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. 

Current Professional Development Opportunities from GRAIN and FORMAT

GRAIN Portfolio Development Day | 13th October | 10am - 4.30pm | Birmingham City University, Parkside Building. 

We will be joined by: Camilla Brown Curator, writer and lecturer on contemporary art, specialising in photography. Award winning photographer and Magnum nominee Lua Ribiera. Acclaimed photographer Andrew Jackson who was the recipient of the Autograph ABP 2018/Lightwork International Photography Residency in Syracuse, New York. As well as Freelance Project Manager Seba Chaudhry who has worked on major projects including Rhubarb Rhubarb and Format International Photography Festival.

The day will be split into two parts a morning of talks and in the afternoon an opportunity for one to one portfolio reviews.

Please note there will be a maximum of 20 attendees to enable a focussed day. Tickets are priced at £25 or £18 Concessions (Students, OAP, Low or No pay).

For more information and to book a ticket please click here.



East Meets West is a collaborative project devised by FORMAT International Photography Festival/QUADand GRAIN Projects.  This year we will be offering a series of Masterclasses leading to an opportunity to showcase your work at FORMAT19.

At the Masterclasses you will learn from industry leaders such about portfolio development and receive advice regarding topics such as, competitions, commissions, exhibitions, funding, making approaches, distribution and editing.  Subjects will also include socially engaged, editorial and fine art photography, the photobook and responding to and working to commission. The Masterclasses will offer immersion in the subject matter and a unique opportunity for emerging photographers to develop their practice and showcase their work.

Masterclass speakers and portfolio reviewers include Natasha CaruanaHarry HardieAndrew JacksonAnthony LuveraMatthew MurrayKate Peters and Michael Sargeant.

Deadline to apply 7th October.

For further information and how to apply please click here.

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Gökhan Tanriöver, debut solo show at Argentea Gallery. 18th May – 30th June 2018

Argentea Gallery
Gökhan Tanriöver
18th May – 30th June 2018
Opening: Thursday 17th May, 6-8pm

Images from the series  Confessionals

Images from the series Confessionals

On Her Plate.jpg

Argentea Gallery is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Gökhan Tanriöver’s Confessionals.

Comprising a series of black and white still life photographs, Confessionals is based on specific childhood experiences. Guided by Annette Kuhn’s process of ‘memory work’, a method and practice of unearthing and making public untold stories, Tanriöver’s personal memories are made tangible through the photograph. Each experience is first presented as a written confession from which an image is then constructed and the combination of image and text weaves a poignant autobiographical narrative.

This singularity of intent about the work, the public exposure of private experiences, is shown through the use of black and white. By removing the potential distraction of colour, Tanriöver has created images that are the embodiment of contrary forces. Black, being visually heavy and associated with power, authority and evil, is starkly contrasted with white, a colour that projects purity and salvation and is synonymous with new beginnings. Working with analogue, the studio and the darkroom are the physical space where Tanriöver’s meditative state acts as a form of autotherapy. This process has allowed him to produce images where these opposing forces of black and white don’t compete, but rather complement each other to communicate more effectively ideas of opposition and comparison, association and acceptance.

By offering his own emotional and psychological life as art, Tanriöver invites the viewer to share in his meditations on sorrow and remembrance.

Gokhan Tanriover is a Turkish-born photographic artist living in London. Following a brief medical career, he realised his vocation lay in visual culture. Drawing on his training as a junior psychiatrist his work consists of constructed imagery that focuses on personal and cultural identity informed by personal experience and memory.

After completing his BA (Hons) Photographic Art (2017) from the University of Westminster he has been shortlisted for the Peaches and Cream photography competition (2017) and selected as a finalist in the Royal Photographic Society International Photography Exhibition 160. His work has been included in 18 group exhibitions including Separation and Belonging that he co-curated as part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s First Thursday tour in May 2016. In 2017 he was chosen to participate in the Travers Smith CSR Art programme.

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. 

Joanne Coates: Hothouse Birmingham

Back in November we selected a few stand out speakers from the line up at Hothouse Birmingham who we wanted to find out more about. Since then, we've caught up with some of them to find out more about their practice, working methods, and experience of giving a talk. We hope you'll find this series of blog posts interesting and inspiring.

First up we're bringing you London College of Communication graduate Joanne Coates and her brand new series of work We Live by Tha' Water. You can read more about Joanne and her work through her Photograd Feature.

Series Statement: I presented work from the series We Live by Tha' Water which I'm currently in the middle of working on. Stories are the foundations of societies and make up who we are. This work is both about the story teller and the story. Islands are often known as places beyond what is visible and beyond what is known. 

