With the Name of a Flower by Vera Hadzhiyska
MA Photography solo show
3rd - 7th September 2019
Four Corners Galley (121 Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, London E2 0QN)
Preview night: Tue 3rd Sept, 6 - 9 pm
Open: 4th - 7th Sept, 11 am - 6 pm
With the Name of a Flower by Vera Hadzhiyska
MA Photography solo show
3rd - 7th September 2019
Four Corners Galley (121 Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, London E2 0QN)
Preview night: Tue 3rd Sept, 6 - 9 pm
Open: 4th - 7th Sept, 11 am - 6 pm
We recently called for work from both BA and MA photographers who are graduating from a UK university course this year. We’ve made selections and are in the process of conducting interviews and uploading new work to Photograd.
That Thing Over There that surrounds and sustains us
It is the human condition to attempt to render the inaccessible, accessible, creating far-flung spaces beyond their own local geography. This expression of the exotic is still seductive to both the photographer and the viewer, inundated as they already are with such images in modern culture. Beyond this lies a cultural and historical web of damage and displacement of the natural world, as a result of human exploration and expansion. Nature presented as an exhibit, an exhibition, dictates our experience of it. What do these spaces tell us about human aspiration, the obvious contradiction and the longing for connection to the natural world?
Big thank you to everybody who submitted to our most recent call out. We were overwhelmed with brilliant work which made the judging process a difficult one.
Nonetheless, here are the results.
The BA graduate we are rewarding with an extended Instagram Takeover is:
The 2 BA graduates we would like to interview are:
The BA graduate we would like to support and represent for a year is:
The MA graduate we are rewarding with an extended Instagram Takeover is:
The 10 Highly Commended MA graduates are:
Keep an eye out on Photograd and our social media channels for interviews, more images, and takeovers over the Summer.
We're excited to get things started with those selected.
My name is Daisy Ware-Jarrett and I am Co-editor and Co-founder of #PHOTOGRAPHY magazine. When I was asked to interview one person from a selected shortlist of photographers Jared Krauss' work jumped out at me right away. I was drawn to Jared's unique perspective and the energy captured in his Brexit themed series. I was eager to sit with Jared and find out more about his series.
Why did you decide to create a series about Brexit? In a way, the decision was made for me. I’m interested in the every day, and how people creatively navigate their everyday strictures and structures. I’m also interested in disruptions within and of the everyday. Brexit, though, has created a whole new everyday reality, especially for those of us living in the UK. There feels to be a mass amount of anxiety, a fear of the unknown future, permeating the every day because of Brexit, and yet there is this group of people who not only want it, but will stand tall in public proudly proclaiming their support in spite of the sort of existential dread the rest of the population seems to be experiencing. In the end I felt I would be remiss if I didn’t make work pertaining to Brexit. I’m sure many of us will look at our archive in the future and see other threads we can pull on to elucidate the experiences we’ve had during the fight over Brexit, but we won’t have the opportunity to photograph in the moment again. So I felt I must. It was there and I had a camera and some questions.
One of the most captivating aspects of your series is how it's shot from a low angle. Was this an intentional decision and if so why did you choose to shoot this way? What drew me to this particular protest, the pro-Brexit march in December of 2018 in London, was the question, “Who wants Brexit?” Not only was this march being billed as far-right, and anti-immigrant, it would undoubtably be countered by a much larger march. Beyond that, as I said above, they were marching in spite of a generalized air of anxiety around a no-deal Brexit, let alone Mays plan. In fact, almost overwhelmingly, they wanted a no-deal Brexit. Having made photographs in the lead up to the 2016 election, but especially in Washington D.C. on the day of Trump’s Inauguration, I had become acquainted with some of the tension that can arise when I work in spaces whose politics starkly oppose mine. So, on the one hand, I wanted the aesthetics of the images to be something that any of the subjects—whether in the moment or if they see this work now—could not reasonably claim I was presenting a garish portrait. However, I didn’t want the sea of the protest, because that would distract from looking at their faces, to intimately know the answer to, “Who wants Brexit?” I felt the posters and flags they carried could suffice to hint at more of their identity. Since I use a manual focus, wide angle lens, the only way to achieve this was to be literally under their chin. I often fell over backwards while shooting. It was entertaining for everyone, and quite fun for me.
