Lorenza Demata - It all started when some of us left the country

For the duration of March we were seeking work from photography graduates alongside Loupe Magazine to reward with a collection of prizes and interviews. A lot of time was spent looking through the submissions and decisions were finally made. We're really pleased to present here the first runners-up interview.

Lorenza Demata is a photographer and visual artist originally from Italy who studied for an MA in Photography at London College of Communication. We've interviewed Lorenza here about the series It all started when some of us left the country.


It is estimated that expatriates constitute approximately 40% of London population.
At the same time, almost 50% of the total consumption of food resources relies on the importation of fruit and vegetables from other countries.


This project is an investigation of the notion of identity in the contemporary migratory context.
The displacement of human resources is explored through a visual analogy with imported fruit and vegetables. By creating this parallel relation between people and food commodities, Lorenza aims to unveil the process of redefining individual identity that often takes place in the experience of expatriates.
The photographic series and the book ask the viewer to critically reflect on the role of the human workforce in the political context of global migration.

From the photobook  It all started when some of us left the country - I

From the photobook It all started when some of us left the country - I

Can you introduce yourself? What and where did you study? My name is Lorenza (Lori) and I am a photographer and visual artist based in London. I come from Florence, Italy, where I first graduated in International Cooperation and Conflict Management. After my first BA, I studied Photography for three years at Fondazione Studio Marangoni in Florence, until September 2016. Then I moved to London to attend the MA in Photography at London College of Communication. I recently graduated and I am now working as a freelance photographer in London.

From the series  It all started when some of us left the country

From the series It all started when some of us left the country

Give us an overview of your work. What themes do you like to explore? Because of my multidisciplinary background, the content of my works is somehow always linked to social and political issues and it investigates themes related to the ideas of identity and culture. In my latest works, I have been particularly interested in the processes that influence and change the concept of cultural identity in the contemporary globalised context.

I usually address these concepts through portrait and staged photography, by subverting and experimenting different approaches. As a result, I would say that my practice sits between documentary and conceptual photography.

From the photobook  It all started when some of us left the country - I

From the photobook It all started when some of us left the country - I

What encouraged you to submit to the Loupe Magazine and Photograd call for work? Have you got any tips for photographers submitting work for similar opportunities? I usually try to apply to as many open calls as I can. I think these kind of calls are a good opportunity to show work, as well as to get feedback and responses. It is useful to always challenge ourselves and to confront our work with others. Accepting feedback and criticism is not always easy. But taking into account constructive suggestions can make you understand how complete your work is and it can contribute to make positive improvements.

How did this series come to the surface? Why did you decide to investigate identity in the contemporary migratory context through the use of photography? When I started my MA in London I wanted to investigate a theme that could be somehow close to my personal experience. I started wondering to what extent cultural identity changes when we move from our country of origin to another. I have also been interested in the process of commodification of the foreign human workforce in general and in particular in London.  

From the photobook  It all started when some of us left the country - I

From the photobook It all started when some of us left the country - I

I think it is important to reflect on identity and cultural issues in this place and in this historical moment.

Almost half of the population of London is constituted by people from other countries. While gathering data for my theoretical research process, I also found out that a large amount - approximately 50% - of the food commodities we consume in the UK is imported from somewhere else. By visually connecting expatriates to imported vegetables and fruit, I want people to reflect on how much a country relies on the global importation and migration, as well as on the role of foreign people in this context. 

From the series  It all started when some of us left the country

From the series It all started when some of us left the country

The outcome of It all started when some of us left the country is a photobook. Describe your book and explain why you executed your work in this way. The diptychs are usually installed in exhibitions as a series of booklets, which aim to recall the scale of a passport. 

The other part of the project It all started when some of us left the country - I is in the form of a book. In this section, I am investigating the concept of cultural adaptation by confronting a specific fruit with a personal story. As a result, the book mixes different visual inputs, such as screenshots, graphics, manipulated archival material and photographs.

Why have you cut out the faces in your portraits? The face is one of the main elements which defines the identity of a person. It is, I would say, indexical of the existence of the subject, and this is particularly evident in identity documents. 

From the series  It all started when some of us left the country

From the series It all started when some of us left the country

I chose not to show the face to reflect on the concepts of displaced identity and of absence. The size of the white square also recalls the photos that are used for official documents.

