'Aomori' - A Solo Exhibition by Alexander Mourant

Falmouth University graduate Alexander Mourant was featured on Photograd in 2017 and he's back again this year with a solo show!


Alexander Mourant was born in Jersey, Channel Islands in 1994. He studied BA (Hons) Photography at Falmouth University. His work has been featured extensively online with British Journal of Photography, AINT-BAD, The Plantation Journal, Pylot Magazine and TRIP Magazine. Alexander has also exhibited a variety of work, most notably with CCA Galleries, Mall Galleries and in a duo show held at the Royal Geographical Society, London. He was a recent finalist for the South West Graduate Photography Prize and the winner of the FR Award 2017 for his graduate series Aurelian. Alexander is working towards his first major solo show held at The Old Truman Brewery, February 2018.

Aomori - Digital Invite.jpg

Aomori meaning “blue forest” in Japanese, is a synthesis of two existential ideas: the forest and the nature of blue. By combing these phenomenologically charged subjects, I create a place of high intensity, a place which exudes a life force and questions our relationship to time, colour and self.

Previously, through my photographs, I employed atmospheric conditions such as humidity, alongside tropical flora and fauna enclosed in artificial spaces, as a metaphor, for elsewhere. Through Aomori, I have expanded these territories to the ancestral forests of Japan. It is the presence of the forest and the density of its nature, which arrests for us, the relentless progression of time. It is peculiar how forests have such an affect on us. In our mind’s eye they exist continually in the past. Perhaps, it is the canopy of the trees which shelter us from gently falling light and the intoxication of time and duration. As temporal dimensions crumble, objectivity leaves us. We are found in a still, oneiric state, contemplating our own accumulation of experience.

www.alexandermourant.com

Instagram: @alexandermourant

Twitter: @alex_mourant

Free Range 2017 - Photograd Picks

Photograd visited Free Range again this year and on our wonder round the space we selected a number of new graduates whose work really stood out. Here's our final selection. Enjoy.

Ben Stewart ,  Nomad.  Matthew Mottram,  Gaze .  Harriet Foster-Thornton ,  Still-Hunting .

Ben StewartNomad. Matthew Mottram, Gaze. Harriet Foster-ThorntonStill-Hunting.

John Mullaney, Plymouth College of Art

John Mullaney, Plymouth College of Art

Sam Lyne , Plymouth College of Art

Sam Lyne, Plymouth College of Art

Mert Sezer,  Medway . Middlesex University.

Mert Sezer, Medway. Middlesex University.

Arabella Bidgood ,  Copelands . Middlesex University.

Arabella BidgoodCopelands. Middlesex University.

        

        

        

        

Sam Edrisi ,  The Stage . University of Westminster.

Sam EdrisiThe Stage. University of Westminster.

Gökhan Tanriöver ,  Confessionals . University of Westminster.

Gökhan TanriöverConfessionals. University of Westminster.

Free Range Photography Week Two - Catalogues

 

Due to the volume of universities that exhibited during the second week of Free Range (a whopping 18!), we’ve had to scale down the amount of catalogues we showcase to the ones we were most impressed by. It was a tough decision this week picking our favourites; the catalogues across the board, we’d say, were more impressive than last week, sorry week one grads! And even, dare we say, the most well thought out designs we’ve ever seen at Free Range during our visits over the last four years (we haven’t been to the second week of Free Range before so we may have missed other brilliant designs). 

Lupe - Middlesex University 2016 catalogue

We’ll kick things off with our favourite catalogue from the second week of Free Range Photography shows - Middlesex University. Roughly A5 in size, this simple, magazine-style catalogue was an instant item of curiosity in our eyes. It’s obvious that a great deal of attention has been focused on the design of this catalogue – it has a dust jacket for a start, making it seem more luxurious in appearance. Even when removing the dust jacket to reveal the bare magazine, the design is still appealing. This catalogue and the work inside are not typical of a degree show catalogue; the standard is so impressive that it feels like a magazine you’d happily buy from a retailer. The foreword of the mag informs the reader that submissions were taken from all levels of the BA and MA programmes. The inclusion of all may seem unusual but is not evident when flicking through, but this could be the only downside to this catalogue for us as it doesn’t include the work of all the exhibitors of Free Range this year. 