Do you think your position as an American living in the UK gives you a unique perspective on Brexit and the public response to it? In some ways it feels inconsequential for me, an American also with an Italian passport, to have an opinion on Brexit, let alone a perspective. What can I offer here, when in both my own countries I feel there are cruel and crude administrations in power? But then I remember that the existing structures of power, coercion, extortion, oppression, and repression, are constantly sharing techniques, are constantly testing in focus groups new pitches, are constantly building new products for more profit, and that one of the few ways we have to manipulate all those energies to our benefit is to unmask the rhetorics used to draw our attention to the very idea of exiting the European Union, or building a wall on the southern border, when within our very borders, within each of our towns, children are hungry, children are killing each other, the addicted are dying, students are floundering in debt, wars we began and contribute to are raging afar and their victims are fleeing the violence we’ve wrought to come to our countries and are being treated inhumanly. Cambridge Analytica, for starters, is an interesting connection between Brexit and Trump, not to mention the rhetoric around foreigners. One thing that the UK and the US share, also, and gives me a bit of hope, is that my generation and the next overwhelmingly don’t support Brexit or Trump, but, unfortunately, despite being the largest voting bloc, not enough vote.
Do you plan on creating more Brexit-themed work? Always and already.
What do you hope people will take away from this series? I’m not sure. I hope they will bring something to the work, though. I hope they will bring their own ideas and assumptions about what Brexit means, and is, and that they’ll hold my photos up against those thoughts to see what they can see, and then speak about it. I’d love to hear from viewers, but ultimately I want people to have conversations around Brexit in their everyday lives. As much as we’re saturated with politics on the news, whether it was in anticipation of Robert Mueller releasing his report, or seeing if Brexit actually happens on the 29 of March, or in April, or May, or two years from now—that saturation most often comes from the media and from the governments’ and corporations’ representatives. The more we have conversations, or even arguments, the more we approach making the decisions ourselves, and, better yet, start asking the question, “why does it have to be thisy way?” Because it doesn’t. Of course, critical thinking needs must be a part of those conversations, but they don’t always have to begin at a critical place. It can be a joke, a snide remark, or an earnest question, but getting people to articulate why they support something, and not letting them skip out after a superficial answer, will force people to be more critical with themselves. That’s the only way we’re going to work up a resistance to being hoodwinked into fearing the Other, whomever that next is. Keep asking why.
Where did you attend university and what year did you graduate? I attended BCU and graduated in 2009 and I am currently undergoing my first year of my MA at the University of Gloucestershire.
Tell us about your time at university. Have you got any stand out moments you can tell us about? I loved the freedom of university and was able to look at a few and mediums in the visual communication course before continuing with my love for photography. I actually transferred from the LCC in London to BCU and from marketing and advertising to visual communication as I found myself bored in lectures and bored of writing essays and all I wanted to do is to take my camera out (and that’s all I did do).
In my second year we were given a documentary photography brief and at this time I was unsure about man area or my area of photography, field and overall real identity in photography. This module and my introduction in to William Eggleston and Stephen Shore through the lectures and tutorial taught me to think about visual story telling. This project really gave me my indemnity and I want to know everything and anything to do with documentary photography and where ideas and thought process are communicate from ideas and research in to visual communication through documentary photography.
What themes do you explore in your work? I really enjoy just getting lost. I have always dropped myself in a location and walked. This use to be with headphones and the latest indie band on but it is now without headphones and listening to the area and the environment and having some sort of guidance through sense of place.
I like to think about a story and narrative before I go and give myself some background knowledge of an area to then try to depict and communicate without the viewer ever being there. This has developed into adding people and trying to portray the person again without the person meeting them and getting some thought process of communication through my photographs.
I want to try and give the viewer new knowledge through the obvious and documentation of the everyday and through the ideology of sense of place and geographically location of time and space.
Tell us about your series. What's important to you about the A46? Who inspired you? How did you feel when revisiting locations from such significant times in your life? I have seen a lot of the A46 within my 31 years; Burton Farm tip, where myself and my Dad would take trips at the weekend with hedge cuttings and unwanted trinkets to dispose of and give to the Hospice shop. Alcester to Coventry is where my Dad would drive me to football games and I now drive myself up and down this part of the A46 to in and around Stratford and still playing football. My Dad drove up and down the A46 as a national sales man for different companies and I will never forget the orange lollies from Little Chefs that he would bring home and the small BP albums that we used to collect. Towards Coventry, I remember taking a bus with my Mum as a young boy to get a cyst removed as my Dad was working away and we only had one car. Warwick Hospital is just off the A46, where I have visited for twisted ankles, getting wisdom teeth removed and more recently with my Mums Mum passing away.