From the series  We Live by Tha' Water

From the series We Live by Tha' Water


It's about exploring my mind in the midst of a breakdown, looking at mental erosion and personal anxieties.

It's about remoteness and escapism. 

It's about being drawn to the edge, to the hinterlands of the mind and the land. 

It's the poetic appreciation of island life and a community becoming lost. 

You and Your Work: My name is Joanne Coates and this body of work is called We Live By Tha' Water. My work came from a very documentary canon but I soon found that defining it in such a way held me back. The boundaries we create within photography and the ability of those boundaries to merge are something I'm increasingly interested in. I studied in London and found the experience a little jarring to say the least. I left my home of the Yorkshire moors as soon as I possibly could. However, I found that the main strand running through my work was a connection to place, an appreciation of remoteness and being within a landscape. After graduating I took the somewhat hard decision to remove myself from the centre of the creative industries and make work in those places. I haven't looked back since. My equipment is an aid in storytelling, I'm not overly concerned about my camera, in my personal work I do use film but that's mainly to increase my connection and a fascination with the process. I like using a Rolleiflex as I'm incredibly shy it's helped me interact with my subjects more than any other camera I'd ever used.

From the series   We Live by Tha' Water

From the series We Live by Tha' Water


The Talk: Redeye and GRAIN are incredibly important to me. Both of the networks exist outside of London and are doing really impressive events, providing a space for creatives to meet, to listen, to be heard, to learn and to engage. A platform that was previously missing in the Midlands and the North. To me it's vital to have these networks and for the creative industries to recognise the importance of other places within the UK. Great work is being made all over the UK by people in the North, in the South, in Wales, in Scotland, in Northern Ireland. I'm really sick of seeing people have a dismissive attitude to it. It's something I feel strongly about. If photography is to have a voice it can't just be in London.

From the series   We Live by Tha' Water

From the series We Live by Tha' Water


I'm very aware that public speaking isn't my strong point so opportunities to present and push myself are especially important to me.  I have this strange view about artists talks. I really want people to connect to the work, for it to have a chance to breathe but also I don't want to stand and tell someone what to think and feel. The point of the work is that it's quite dark, poetic, mysterious and unnerving. Which can be quite hard to put across into words. I don't want to under estimate the audience. I know they are smart. It's more a chance to speak about this duality and I'm thankful for those platforms for providing this opportunity. 

From the series   We Live by Tha' Water

From the series We Live by Tha' Water


Future Plans: I'm currently working on series in Orkney and will continue to do so through 2017. I'm currently working on a commissioned body of work in hull alongside doing workshops for the Warren, which again will continue throughout 2017. I'm looking forward to there being more interest in Yorkshire and Hull due to capital of culture, however I hope this continues well into the future. 

Photograd Catch-up Feature: Corinne Perry 'The Drawing Room Exhibition, at Oriel Davies Gallery'

We caught up with Birmingham City University graduate Corinne Perry, who is already featured on the Photograd platform here, to find out about her brand new commission. Alongside the Oriel Davies Gallery, Corinne has produced Looking Glass which she talks about here...

Project Description

I am a self-portrait photographer; creating intimate depictions that I feel are reflections of my natural melancholic temperament. Looking Glass is a site-specific self-portrait, which I was commissioned to produce for exhibit in The Drawing Room an exhibition at Oriel Davies Gallery, Wales. Using the medium of photographic self-portraiture, I have transformed a traditional wall mirror, with the placement of an ethereal depiction of an unknown woman upon its surface. 

Corinne Perry  Looking Glass  - the original image

Corinne Perry Looking Glass - the original image


Progression of Work

I began to produce the work as a result of being one of five emerging artists/makers who were awarded a ‘Seed Commission’ to support the creation of new work to furnish The Drawing Room.  I was aware the exhibition space was going to be transformed as to be reminiscent of a traditional drawing room. So I was drawn to the concept of redefining a traditional wall mirror with the use of photographic self-portraiture, as through the act of looking, the viewer would be able to see their reflection in that of its.

Since childhood I have been fascinated with the use of mirrors within fairy tales, as transformative objects of both enchantment and awe. Conceptually I wanted the viewer to feel they were looking at the ghostly reflection of a woman who once gazed upon the mirror.  I wanted the woman depicted upon the mirror, to have a fairy tale feel whilst retaining a haunting quality, and through the use of masquerade, transformed my identity into that of an unknown woman. 

