Photograd Experience: Jocelyn Allen

Launch Photograd Jocelyn Allen wrote a short piece for us about her involvement in the Miniclick event, Photography and Performance, on Tuesday 9th August 2016. Continue reading to find out how Jocelyn got on…

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     Image of projection showing one of Jocelyn's dance videos   during the event. 

Image of projection showing one of Jocelyn's dance videos during the event. 

Miniclick is a photography organisation that was formed in Brighton in 2010 and the team put on a lot of free talks and events in Brighton and elsewhere. They’re a really nice bunch of people, who have invited me to be involved with various events of theirs before, including talking about which portrait I wish I’d taken (I wished to have photographed the Seven Sutherland Sisters), my favourite piece of paper (Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American album cover), short talks about my work and having one of my photos interpreted by an illustrator and then by a writer. They currently hold one free talk in Brighton a month related to a theme and I was contacted about participating in their Photography and Performance event.

The other invited speaker was Kate Radford who is a performer (amongst many other things). She gave a scratch performance of a piece called 26.2, which talks about running the marathon whilst addressing the fitness industry, social media and anxiety. It was very funny and also related to elements of my work.

My talk was around 40 minutes long, which is the longest I have done for Miniclick and it was interesting to talk after Kate as she is a performer who uses photography, whereas I work the opposite way round.  She said that she hates having her photograph taken… but I hate it too, though I have mainly been taking self-portraits since 2010.

In my talk I worked my way through most of my photographic projects in chronological order, then about my video work, as the photography projects fit together and kind of follow each other more than my videos. However, I felt it was important to talk about my video work because of the theme of the event.

Then Kate and I sat together to answer questions from the audience, which was good because people picked up on things that I had forgotten to talk about more, whilst it also drew comparisons between mine and Kate’s work. The usual after event chatting was accompanied by a playlist of my YouTube dance videos, which was fun to see big for once. 

Beforehand they told me that usually people speak for around 40 minutes and I took the basis of my presentation from one that I had made before. I deleted parts that I felt weren’t so relevant to the theme and added in more screenshots from my videos, so I wouldn’t have to play them all but could talk about them over multiple slides. I like to have a lot of pictures in my presentations, just from going to talks in the past where I wish people had showed more of their work.

I thought a lot beforehand about what I was going to say, but I forgot to ask to have the presentation put on presenter mode so I didn’t have my notes on screen (and I felt awkward about stopping it to put them on). So I forgot some points, and couldn’t remember the titles to my project Neblina but I still think that it went quite well. I get quite nervous on the run up to talks and couldn’t sleep for longer than usual the night before, but once I was sat on the stool my nerves faded away. It was probably the most comfortable that I have felt during a talk and I tried to pause for longer than usual on the pictures, as at a talk a couple of years ago I was so worried about people being bored (and I’ve seen my pictures so many times) that I was going through them quite fast. At university I used to hate having to talk in front of my class, but even though they make me nervous I feel quite proud of myself after for getting through it and each time I talk it gets a bit easier.

Celine Dion - It's All Coming Back To Me Now, an example of one of Jocelyn's YouTube dance videos. 

Photograd Experience: Christina Stohn

As mentioned in our previous blog post, Christina Stohn was a speaker at the Bank Street Arts symposium, New Pastoral Paradigms: Explorations in Landscape and the Self, on the 23rd July. We caught up with Christina to find out more about her involvement in the symposium, what she discussed during her talk, and any advice she could give to other photographers participating in a similar event. See below to find out more. 

From the series  Paradise Lost

From the series Paradise Lost

How did you get involved in the symposium?

Jesse Alexander, photographer, writer and lecturer, apparently came across my work by “happy accident”, as he calls it. In May he approached me to see if I would be interested in participating in the symposium Pastoral Paradigms: Explorations in Landscape and the Self that he was organising as part of his artist residency at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield. The central question for the symposium was, how can photography be used to articulate the complex relationship between place and individual and collective identities. 

Sum up your talk – what were the themes you discussed? 

First I discussed how my career in photography has evolved. Then I talked about four bodies of work that I have been engaged in: Sehnsucht (Yearning), Entwurzelt (Uprooted), Paradise Lost and The rumours are true. The first three series, which are about the countryside, are autobiographical and metaphorical. The latest project, The rumours are true, is an excursion into the city of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. In this case the landscape is a record of place, seen from a documentary gaze. However, it still deals with issues of displacement.

Could you tell us some key quotes from your talk?

Sehnsucht (Yearning): “This body of work stems from feeling homesick and is an exploration of space; where one landscape seems to end and another one begins.”

Entwurzelt (Uprooted): “This refers to the loss of a sense of belonging but also the possibilities for renewal and change.”

From the series  Sehnsucht

From the series Sehnsucht

From the series  Entwurzelt

From the series Entwurzelt

How did you find constructing your talk? Were you given any guidelines to stick to, for example?

As I knew that it would be mainly students from the Open College of the Arts in the audience, I referred to projects that I had produced as part of my BA and MA courses. I put them in chronological order starting from 2012, the second semester at the University of Westminster, up to my latest project this year at the University of the Arts, Bremen.

Initially Jesse and I had a conversation via Skype. The presentations were intended to consider how contemporary landscape practice has shifted from its pastoral and pictorial traditions and embraced more nuanced and personal approaches and narrative strategies. He encouraged me to talk about whatever I wanted to – from either a theoretical or practical orientation. Although the symposium was about landscape photography, he suggested I incorporate topographic images with individual portraits to have a broader narrative of the place, as the place involves people.

Did you stay to watch the other speakers? If so, who was your favourite and why?

I absolutely enjoyed spending the day with all the other speakers and the audience.

I suppose all of us are drawing on memories in the representation of place with personal and historical narratives. Even though we had the common theme of examining space, after all each of our practice is very different: varying from a conceptual approach to snapshot aesthetic. I can honestly say that all the works fascinate me.

You should check out the other speakers’ websites:
Hanna-Katrina Jędrosza -
Jesse A. P. Alexander -
John Umney -
Michal Iwanowski -

From the series  The rumours are true

From the series The rumours are true

Any advice for photographers hosting their own talk?

Structure your presentation in advance, taking account of time. Check how your images fit in with your talk.

Anything else you’d like to include.

Firstly, I would like to thank Jesse Alexander for the invitation. Andrew Conroy at Bank Street Gallery was a wonderful host – providing the space as well as treating us with a delicious lunch buffet. And last but not least, Gareth Dent, principal at Open College of the Arts, for sponsoring the event.

We are currently thinking of putting an exhibition together.

Photograd Experience: Christina Stohn

Christina Stohn, one of our launch Photograds, will be a part of the Bank Street Arts hosted symposium New Pastoral Paradigms: Explorations in Landscape and the Self, in Sheffield on the 23rd July (this Saturday!). In accordance with the residency taken up by Jesse Alexander, the symposium focuses on the consideration of “how contemporary landscape practice has shifted from its pastoral traditions to embrace more nuanced, personal approaches”, as stated on Bank Street Arts website. Christina will be discussing her projects Paradise Lost and Sehnsucht, alongside other guest speakers including Jesse Alexander, Hanna-Katrina Jędrosz and John Umney. This sounds like a brilliant opportunity for anyone interested in landscape photography...or any other photography for that matter! 

Christina has kindly agreed to share her experiences of speaking at the symposium with us, and we’ll be posting her write up here on the blog! 

Find out more about the event HERE, and visit Eventbrite to book your place.