About 8 years ago, my parents moved from Stratford upon Avon, where I had grown up with my sister and moved down the A46 to Bidford on Avon, we helped them move and I have lived in the house a few times; after university and after a break up with a girlfriend.
I remember working with adults with learning disabilities and I was driving with my ex-girlfriend in the car and was in a consistent mood and mind set of overthinking, which let me to overthinking while driving and I pulled out of a junction at Longbridge Island. Myself and my girlfriend at the time where fine, but this lead me take a step back within my life and leave that job to seek and get help for this over thinking. I got counselling and went on anti-depressants and close to a year later, I had pushed and made myself the person I am now.
I teach photography at the College in Stratford where I was first taught and grew my love for photography, I live in a house in Broadway with my girlfriend and my overthinking is near but gone. I now drive to just see my Mum in Bidford more today as we lost my Dad a few years ago in a freak accident, were we also lost our family Dog. I visit my Mum and her new dog regularly and my Mum comes to watch my play football for a local village team; Welford that my Uncle helps to run.
Sense of place and relationships are journeys, where it is good or bad memories, we change, places and landscapes change, family and friends, live changes. Visiting the A46; I took these memories to where I knew, stopping and walking and documenting what I remember to what has changed. This went up to and just passed Coventry. I then drove and walked where I didn’t know and that was from Coventry to Grimsby and Cleethorpes visting the centre and the outskirts alongside the A46 road. Documenting other memories and what could have been mine if I lived close to that area of the A46.
As you move from Twkesbury all the way up to Grimsby and Cleethorpes more of the nation voted out in the recent Brexit vote. I wanted to try to show this, and document changes from place to place; documenting the change and giving the viewer a sense of place and idea of change from; little chefs to Starbucks and McDonalds and to portray a portrait of Britain and the real people and the roads and journeys we take.
Depending on the outcome of Brexit and the future of the UK, where do you see your photography taking you in the future? Brexit has become an absolute farce. Whether you voted remain or leave. The notion that the people that ‘run’ this country would rather lie than govern the country, for the people is absurd.
With the arts world this is already no funding and galleries have to charge more than I believe that they would want to as there is no backing and cuts are being made left, right and centre within the arts.
This filters down to artists and graduates trying to get their work into galleries, exhibitions and enter them in to paying competitions, but there are platforms like Photograd that can use their platform and social media to help photographers be seen and keep them enthusiastic and motivated to continue with work and create new work.
My time with photography has been up to and down and projects have come and gone and some have been finished. With the Brexit outcome I can see myself carrying on with expressing narrative through my documentary photography and this may with the outcome of Brexit and documenting people and places; like my new project the A46 and what, who, and or might be affected by Brexit.
How do you feel your series communicates the current state of the UK? What would you like your viewer to learn? I think my series gives an idea of sense of place, change of landscape and the idea of psychogeography of urban and rural environments. I want to show the viewer the nostalgia of a road and relation to myself. To show a journey and the change of the how far the a service station has come, to observe buildings and infrastructure, cafes, signs and overall semiotics, and be hopeful that the viewer can resonate with the series and the journey and see different landscapes from west to east of the A46 through; edgelands and into environments where different people voted remain and out.
Have you got any exciting future plans? I am about half way through the A46 and starting to get a good vocabulary and looking more in to the contextual side as the project grows. I have been looking in to the road trip through David Company’s The Open Road alongside looking into work after Robert Franks Americans. The main homage has been to Paul Grahams A1; The Great North Road and the nostalgia of Grahams journey on an ‘A’ road. These photographers, their visual communication, and my thinking through my MA so far has lead down a path of psychogeography; before and psychogeography today and the idea of walking. This has come from readings in to Merlin Coverley, Patrick Keillers Robison series, Doreen Massey’s For Space and Paul Farley and Micheal Roberts Edgelands which are helping my understanding the idea of walking, place, representation, awareness and a vocabulary to go and continue to shoot for my essay into the ‘A46’.
I have also begun to plan a project around villages in Britain and abroad with the idea of Brexit being a very narrative throughout.