The portrait was deeply influenced by the original depiction of Snow White, by The Brothers Grimm. I felt it was conceptually vital that the viewer could gaze into the eyes of the woman, and although I prefer to not include my face within my work, because of a sense of unease with self, when in character I felt able to do this.

Corinne Perry   Looking Glass  - a work in progress

Corinne Perry Looking Glass - a work in progress


The photograph has been mounted upon the glass using acetate in such a way that enables the viewer to view their reflection in that of hers. The work can be seen as not only stylised to suit the historical nature of my concept but also that of a ‘drawing room’ with its’ transient social gatherings and the ethereal imprints within this space. As my work is dominated by the concept of interior; in particular the depiction of my body in relation to my bedroom, the opportunity to produce work that focused upon a domestic space other than this deeply personal room felt like a natural progression of my previous work.


Working in collaboration with artists and the public, Oriel Davies Gallery, has created The Drawing Room, a curiously inviting room assembled from found, collected, and bespoke objects. From 22nd October to the 25th February 2017 The Drawing Room will be a creative social space, in which art, craft, performance and film will be made, shared and inspired.  

Corinne Perry   Looking Glass  - the finished piece

Corinne Perry Looking Glass - the finished piece

Future Plans

I believe the opportunity of being supported by Oriel Davies Gallery to produce Looking Glass has had a positive and developmental effect upon my practice. My future plans are to continue working on my series Wallflower which explores my ongoing struggle with depression. I hope to also explore the possibility of incorporating elements of installation within my self-portraiture, as to create a tactile and sensory viewing experience. 

Exhibition links:

Hothouse Birmingham with Redeye and GRAIN Photography Hub

We are excited to announce that two photographers who are featured on the Photograd platform are to speak about their work in Birmingham tomorrow! Corinne Perry will talk about her self-portraits and series Wallflower which you can read about in her Feature, and Joanne Coates will introduce her brand new series of work, We Live By Tha’ Water.

Hothouse Birmingham have been running for a number of years but this is the first year they've partnered with GRAIN Photography Hub. On 26th November, 12 photographers will show recent projects in quick-fire presentations in the auditorium. The full list of speakers can be found on the Redeye website, and you can find out more about becoming a member here.

Alongside the talks, portfolios and books will be on display outside the auditorium, and the team are actively encouraging you to make a visit to have a look at the work, and show your own if you wish to. During the lunch break there will also be a chance to meet with representatives from Arts Council England who will be on hand to answer your questions regarding funding. 

After the day of talks, Vanley Burke will present some of his iconic images and host a Q&A session. Burke has captured social change and the evolving cultural landscape, and stimulated debate in the UK over the past four decades. He draws strength from remaining closely connected to his community, and his personable character allows him to capture the intimate and private nature of people’s everyday lives.

Image by Vanley Burke

Image by Vanley Burke

We won't be able to attend the talks ourselves but we're looking forward to interviewing a number of the speakers after the event to find out more about their practice, experience of talking about their work, and future plans for their chosen series. We'd love to know if you're intending to make a visit to the event!

Below we've selected some standout speakers from the line-up who we are looking forward to finding out more from.

Corinne PerryWallflower builds upon Corinne Perry’s use of self-portraiture as therapy, and was produced in an attempt to rid her of an ongoing struggle with depression. Since graduating from Birmingham City University in 2012, her work has been exhibited at galleries including TATE Liverpool, Croome Court NT and Oriel Davies Gallery.

Image from the series  Wallflower  by Corinne Perry

Image from the series Wallflower by Corinne Perry


Melaine Letoré: Melanie Letoré is an artist and writer based in Glasgow. She is co-editor of NOTES, a new Scottish photography journal. Using snapshots of landscapes, objects and people, she constructs harmonious and poetic narratives about our existence.

Image by Stuart Wall

Image by Stuart Wall

Joanne Coates: Joanne Coates has what she calls a democratic and poetic approach to visual storytelling. In her body of work We Live By Tha’ Water, Joanna seeks to document the changing way of life of those living on the margins of society in Orkney. Her work is an emotional response to the social anxieties experienced by those living on the fringes of modern development.

Image from the series  We Live By Tha’ Water  by Joanne Coates

Image from the series We Live By Tha’ Water by Joanne Coates


Jessa Fairbrother: Jessa investigates behaviour as a performance shaped by memory and visual consumption, concentrating on gestures as physical archives of emotional life.Through her work Conversations with my mother she explores maternal severance. Individual works use stitching, burning and embellishment as she jostles with the roles of wife, daughter, sister, artist, carer and orphan.