Introducing Fiiiirst

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


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

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

Thomas Bouquin , Montreal

Thomas Bouquin, Montreal

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

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

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

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

Kent Andreasen , Cape Town

Kent Andreasen, Cape Town

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

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

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

Sophie Barbasch , New York

Sophie Barbasch, New York

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

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

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

Maela Ohana , Montreal

Maela Ohana, Montreal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instagram Takeover winning graduate - Holly Farndell

We recently created a call for work specifically for those students graduating this year with the aim of rewarding a number of them with opportunities to be represented by Photograd. You can see our interview with University of the West of England graduate Tom Roche here, and our 9 highly commended graduates here. We're continuing to support 2018 graduates with a brand new edition of PGZ which is coming soon!

Here we present you a few images from Norwich University of the Arts graduate Holly Farndell who we selected from the submissions we received to takeover our Instagram. You can follow along to find out more about Holly and her work from Sunday 29th July - Saturday 4th August.


Golden Promise was created from Autumn through to Spring as a documentation of light and the changing of seasons. With a short escape from grey old England to sun-washed Spain, it is an observation of my experience with seasonal affective disorder and coping with the light and darkness of life.

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disco.jpg
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All images from the series  Golden Promise

All images from the series Golden Promise

Photograd Instagram Takeovers

We'd like to introduce you to our brand new interactive Instagram Takeover calendar!


Photography graduates and students are eligible to takeover the Photograd Instagram account. Please contact us first to discuss your takeover before scheduling yourself in.

The next available spot doesn't always need to be taken, so be sure to consider when you'd like to promote your work. We can't always successfully re-schedule so think carefully.

We prefer takeovers to run from Monday - Thursday. Once we've confirmed you're good to go, you just need to click on the Monday you'd like to start and add your name in then send us an image we can promote your takeover with. Guidelines and log-in details will be supplied a few days before you're due to join us.

The calendar also shows a few other exciting things like upcoming Spotlight's and Features.

Please email us with any questions or queries in regards to taking over our account.

An interview with SEMI ZINE

We recently interviewed the founder and editor of SEMI ZINE to give an insight into what they're all about and how you can get involved. Scroll down to find out more!

"We're advocators of great artwork and dedicated artists."

 
 

Who are you? What and where did you study? I’m Pagy Wicks, I’m the founder and editor of SEMI ZINE. I studied Photographic Arts at the University of Westminster in London. Doing my degree was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I really learnt how to think academically about photographic art and UoW was a great facilitator of critical thinking.

What is SEMI ZINE? Who's behind this creation? SEMI ZINE is a non-profit online and soon to be POD (print-on-demand) magazine dedicated to the arts on a global scale. It’s a new platform for artists to publish work and gain a bit of interest in their current projects. Initially I started up the magazine in my bedroom late one eve, it’s now grown to a small collection of art enthusiasts and graduates in different fields who wanted to contribute and work with me on the idea. 

Image by  Nina Musholt

Image by Nina Musholt

How do you go about selecting artists to feature on the platform? We aim to feature anyone who submits work. Our selection process is very fluid and really depends on how much effort has been put into the body of work and if we can gauge that from the first submission. We also like the collaboration aspect of selecting artists to be featured with us. We do have a particular subjective ‘look’ in mind for the magazine based on our own interests. If the submission doesn’t necessarily suit our look we’ll have an in-depth look at the artists’ online portfolio and try to work out whether they have a body of work we’re eager to share with our followers which so far, luckily, everyone has had. 

Tell us about your ideas to create a print on demand zine. This was basically born out of the idea of running a cost effective, non-profit art magazine. It means we can cater to an audience no matter how small or large. There are setbacks to running a POD magazine - there may be a longer wait for your copy since we print on order. With the resurgence and resurrection of the magazine we’re not short for platforms that support a POD model. If you’re a nerd about all things print, like I am, then now is a great time to be alive and working.

Image by  Ewan Waddell

Image by Ewan Waddell

How can creatives get involved with what you do? SUBMIT SUBMIT SUBMIT. We have a really simple submission system in place. Our website (semizine.co.uk) is pretty straightforward and user friendly. Artists can submit work via our submit tab online. I also welcome emails (info@semizine.com) from artists who might have any mixed media ideas they’re looking to share with us. Occasionally I’m also trawling media to reach out to different artists around the world. Once we’ve made a connection we always stay in contact for future work or shows from the artists we feature. Our only regret in regard to submissions is that we cannot feature everyone simultaneously and our artists do suffer a hefty wait in our feature queue, so far though everyone has been very supportive and understanding about the waiting period. We’re super grateful for our lovely artists. 

As SEMI ZINE is not for profit, what's in it for you? The magazine is another platform for artists to be able to get their work published. I’m a photographic artist myself and I know the struggle to get word out that you’re dedicated as an artist is real. The whole concept was born out of that. We’re non discriminative in all regards and we value your work as much as you do. I really actually enjoy art in most of its forms and I’m a huge nerd about great art - if we get to feature someone talented who maybe hasn’t been discovered yet or has something completely valid to say then that’s our gain. 