UPROOTED features six female artists from different cultural backgrounds working with a distinctly diverse approach: photography, installation pieces and works on paper. The unexpected fusion of each artist’s practice leads to a metaphorical understanding of the concept uprooted. The exhibition celebrated the not-yet possibilities when something or someone is rooted out from its familiar locations.
Private view: 29th May 2019, 6-9pm
Dates: 30 May - 2 June, 12-6pm
Location: Arts Hub Gallery. 509 Creekside, Deptford, London SE8 4SA
Tell us about Uprooted.an.exhibition. Who does the group show consist of and have you all studied photography? We are an evolving group of six female artists from different cultural backgrounds, where photography is at the core of what we do. The Uprooted exhibition will consist of a diverse approach including, photography, installation pieces and works on paper. We all studied MA Photography at University of the Arts London in 17/18.
Who or what motivates members to continue making new work? Our practice is research driven, so this sparks ideas and experimentation. We support one another to activate momentum to try things out and create a safe space to celebrate our achievements and our failures.
How did Uprooted.an.exhibition come to the surface? What were the initial ideas and inspirations? We wanted to create a group of women to support one another in the next phase of our artistic journeys post studying a Masters. We wanted our work to be seen beyond the UAL network, to create and curate something that we had full control over and to try things we weren't able to do within an educational institution. We were inspired by the common threads running through our works and wanted to build a show around the unexpected fusion of each other’s practice which leads to the metaphorical understanding of the concept uprooted.
What is the group’s biggest achievement to date? This is our first exhibition together. Watch this space…
Individually, we are busy exhibiting elsewhere including, Photo London, Arles in France, Thomassen Gallery in Sweden and The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle.
What's the main goal for Uprooted.an.exhibition? The exhibition celebrates the not-yet possibilities when something or someone is rooted out from it’s familiar location. We hope that each person that comes to the show will find something that resonates with them when thinking about the concept behind uprooted.
How can photographers get involved in what you do? Anyone is welcome to come along to the private view on 29th May between 6.00-9.00pm and the exhibition will remain open till the 2nd June, so do come along and say hi. The majority of the artists should be around most days too. Otherwise you can e-mail us firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Instagram @uprooted.an.exhibition to get in touch.
Give one tip to new photography graduates. Perseverance. Things can take time. Our show has been 6 months in the making due to a few hiccups and hurdles, particularly in finding a suitable, affordable and available space in London.
What does the future have in store for the group? We want to progress and expand our individual practices, collaborate with other artists and engage with the local community in practical ways.
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. Here we present you with our final runner-up!
Fiona Filipidis was born in Paris and later studied for a BA in Photography in France before moving to study for an MA at London College of Communication. We've interviewed Fiona here about the series To make a prairie.
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.
Will revery alone really do if bees are few? As much as I love to daydream, I’m afraid the answer is a resounding, gut-wrenching ‘NO’. Bees are crucial to the continuation of human life. But our impact on the environment through the misuse of insecticides, added to the proliferation of pests and diseases and loss of habitat, is threatening the survival of this mighty insect. When bees have access to good nutrition, so do we – you can thank them for one in three bites of food you eat – and yet every batch of pollen has at least six pesticides in it.
From poetry to politics, religion to architecture, the honey bee has managed to waggle-dance itself into every nook and cranny of the human world. Our relationship with the bee is one that spans thousands of years, and I have attempted to synthesise it in one single book.
I divided this book into 6 chapters, each one edited in a specific way: a piece of writing is preceded by a full-page image and followed by a selection of images in relation to the text. The full-page images are of the stormy skies that descended over London on 16th October 2017, when hurricane Ophelia made her way to our shores. All I could hear and read at the time was “It’s the end of the world!” and I couldn’t help but find a parallel with what could potentially happen if bees were to become extinct. The texts are a mix of personal life experiences and detailed knowledge about the honey bee and its history in relation to us.
The imagery is a mix of found artefacts and my own photographs. Mingling the past with the present is my way of showing our constant and ever-growing relationship with the honey bee. My hope is that there is something for everyone in this book; if a teenager were to pick it up and see a photo of Beyoncé, I would love for it to peak their curiosity and push them to do a little bit of digging.