I think my aim is to underline how it is challenging to define ourselves culturally and individually.

Tell us about the accompanying pieces of fruit in your images. How have you linked fruit and portraits together? For the still life photos I gathered data about the most imported fruit and vegetables. Every piece is paired with the portrait according to the colours. I did not want to link the food with the subject on the basis of the same nationality. This way I want to enhance the concept of displacement and of distance of commodities and people. Furthermore, I mean to underline how the movement of goods and human migrations are global, by going beyond national borders.

From the series  It all started when some of us left the country

From the series It all started when some of us left the country

What are your future plans? At the moment, I am going on with this project and with the specific fruits and stories. In the future, I would like to investigate the social and cultural relationship between expatriates and locals. I also want to analyse some form of local cultural ‘resistance’ in the economic context, either in London or somewhere else.

Anne Erhard - An Artist Residency

London College of Communication graduate Anne Erhard was featured on Photograd last year and we recently caught up with her again. In a quick interview, Anne has told us about her residency which involved a six week stay at DEPO2015 in Pilsen, Czech Republic, and introduces us to her new series of work, An elderberry place.


From the series  An elderberry place

From the series An elderberry place

Who are you and where did you study? I’m Anne Erhard, a photographer and writer currently based in Berlin. I studied on the BA Photography at London College of Communication and graduated in 2016.

Tell us about your new series of work, how did the idea come to the surface? An elderberry place actually developed out of my graduation project From the trees we run between, which was based around various legends of the forest. For that series, I visited the Bohemian Forest at the border of Germany and the Czech Republic. After that first visit to the region, I wanted to know more about my family history there, which is the main focus of the new work. When I came upon an ancient and very direct connection between the two places in my research, An elderberry place essentially created itself:

More than 14 million years ago, a meteorite struck the earth in what is now Southern Germany, tearing open a crater whose remains are still visible today. In the moment the meteorite hit the ground, a unique mineral, Moldavite, was created out of the melting rock, thrown upwards and scattered in the South of the Czech Republic, across an area several hundred kilometres to the East of the impact site. My father’s father, who died when my father was a boy, came from Schönfelden (Osí) in the Czech border region of Bohemia, which the German population was forced to leave in 1946. My grandfather was subsequently resettled in a German village that happened to be located within the aforementioned meteorite’s crater, a coincidence that unknowingly bound him to the home he had left behind.

From the series  An elderberry place

From the series An elderberry place

We understand that you completed An elderberry place as part of an artist residency. Can you explain more? How did you secure your residency? Yes, doing a residency was one of my biggest goals for the year after my graduation. I wanted to do a program that would help me develop a project that was already in progress rather than beginning some completely new work. I applied for a few residencies in the Czech Republic before being accepted for a six-week stay at DEPO2015 in Pilsen. Writing several applications and having the project rejected along the way really helped me to refine my ideas as it forced me to repeatedly think about how to effectively communicate my plans for the project. My time in Pilsen was brilliant, I got to do, see and be involved so many different things. Everyone there was so welcoming and really went above and beyond to help me complete the project.

From the series  An elderberry place

From the series An elderberry place

Have you exhibited this work now it's complete? If so, where was it shown? At the end of my residency at DEPO2015 the venue hosted the Czech-German festival Treffpunkt, and I had a solo exhibition as part of this festival. Treffpunkt is a recent initiative supported by various European organisations and brings together cultural activities from both sides of the border. I made many of the prints for the display myself in the darkroom at DEPO2015, and the final exhibition also included objects that I had gathered from my family archive.

As An elderberry place is your first completed body of work since graduating, have you got any tips or advice you can share with new graduates? The biggest learning curve was making the project outside of the university network and facilities. My main point of advice would be to learn how to use whatever your new circumstances might be to your advantage. For me, this meant a shift away from making work by shooting every couple of months and bringing the project together piece by piece. Instead, I spent a year planning the photographs I wanted to make in advance and then shooting almost all of them in the space of a few weeks. Over the course of that year, I became much more experimental and let go of a lot of expectations I had had for myself, and I think in the end this worked out well for the final result. The most important thing for me was to embrace the fact that things will move at a different pace after you graduate and accept that there will be failures and rejections along the way. Throughout that time it helps so much to keep in touch with your course friends, as you are all in the same boat and most likely facing similar struggles.