Opting for interviews rather than the traditional artist statements, this catalogue feels more personal, allowing the reader to further engage with the photographers and their practice.  Having a polaroid at the end showing the Lupe team was also a lovely personal touch. Safe to say, this magazine will stay on our shelf for a long time! 

University of Brighton Degree Show 2016 catalogue

The other catalogues we love come from University of Brighton and Coventry University. Brighton’s clean and understated look may not be the most eye-catching, but the intricacy of the design and the considered layout of the work and artist statements is something we love. The hand stitched spine allows the book to open flat and stay open – handy for our pictures and also great to see all the work properly. The catalogue begins with an essay by Stephen Bull and ends with one by Mark Power, and sandwiched in the middle is the work of the 2016 graduates. Grad work is grouped together and separated by a bold blue page indicating the beginning of the artist statements, a simple idea that works well when wanting to find out more about a particular piece. 

INSITE - Coventry University 2016 catalogue

Coventry University’s we loved for a different reason; their boldly coloured, spiral bound catalogue stands out for its fun factor. Often enough catalogues can appear very generic and, you could say, a little cold; this breaks from the norm with its almost no rules approach. A great part of this catalogue is how the over emphasised coloured pages are broken up by double page spreads showing the selection of the work previously seen in accurate to life colour.  

Well done to everyone involved in the making of the catalogues from both Free Range Photography weeks, we enjoyed picking our way through all of the ones that we managed to get hold of! We now look forward to seeing how the class of ’16 progress. We hope to hear from you!  

See our week one catalogue review here. 

Rochester 2016 catalogue

Optic - University of West London 2016 catalogue

EMERGE - Nottingham Trent University 2016 catalogue  

Free Range Photography Week Two - Photograd Picks

We chose our favourite work from our visits to both photography weeks at Free Range and by looking through our selection of catalogues we picked up. You can see our first picks further down our blog if you want to find out about what we discovered. We travelled to the capital again this week to see the second instalment. Neither of us have been to week two before and so we were looking forward to being overloaded with catalogues and business cards from a wider selection of universities. We weren't wrong, the collection of business cards we now have is immense!

We just want to say congratulations to all who were involved with Free Range this year. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at both weeks and we both discovered some new work that has personally inspired us. We're now looking forward to creating Photograd features with you all!

Enough talk about us, let's get onto our second selection of picks!

University of West London - Optic

Denisa Silas  Albesti   www.denisasilas.com

Denisa Silas Albesti www.denisasilas.com

During our visit we didn’t have an abundance of time to stop and read up on each piece of work, but the text in the case of Denisa’s project isn’t necessary; something about this work immediately struck us as a project close to home. Exhibited in a long row of understated sized framed prints, this work is a tender yet melancholic portrait of Denisa’s homeland in Albesti, Transylvania; a way for her to harness her memories of a place once felt like her “safe haven”, in turn creating a place of escape for the viewer. 

Nottingham Trent University - Emerge

James Marvin   Thirty-Seven and Three-Quarters   -   www.jamesmarvinphoto.com

James Marvin Thirty-Seven and Three-Quarters - www.jamesmarvinphoto.com

James' work was perfectly presented and the quality of the images immediately stood out to us. Without knowing what the series is about, the viewer still has the ability to attach an emotion and create a story. The images are still, peaceful, and intimate, and we both really like the juxtaposition of different weather conditions. We'd really like to know who inspired James to make this work in the way that he has!

 

 

James Marvin  Thirty-Seven and Three-Quarters  -  www.jamesmarvinphoto.com

James Marvin Thirty-Seven and Three-Quarters - www.jamesmarvinphoto.com

Thomas Amico Padula   No Possibility of Unperceived Existence  in situ

Thomas Amico Padula No Possibility of Unperceived Existence in situ

With a strong and obvious Duane Michals, and even Elliott Erwitt influence, we both thoroughly enjoyed this body of work. It's an interesting subject because Thomas suggests that surveillance and voyeurism are unavoidable in contemporary living, yet he's exposed this trend by showcasing it to us in the form of a printed image, and has admitted he's intruded his subjects. We'd love for Thomas to talk about his work with us so we can find out more about his way of working.

We've included an image here of how Thomas hung his work as we think it's really important to see his outcome.