Image by  Mauricio Alejo

How does a SEMI ZINE interview work? How do you decide what questions to ask? We have a set of questions which aim to offer a more inside look into the artist and their own work. This set is always accompanied by a few questions as a response from me or the team about the work itself specifically. Since we’re all academics and graduates we do tend to ask very academic style questions which might relate to different well known theories in art. The idea is to create a cool discursive between the magazine and the artist. I always ask the artist to have fun while answering and don’t really limit them to what they can and can’t say or to any word count. It’s there to offer an inside perspective on the creative process to the reader for that feature. We try to create really interesting and immersive content for our readers too so this would affect how we pick our questions. 

Tell us about some of the artists you've decided to include with this interview. We’ve decided to show you a mix of currently featured and yet to be featured artists. Our current list of artists to be featured is so large at the moment that it wouldn’t be right not to consider their images for this interview. We tried to show a great variety in artwork we publish as well. In order of images we decided to show Nina Musholt - her work “[...] is driven by surrealism and daily myths and riddles.”, Krasimira Butseva - In her practice she explores “[...] history, politics and collective memory; working with state and personal archives, found photography and objects, and contemporary landscape photography.”, Mauricio Alejo creates intricate temporary sculptures in his home and documents the installations on 4x5 film and Ewan Waddell whose “[...] main motivations at the moment are creating visuals within fashion and documentary genres – and also producing publications.”. 

What's your biggest achievement to date? I know it might sound like a super diplomatic answer but honestly we feel like every single artist we’ve been able to feature and work with has been our biggest achievement to date. SEMI ZINE started out of my bedroom late at night and has bloomed into this already insanely cool archive and showcase. We’ll always see us reaching out as our biggest achievement and we’ll forever be grateful for our collective of artists too. It doesn’t stop at a submission - we like to get involved so we’re anticipating many more achievements to come.

Introducing Photograd Instagram Features

Here at Photograd we are continuously working on new Features but occasionally new, exciting projects can get in the way. We don't want this result in a collection of half hearted Features when there isn't enough time to really discuss that photographers work. That's not the aim! Features are comprehensive and very personal, so the process of creating new ones is saved for times when things aren't too hectic.

So, to compromise, we're starting something new. Something that current photography students can also get involved with. Photograd Instagram Features will show just one image from a graduate or student with a short description about the work. This idea is open to graduates old and new, current students and even those already featured on the platform. Any completed images can be sent to us for consideration but please bear in mind that not all submitted images will be posted.

To be considered for a Photograd Instagram Feature please email us the following, along with any questions you may have, to photogradsub@gmail.com:

  • Name, university, and graduation year
  • Instagram handle
  • No more than 3 images from your chosen series
  • A very short description of yourself and/or the series
  • A few relevant hashtags

An Extended Instagram Takeover: Chloe Alice Hayes in South America

Photograd featured photographer, Chloe Alice Hayes, is currently travelling South America and has committed to an extended Instagram takeover! Until she comes back to the UK in December, Chloe will be sharing her journey every weekend through the Photograd Instagram account. We're really excited to follow the final leg of her journey.

We recently caught up with Chloe when she told us all about her travels. We'll let her introduce herself...

 
Inca Trail Day 3, Cloud Forest    - Instagram image from Chloe's trip

Inca Trail Day 3, Cloud Forest - Instagram image from Chloe's trip

 

Hola chicos! Chloe Alice Hayes ready to feature my work from the far flung land of South America where I am currently travelling for the next few months. Photographer and artist, I studied an Art and Design Foundation and BA (Hons) Photography at the Arts University Bournemouth and loved every second of both. I have spent the last few years as Artist in Residence at The Purcell School where I taught art and photography, worked in the boarding house and made my own work such as documenting The Purcell School that researched into the history of the 5 locations that the school has been situated, Day, focuses on the movement of natural light within the buildings and The Lead studied actors the moment before they go on stage, inspired by watching the pupils before they began a concert or recital. 

Image from the series  Day , 2016

Image from the series Day, 2016

Conway Hall, The Purcell School , 2015

Conway Hall, The Purcell School, 2015

During these two years I managed to save up to travel South America, I have always wanted to do this but never had the time or the money, as so many of us don't. As this was a natural end to the job and I was able to save, I took it as the perfect opportunity to explore before getting bogged down into a permanent job, buying a house and all the other things that we are 'expected' to be doing quite soon although, now I am here, I feel I may have caught the bug and won't be settling down for a while!

 
Magdalena, Lima - Instagram image from Chloe's trip

Magdalena, Lima - Instagram image from Chloe's trip

 

During my adventure I am visiting Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina travelling through desert, rainforest and cities along the way. So far I have seen many amazing wonders including a homestay on Lake Titicaca and the Floating Islands of Uros, the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, the Amazon Rainforest, the Nasca Lines and The Cañon del Colca with loads of other incredible stuff thrown in as well. My next stop, Cusco AGAIN, it was any arty persons dream.

 
Grace Chilton, Verge, The Lead,  2016

Grace Chilton, Verge, The Lead, 2016

 

Unconstrained by the limits of genre and fascinated by the processes of film photography, the work is always informed from a need to learn. The research is an essential step and the diverse range of final pieces and titles are always drawn from theoretical notions. The exploration of unconventional techniques are applied to produce peculiar and unique images. The discovery of both the iPhone and Instagram have been a vital tool in creating and sharing my visual travel diary.'

Find out more about Chloe via her website and see more of her trip via her Instagram account.