From the series  An elderberry place

From the series An elderberry place

What does the future hold? I am just working on getting An elderberry place out into the world and figuring out plans of where to potentially exhibit it again this year. Beyond that I’m looking to publish a book of From the trees we run between this year and am involved in and applying to a few other exhibitions. I also have a new project idea that I am starting to plan and research, which follows on from the very last photograph I took for An elderberry place at a Czech photography museum.

Photograd Experience: Joanne Coates at Photo Scratch

LCC graduate Joanne Coates is a firm supporter of Photograd and we've caught up with her again to find out about her experience of speaking at Photo Scratch. We hope you find some inspiration from Joanne's write up!


From the series  We Live By Tha’ Water

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

Introduction: I am Joanne Coates, a photographer born and raised in rural Yorkshire and working internationally. I am based in the North of England after completing a BA (Hons) Photography degree at LCC London in 2015. My interest lies more with a visual prose, an appreciation of rurality. I identify with the marginalised, the edges. I have a democratic and poetic approach to what can be termed as the medium of "photography". Inspired by everyday stories, landscape experiences and Northern Realism. 

From the series  We Live By Tha’ Water

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

Experience: On Monday 24th April I took part in my first Photo Scratch. I had seen the event shared on social media. The night saw works-in-progress from several photographers, myself included exhibited across Hotel Elephant. Each project had a feedback box, attendees left feedback on the projects. Photo Scratch is a supportive evening for working photographers and bring with us our experience and understanding of the documentary photography and associated industries. Founded and ran by LCC Masters graduates Phil le Gal and Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz.

 
From the series  We Live By Tha’ Water

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

 

As I live in a rural area, and spent much of time working in different areas around the UK, it can be difficult to actually talk to anyone about my work. I’ve been working on this series since March 2016 now and felt as though it was a good time to talk about it, discuss ideas, and get feedback. It’s important to see how people interact with your work. I found the experience was especially helpful. 

Work: We Live By Tha’ Water is a story. A story that toys with what we accept as real and what we accept as imagined. It is an exploration of a new life after a diagnosis of Bipolar disorder. A dark narrative that explores life on the edge lands of society. A complex visual culmination of personal anxieties and mental erosion. A drawn out fascination with power relations. It is a poetic and emotional response to the eerie elements that make up modern societies. Slowly as the story continues the boundaries begin to warp and fade. What is real and what is imagined start to blur. The island is used as a new place for the in-between. To question what is actually visible and what is known. A place between madness and sanity. Travelling to the edge of the world to explore my own subconscious.  As the Orcadian writer George McKay Brown wrote “The imagination is not an escape, but a return to the richness of our true selves, a return to reality."

From the series  We Live By Tha’ Water

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

The work itself is taken in moments of mania or moments of depression. Photo scratch offered me the chance to start bringing in other elements of the work such as search warrants, diary entries that depict the story, and pieces that tell the story of a decline in mental health. I’ve always been interested in documentary photography, but wanted my personal work to be a documentary of the self. To challenge the ways in which work. There is more to come in the series that will explain the journey more, where the viewer begins to lose sight of what is true and what isn’t. Beginning to realise if that truth matters or not in such a personal depiction. 

Future: I will be working on the series for the next year. The work best suits a book format but again I am taking my time with this project. 

From the series  We Live By Tha’ Water

From the series We Live By Tha’ Water

Outcome: I would recommend Photo Scratch for working graduates. I think times are hard, and options are limited for those who can’t afford to do masters and that isn’t spoken about. The photography world seems to take it for granted that opportunities are equal and level, which they aren’t. Groups like Photo Scratch level that field supporting those who are taking risks and working in photography despite circumstances. There was a broad range of projects, no matter what level you are, you can always benefit from the advice of other minds. The night was really inclusive, and open. I love the idea of pop-up shows and happenings. My advice would be to apply to speak to Phil and Hanna.

If you would like to take part in a future Photo Scratch you can apply by emailing Phil or Hanna-Katrina

Future Photograd: Joanne Coates

Launch Photograd Joanne Coates will be exhibiting her project Liznojan at this years Love Arts Leeds festival! Joanne told us that the exhibition will look at how "walking as part of a photographic practice is a meditative healing process". The launch of the exhibition will take place on Wednesday 5th October at Wharf Chambers, 23-25 Wharf Street, Leeds; the work will remain on show until the 20th October. 