Thomas Amico Padula  No Possibility of Unperceived Existence

Thomas Amico Padula No Possibility of Unperceived Existence

Edinburgh College - Exposed 16

Cat Thomson  Limitations of The Portrait   www.catthomson.com

Cat Thomson Limitations of The Portrait www.catthomson.com

These portraits were a striking addition to Edinburgh College’s show, focusing on the lack of power the sitter has over the final outcome of an image. The work has an Alma Haser Cosmic Surgery vibe, but with the use of digital methods and material objects to distort the portraits. Cat’s claims ring true that this work leaves “the viewer with more questions than answers”.  

Dulcie Wagstaff  Familiar Gardens   www.dulciewagstaff.co.uk

Dulcie Wagstaff Familiar Gardens www.dulciewagstaff.co.uk

Both of us here at Photograd have a strong interest gardens, home, familiarity, identity, memory, and connections or relationships and so neither of us wanted to leave Dulcie's work hanging on the wall. We really appreciate that she's allowed us into her garden to perceive her personal life and relationship with her Mother and Grandfather. Her statement alongside the work is emotive and thought provoking for the viewer, and the words that come in between the images on her website are really uplifting. This series is a work in progress and we really want to see what comes next for Dulcie!

Middlesex University London - Lupe

Scott Thomas  Homeland   www.scotthomas.co.uk

Scott Thomas Homeland www.scotthomas.co.uk

What's unique about Scott's work is his ability to capture his subject matter and their surroundings within the space they've made their own from seemingly what very little belongings they have; the strong relationship between sitter and photographer is clear as they're shot in a relaxed, intimate manner. The spaces in the images are relatable to the viewer given the sense of locality and identity they portray. We'd really like to understand more about Scott's ideas and how he went about making his book.

The layout of the Middlesex show at Free Range was fantastic. Whilst looking through Scott's portfolio and book we were able to see his large scale prints on the wall too.

Norwich University of the Arts

Danielle Keane  Sleep Deprived   www.daniellekeane.com

Danielle Keane Sleep Deprived www.daniellekeane.com

Danielle Keane   Sleep Deprived  in situ

Danielle Keane Sleep Deprived in situ

Danielle's project is based around youth culture and the experience of transitioning into adulthood. It was the overall presentation of this work that caught our attention; each image scattered, appearing to have no sense of order, printed full bleed in different sizes and presented in frames with no break between the image and the frame, illustrating the lack of direction and confusion, entrapment and claustrophobia, that can be experienced at this time in a young persons life. A book accompanied the prints on the wall but unfortunately we didn’t get to see this during our visit. Some of it can be viewed at Danielle’s website, but we would love to see more! 

Free Range Photography Week One - Catalogues

When planning our visit to Free Range this year, one of the first things we considered were the catalogues. We wanted to create blog content to show our favourite designs but more importantly, help the next lot of final year students see what their predecessors produce; especially for students that may not have the opportunity to visit Free Range.

The catalogues are a piece of art themselves and are important for both visitor and exhibitor - the visitor can see their favourite works again, maybe discover new things about a photographer, or find interest in other work they dismissed during their visit, or simply didn't get to see through the masses of grad work on show. For exhibitor, the catalogue acts as a memento of your time over the duration of your degree, and a way to see how far you and your peers develop post-graduation for many years to come. So the catalogue, to us, is an important element to a degree show and one that shouldn't be overlooked.  

We at Photograd favour the catalogues with more information; it’s a great way to make a further impression post-visit. One thing to remember is how big the scale of Free Range is, if you haven't been or won't get a chance to go before you're graduating year just remember that thousands of people flock to Free Range every year and hundreds of exhibitors too, so some work gets lost in the crowds. To help jog the memory of what you or your work is about, the catalogue is the best place to include information, which the majority of catalogues we picked up did do – the only exception being Falmouth University which we’re sorry about because we want to know more about their work! 

University of Westminster undergraduate Photography 2016 catalogue

 

Our favorite catalogue from the first week of Free Range Photography shows was by Westminster University. The small, notebook-style catalogue holds postcards by all the exhibitors. Every time we’ve visited Free Range, postcards are a big attraction and in our experience, run out quicker than business cards. By utilising the catalogue in this way, each visitor will get one postcard per exhibitor and can do as they wish to the postcards – take them out and curate their own catalogue, for example.

The catalogue was also the perfect sized companion during our visit. It has a list of exhibitors in alphabetical order at the front, and the work shown inside mimic the list. This was incredibly handy during our visit when we wanted to read more about the work without fighting the crowds to get to the wall and see the description. For exhibitor, this sturdy little catalogue feels like it will stand the test of time, something that’s an important factor for your personal memento. 

