Introducing The South West Collective of Photography

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image from the series  River  by  Ella Cousins

Image from the series River by Ella Cousins

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

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

Image from the series  River  by  Ella Cousins

Image from the series River by Ella Cousins

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

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

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

Image from the series  River  by  Ella Cousins

Image from the series River by Ella Cousins

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

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

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

2020 Collective Present: Environ 

Private View ·  Thu 21 March · 6 - 9pm ·  Copeland Gallery ·  SE15 3SN
Exhibition continues · Fri 22 March · 11 - 4 


2020 is a collective of photographers who create work internationally, collaborating on projects from their studio base in South East London.

For the first time, they will exhibit work together at Copeland Gallery, Peckham. Highlighting the work of twenty members, Environ will exhibit personal projects exploring the human condition within domestic, natural and imagined environments.

Tami Aftab  ·  Joe Beeching  ·  Lily Boyle   ·  Byron Chambers  ·  Tom Coleman  ·  Nathan Keir Crofton-Bond  ·  Oliver Dawson  ·  Maite de Orbe  ·  Rachel Gordon  ·  James Greenhalgh  ·  Matilda Hallander  ·  Unai Mateo Lopez  ·  Frederik Marks  ·   Dina Patey   ·  Prim Patnasiri   ·  Phoebe Somerfield  ·  Peter Stewart-Sykes  ·  India Tuersley  ·  Andrea Urbez  ·  Coco Wu 

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Click here to book your space.

Introducing FORM

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Photograd Experience: James Dobson

University of Brighton photography graduate and soon to be featured Photograd, James Dobson, has written a piece for the Photograd blog about the group exhibition he was recently a part of at the Brighton Photo Fringe entitled, Lie of the Land. Continue reading to find out more about this group of graduates that have remained connected post university. 

Lie of the Land  installation shot

Lie of the Land installation shot

Introduction

We are four photographers James Dobson, Rachel Maloney, Annalaura Palma and Noora Pelkonen, who met four years ago on the MA Photography course at the University of Brighton, graduating in 2014 and 2015.

Since beginning our studies together we have had an ongoing dialogue, all being interested in different aspects of landscape and place. After we graduated we stayed in touch and continued our conversation beyond University and eventually decided to make a collaborative exhibition when BPF was on the horizon. The exhibition is called Lie of the Land and it is about the ways in which the past, the unperceived and the forgotten fold themselves into our current experience and reading of landscape.

Image from the series  Karelia  by Noora Pelkonen

Image from the series Karelia by Noora Pelkonen

Image from the series  The Forest  by Rachel Maloney

Image from the series The Forest by Rachel Maloney

Planning

We were all at a stage where we felt ready to show our work, be that a different manifestation of older, ongoing work or completely new work and BPF seemed a good opportunity to do this. As a platform it gives you a framework within which your exhibition can be made visible - there are more people engaging with photography and potential visitors in Brighton during the Biennial/Fringe month and you are given support by the fringe in terms of promotion.

We knew that we wanted to show our work in a neutral space (which are quite hard to find in Brighton) such as a gallery, as we wanted full attention from the visitors, so we looked for a suitable space in Brighton and booked it early in 2016. As the gallery is limited in space, the challenge was to make sure that each work had its own breathing space but also make sure that the visitor could enjoy the journey, however small, through the exhibition– so the connections between works was very important. We were limited in the amount of pictures we could hang so we started to think of the exhibition as a collaborative development of an idea, rather than a chance for each of us to have our own individual exhibition. Smaller, low-budget shows often work better with this approach, and I think we all enjoyed discovering new aspects about our work and making new associations between pictures during the curation process. 

Lie of the Land   installation shot: images form the series  Churches  by James Dobson

Lie of the Land installation shot: images form the series Churches by James Dobson

Image form the series   Churches     by James Dobson

Image form the series Churches by James Dobson

In terms of promotion, BPF produce a newsprint brochure with a map and website to navigate the exhibitions, so we decided to not make any flyers but instead built an internet presence via twitter, which you can find here @Lie_of_the_land.

Experience and reflection

The exhibition has had a positive response from visitors. For us it was very good to have a space to see how our new work operated in a gallery context and also to be able to open up dialogues and new relationships. When you’re in this kind of festival environment it is good to be involved in every aspect of making an exhibition – so invigilating, which can sometimes be tedious, was actually at times very rewarding, giving us the opportunity to be surrounded by our work and think about photography. Exhibitions can be great spaces for the development of ideas, in a different way to being out in the world.

Image from the series  Virginia Woolf: Virginia’s path  by Annalaura Palma

Image from the series Virginia Woolf: Virginia’s path by Annalaura Palma

Advice

In regards to advice, look at festivals like BPF that not only support the promotion of your work to a wider audience but give opportunities for photographers to submit their work for exhibitions and prizes; BPF has the Danny Wilson Memorial Prize, the Open Solo Show, the group show at the Regency Town House and also the Collectives Hub.