Images from the series Liznojan

A sense of Place, Liznojan Exhibition. A exploration of mental health in our society through photography. “In Walter Benjamin’s terms, “to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery.” ‘One does not get lost but loses oneself.’ Accompanying the exhibition an artist talk by Joanne Coates about the series Liznojan where the audience is invited to a relaxed environment in Wharf Cambers (Cooperative Club) where everyone will have the opportunity to discuss issues around Art and Mental Illness. 

Visit the Eventbrite page to register your interest in Joanne's talk, One does not get lost but loses oneself, on Wednesday 12th October, at 6:30 - 8:00pm. Please note; Wharf Chambers is a members’ club and you need to be member, or a guest of a member, in order to attend. To join, please visit wharfchambers.org

Joanne will also be discussing her work at the event Love Arts Conversation at Leeds Beckett University on the 19th October.

Love Arts Leeds is a celebration of creativity and mental well-being which takes place every October in Leeds. The festival aims to get people talking about mental health by sharing creativity. They feature exhibitions, gigs, performances, workshops, talks, debates, discussions and more. The festival is run by the Arts & Minds team.

Joanne will be writing up her experience of exhibiting during the festival plus her artist talk, so keep your eyes on our blog! In the meantime, find out more about Joanne's project Liznojan in her Photograd Feature

Future Photograd: Marianne Bjørnmyr

Marianne Bjørnmyr, LCC MA Photography graduate and soon to be featured Photograd, has a new book coming out! The launch of An Authentic Relation will take place at The Photographer’s Gallery, London, on Tuesday 23rd August 2016. We spoke to Marianne to find out more about the project and the process of creating her forthcoming book...

 
 

Series statement

The work is based on a diary found on the barren and desolate South-Atlantic island of Ascension in 1726. The diary was found to belong to the solider Leenert Hasenbosch, who one year earlier was left as a prisoner on the island as a punishment for sodomy. The diary contains detailed descriptions from the first day of his arrival until the last day of his life, six months later. The book was brought to England and has since been published in several versions; the story has through time been fabricated and twisted several times.

The work presents photographs from a trip I made to Ascension Island, accompanied with the original diary; a constellation of documentation, culminating in an overall feeling of distance and displacement, questioning our idea about history, not as fortified facts, but as possible fiction. Through the work, one navigates between text and images, forming an incomplete experience of the story; the immediate apparent gets obliterated and one receives access to a incomparable world – composed by the connections between photography, text and object but separated by history and time. 

Project length

In all I have spent about two years working on the project, where about the last year has been work on the book: editing, designing, producing and so on. 

Influences

For this project of course I worked a lot with the original diary of Leenert Hasenbosch, it is a 92 page long detailed description of his last six months, and reading it determined pretty much every decision of the project. And also it made me look into a lot of other referencing material and written documentation of history in general. 

Creating the book

Making the book has been a very long process, in particular the editing and design, but very much the production as well. I spent a lot of time working on the dummy and testing out different ideas for the finishing, and could probably have spent another whole year tweaking and changing the contents. There are a lot of steps involved in the process of the production itself when arriving to that stage, where the covers as screen printed separately, the spine as UV spotted, and then there are two different papers in the book itself, where the text is attached separately in the back of each book. So, there is a lot of time spent on making sure all the involved people get the right messages, and also overseeing that nothing gets lost from place to place. But of course, that is also the fun part, seeing it coming together and becoming an object on its own. 

Images from the series  An Authentic Relation,  on show at Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin. 

Images from the series An Authentic Relation, on show at Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin. 

Future aims for project

I have also been working on the project as an exhibition and a part of it was shown in Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin, during July. So I am continuing to work on that, and developing it into a larger show with more content; it is really exciting working on the book and the exhibition alongside each other, they work really differently, and the audience reacts differently to it. Which underpins the background of the story and documentation I have been working on. 

Is the series finished? 

The work keeps changing form all the time, in a sense of course that I have finished creating the content and the material, but the presentation for exhibitions is constantly changing. The book is being published at the end of August, so that is one section that for now is constant, but I am enjoying seeing the variations in presentation that develops as I go.

 

See below for a preview of the book, An Authentic Relation

Front_last.jpg
Skisse 6f.jpg