing has seemed suitable to it. Since graduating I have let images come to me through my daily activities and at times my photographing has anxiously felt like aimless wandering. For now, I have learnt to accept this meandering; the time will come for me to start hunting for images again. 

From the series   Rectangle Days

From the series Rectangle Days

The Talk: I was attracted to Hothouse Birmingham, organised by Redeye and GRAIN, because it was a forum. People are at the core of my creative process; exchanging, discussing, challenging, engaging photography have been the most crucial part of my learning. I really wanted to attend and speak at an event where those things were key. I also thought it would be a great opportunity to meet and listen to other makers in a new context, away from the community in which I live. It was extremely eye opening to listen to the multiplicity of unfamiliar voices, see another network function and hear about difficulties faced by another photography community and the good things within it. 

Preparing for Hothouse was extremely beneficial, because I had to construct a logical, structured talk and organise my thought process. I have ease and experience in public speaking as a tour guide and a dance teacher, yet I became extremely nervous for this talk – perhaps simply because I was talking about my own work. I thoroughly enjoyed the breadth of questions I was asked, most of which I had never been asked before. I like the fact that I couldn’t quite answer some of them, and that I have been pondering them since the talk.

From the series   Rectangle Days

From the series Rectangle Days

Future Plans: Last year, I was invited to be on the editorial board of the re-launched Scottish photography magazine called NOTES; our first issue came out in November 2016. It has been a joyous adventure, and I am working hard on the second issue.

For my own work, I will continue Rectangle Days, as well as start planning another project. Last June, I biked alone from Glasgow to London. This experience has catalyzed long-standing thoughts around fear, journeys, the body and personal narratives. 

Corinne Perry: Hothouse Birmingham

As promised, we're introducing you to another speaker from the line up at Hothouse Birmingham. Birmingham City University graduate, Corinne Perry, has been featured on the Photograd platform previously; you can find her interview here. We've since kept in touch with Corinne who always has something exciting to tell us about her work. In November, she spoke about her series Wallflower in Birmingham. We hope you enjoy what she has to say about her experience.

Wallflower is currently on exhibit until the 22nd December with UK Young Artists at the University of Derby.


 
From the series  Wallflower

From the series Wallflower

 

Series StatementWallflower is an ongoing series of Self-portraiture which was produced in an attempt to rid myself of an ongoing struggle with depression, something I have struggled with since childhood. The self-depictions manifest within the same four walls; my bedroom, the room I believe is the keeper of my trapped and often repressed emotions. A central theme of the work is the merger of my body in relation to these surroundings; often heavily distressed they reveal something of my pain. Within Wallflower this merger suggests an unsettling disturbance between the physical and the psychological boundaries of the interior, alluding to the unsettling suggestion that my body is being physically devoured by its surroundings. The work exhibits influences of a past era with my use of entirely traditional photographic methods. Wallflower was initially produced in 2015 whilst Artist in Residence at Birmingham City Universities’ School of Photography. 

 
 

You and Your Work: I am a Self-portrait photographer, creating intimate depictions which I feel are reflections of my natural melancholic temperament. Since graduating from Birmingham City University in 2012, my work has been exhibited at Galleries including TATE Liverpool, Croome Court NT and Oriel Davies Gallery.

My photography is a form of therapy, a personal, emotional and sometimes turbulent struggle with the complexity of personal emotions. I feel my life and art have become entwined and to bury this mental state deep within would allow it to thrive. But through my use of photography as therapy, I am offered a cathartic release. The manifestations of my self-depictions are within the same four walls of my bedroom. This heavily constructed interior transcends into an extension of self, becoming a mental space in which I am able to explore these often deep-rooted emotions in front of the cameras intimate gaze. I have always been interested in photography of a past-era, feeling almost a sense of displacement within this digitally driven age, in which we now live. I am particularly interested in photography of the Victorian period and because of this influence, many of my photographs are intimately hand-coloured. Hand-colouring allows me to add further layers of emotion and pain upon the surface of the gelatin silver print until the image is born, alluding to the tactile and sensory nature of my Self-portraiture. My work is deeply influenced by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Victorian Novella The Yellow Wallpaper which tells the story of a woman’s descent into madness. I feel I can relate something of my emotional state to the woman portrayed within the novella, which is why it’s become such a lasting influence upon my Self-portraiture. 

 
 

The Talk: I became involved in the event, because I live within the region and have also previously presented my work with Redeye. Although I have spoken in public about the influence my mental state has upon my Self-portraiture, this was the first talk in which I spoke candidly about my ongoing struggle with depression and mental health. As a person I am quite delicate, and in the past the thought of presenting work, of such a personal nature has at times been daunting. But through experience I am learning to have confidence in my ability. I enjoy the process of preparing for presentations as well as the actual presenting; as I feel there is something incredibly cathartic about undertaking a talk that enables you to really reflect upon your work. Overall the opportunity of presenting Wallflower was a really rewarding and thought provoking experience. I am thankful to Redeye and GRAIN for the opportunity and hope to work with them again in the future. 

 
 

Future Plans: As well as experimenting with new concepts, I hope to continue to build upon Wallflower, feeling the opportunity of presenting has enabled reflection upon the series. I am also looking forward to attending mentoring sessions at Oriel Davies Gallery, Wales which are intended to aid both my artistic and professional development.