This project is more relevant now than ever. Every day, news articles emerge with ever-growing alarming headlines about bees and insects in general. We humans hold the fate of the wee honey bee in our millions of hands. By some unimaginable, intangible natural power, we have been given the gift of life, and it is our duty to make sure all living entities that share our cosmos continue on the path they were meant to take.
Can you introduce yourself? What and where did you study? What's your motto? I am a 28 year-old multicultural photographer who grew up in the leafy suburbs of Paris, France. My dad is half-French, half-Greek and my mum is half-English, half-Scottish. I have Portuguese relatives and grew up surrounded by friends from all over the globe, which I feel all greatly contributed to my openness and curiosity for the world.
I studied for a BA in Photography in Paris before moving to the UK to pursue an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication, from which I graduated this past January.
I have never had to think about a motto before, but maybe “laughter is the best medicine”! I love a good chuckle.
Give us an overview of your work. What themes do you like to explore? My most recent projects are all related to nature and the environment in one way or another. Prior to To make a prairie, I was working on an image/text concept book called El Dorado which deals with the notion of gold in its broadest of meanings, whether it be physical or purely metaphorical, and What do you want to be when you grow up? which portrays our desire to reconnect with nature through a humorous, albeit slightly strange, depiction of my fantasized mother/daughter relationship with Phoebe, my favourite houseplant.
I always try to add an element of humour or levity to my projects and my writing, as I have come to realise that it helps people react to and interact with my work on a different level. I believe that you don’t always have to show the negative aspects of any given situation in order to bring awareness to it. I find the idea of talking about important issues contrasted with an underlying light-hearted tone to be a very interesting one that I would love to push further.
I recently came across an article written by Tim Davis on photogeliophobia, or the fear of funny photography, in which he states that, “The history of photography’s overall overseriousness starts to feel like a first date that can’t laugh at the ketchup he’s spilled in his lap.” And the combination of spilt ketchup and the noise the bottle makes while doing so is more often than not quite amusing.
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? Getting your work out there is the tricky part upon graduating, as you want to use the momentum you’ve gathered throughout the year to propel you and keep pushing for your work to be seen. Photograd is the ideal platform to start, as you’re only a graduate once (or twice). I have been following the website for years now and have always been amazed by the quality of the photographic projects you choose to publish, and feel humbled to be in such great company. I am also excited whenever I come across new platforms such as Loupe Magazine, as I believe there can never be enough websites and magazines to showcase emerging talent. So the combination of both seemed perfect!
My main piece of advice would be to keep applying to calls and competitions, even if the constant rejections can cause you to lose hope (which I have lost on many occasions, but keeps returning again and again). I find being organised to also be very useful; I have monthly lists organised by closing dates on my desktop so that I know when I need to apply for calls, residencies, competitions, grants, and what to send.
How did this series come to the surface? Why did you decide to make work around our relationship with bees? It was all very coincidental, really, as most projects usually are! I was chatting with one of my tutors from LCC, Morag Livingstone, about what I could work on next when she, quite bluntly, asked me, “What pisses you off and what brings you joy?”. I realised there and then that a natural theme underlined all of my answers, and she saw my eyes light up when I told her about hives being kept on rooftops in the middle of Paris. I had also, like many other people, received dozens of email petitions to “Save the Bees” but had never given them much thought. And I had been struck by a photograph that was doing the rounds on Facebook at the time, showing what the fruit and veg aisle of a supermarket would look like if bees were to become extinct. So I started my research and within a couple of days that was it, I was hooked, all I could think of were bees, bees, bees. In my book, I quote British beekeeper R. O. B. Manley who defines bee fever as “a form of insanity from which you never really recover”, and to my great delight I think I’ve caught the bug, too.
The outcome of To make a prairie is a photobook. Describe your book and particular layout of images. I divided To make a prairie into 6 chapters, each edited in a specific way: a piece of writing is preceded by a full-page image and followed by a selection of images in relation to the text. The full-page images are of the stormy skies that descended over London last October, when hurricane Ophelia made her way over here and people kept saying that it felt like the end of the world; I couldn’t help but find a parallel with what could potentially happen if bees were to become extinct. The texts are a mix of personal life experiences and detailed knowledge about the honey bee and its history in relation to us. And the pictures are a mix of found archival imagery and my own photographs. The image pairings are often comical and bounce off one another as I wanted to constantly excite the reader’s eye and not let it become accustomed to one type of image. My hope is that there is something for everyone in this book; if a teenager were to pick it up and see a photo of Beyoncé, I would love for it to pique their curiosity and push them to do a little bit of digging. As for the cover, the bee drawing was created by my cousin’s 5-year-old daughter, Caitlin.