Below you’ll find the other catalogues we managed to get our hands on from the first week of Free Range Photography shows. There was a brilliant selection from this week and we’re looking forward to seeing what the second week has to offer! We’ll be posting our finds on the blog at the same time, next week. 

 

Exordium - Falmouth University 2016 catalogue

Surface - University of East London 2016 catalogue

Swansea College of Art Photography 2016 catalogue

Vemödalen - Plymouth College of Art 2016 catalogue

Size Matters - University of Roehampton 2016 catalogue

Free Range Photography Week One - Photograd Picks

We picked out our favourite work during our visit to Free Range photography week one and had a flick through the catalogues we picked up when we got home. Before our official Free Range Spotlight, we're showcasing some of what we think is the stand out work from the first week. We hope you enjoy our selection!

University of Westminster

 
Mary Woolf  The Yorkshire Dales  -  www.marywoolf.com

Mary Woolf The Yorkshire Dales - www.marywoolf.com

 
Mary Woolf   The Yorkshire Dales   -   www.marywoolf.com

Mary Woolf The Yorkshire Dales www.marywoolf.com

Mary's work immediately stood out in the huge space Westminster always show their work in. It was in a great spot with plenty of room around it to take in the bold colours and landscapes the images represent. Mary's way of representing the landscape is really interesting and we'd like to know more!

There's an interesting element to Emma's deconstructions of the landscape, the unusually bold colours and placement of mysterious objects seem rather industrial. The images spark a connection to many New Topographics photographers and we can't help but draw links to Lewis Baltz and Robert Adams.

 

 

Daniel Lickley  Apply Cold Water  -  www.daniellickley.co.uk

Daniel Lickley Apply Cold Water - www.daniellickley.co.uk

Rineke Dijkstra and Alec Soth inspired, we thought this series of work was a really simple idea, exhibited beautifully, and found it interesting finding out more from reading Daniel's description. With well thought about compositions and lighting, the portraits are relaxed and somewhat cheerful. They bring a sense of ease to the viewer.

Plymouth College of art

Alex Wasmuht  Stowford: A Journey Through the Mill -   www.wasmuhtphotography.co.uk

Alex Wasmuht Stowford: A Journey Through the Mill - www.wasmuhtphotography.co.uk

The image on Alex's postcard was probably the most interesting from the series. The colours, depth, and composition seem to represent the old paper mill site really well in an editorial, clean aesthetic. Alex really shows his ability to portray a narrative through images.

Roseanne Burnman  Securing the South West  

Roseanne Burnman Securing the South West 

Roseanne's hang and idea was really unique and we spent a long time studying it. We felt like we could really interact with the images on the wall using her key; telling us which images were seen as beautiful and imperfect, and so on. We're intrigued to find out where Roseanne found her inspiration and the theory behind her work!

Swansea College of art

Rachel Alderman

Rachel Alderman

Once we'd read Rachel's statement, her images aren't what most would have in mind, they're unique and have a way of capturing the viewer through her technique. The process of walking and making work is a popular one and it's interesting to see so many different outcomes of the idea. It would be great to find out about Rachel's inspirations for the work.

Photograd at Free Range

 
 

This year the Photograd team will be attending both Free Range private views with the aim of creating content based around our visits. For our final Degree Show Season Spotlight this year, we would like to showcase the work of the 2016 Free Range exhibitors on the Photograd homepage. We also plan to create blog content to accompany the Spotlight to include our top picks from the events, plus our favorite catalogue designs. You’ll be able to follow our visit on both Twitter and Instagram using #PhotogradFreeRange.

If you’re a 2016 Free Range exhibitor and interested in taking part, please email us at photogradsub@gmail.com with ‘Photograd at Free Range’ as the subject and include the following:

  • 1-3 degree project images
  • Your website link
  • Instagram and Twitter handles
  • 100 words describing your Free Range experience - This is optional, so please indicate in your email whether you would like to participate. We will follow up after the event with guidance on how to construct your review.

If you have any questions about either the platform or the Spotlight itself, we’ll happily answer them over email or during the events – We’ll be the ones wearing the Photograd stickers (we have a limited number of these to give away to the exhibitors too!).  

The deadline to be a part of our Free Range Spotlight is Monday 11th July 2016.

Good luck everyone and we look forward to seeing all your work!