Was it important that you executed this work in the form of a photobook? Yes, I knew from the start that the final form of this project would be a book. I am an avid photobook reader, collector and admirer. I spend a good amount of time looking at sequencing, layouts, papers, binding techniques and feel genuine joy when I come across a book which excites both my eyes and my fingers! I had always wanted to make a book from start to finish, from the image making to the editing to the design of it, and saw this project as the perfect opportunity to do so.
What are your future plans? I am currently trying to publish, or self-publish, To make a prairie, as well as working on a zine about a trip I took to California in February. In about a month’s time I will be doing a 3-week artist residency in northern Italy with Ardesia Projects and Jest, a photography gallery in Turin, which I am very excited about. And I will forever be working on researching bees in order to fully live up to my “bee-lady” image!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We recently invited Stephen Shaw to be a regular blog contributor at Photograd as he undertakes his MA in Photography at Lancaster University. In this post Stephen introduces us to his previous work and talks about his goals for his MA course.
We're looking forward to finding out more about Stephen and his work in his monthly blog posts right here on Photograd.
My name is Stephen Shaw I was raised on Grange Park with my Nan and Granddad, a council estate in Blackpool, nicknamed strange, where one has to mind ones fookin’ back.
I am a published social documentary, photographic artist and experimental writer who has just recently graduated with a first class honors degree in photography at Blackpool and the Fylde College.
The eye of the beholder rarely only sees beauty. If really looking, it will instead see despair, frailty, fear, loss, and a tremendous amount of imperfection. These are the things that I direct my lens towards: the human, the “raw and real” of life and society. I don’t seek to glamorize my subjects or their environment; I observe, assess, calculate and look, with declared empathy, from a distance, which is not only necessary to this photographic genre, but has the value of preserving dignity while maintaining the viewers curiosity for more.
Being passionate in documentary, it is always the little known subcultures on the edges of our society I am drawn to, these excite me, creating a beautiful document from danger is a great attraction. I am a deep constant thinker who always works to a deeply focused highly symbolic narrative within a street/documentary area alongside an ethnographic approach.
My photographs always contain the unexpected, which I feel is a very important part of a good image and a factor that gives me great satisfaction.
I also always collect artefacts and record live audio with my sitters to increase my knowledge, build a rapport and grow a sense of personal creativity and subject aura that helps to drive me. My current practice researches the photographic representation of social justice and class, alongside social mobility and memorialism within my own environment. It is driven by intimate pain and so far contains four main projects consisting of Queens town. The Last 7.
This project was focused on the last 7 people living on a recently demolished Blackpool high-rise flats. The images and sound document the way of life of these local inhabitants with a strong narrative of drugs, violence and suicide.
These images are created in my own environment, Grange Park in Blackpool. It tells a story around its inhabitants regarding lives tragically cut short on the estate with a strong narrative made up of omens, portents and superstition.
This is piece of visual recording and storytelling that reaches into the depths of normalcy, certain to find its manifold inversions. With carefully calibrated doses of everydayness and disillusion, The Gift is a story of life and death, of desire and the inability to avoid it; a story of self-destruction brought on by the brutal honesty of repeatedly failed attempts at self-fulfillment.
I empathise with so many aspects of such vulnerability, as it is a personal reflection of myself, my 'black mirror', which I have had to endure.
I’m now, studying an MA at Central Lancashire University so this is my main concern at the moment. I wish to use it as a platform for a gallery exhibition and zeen publication around the old and new projects I am currently involved in. I am also looking for publishers hoping for my photo books to be published on a larger scale.
Arrival is a new project I am throwing myself into on the MA. It is set in well known train stations and council estates around the UK, I don’t want to give too much away just yet; you could see more on it in the near future and view my work here on my website.
Welcome to the second edition of our 'On the Radar' blog series. On an irregular basis we'll bring you some interesting stories and events from the photography industry. If you want to feature in the next post, simply email us using the heading 'On the Radar' with your information and we'll squeeze in the most exciting stories.
As always, Source are celebrating brand new graduates. We're excited to find out who has been selected by this years panel of judges! Find out more here.
You can also find out more about this years University of Westminster MA graduates who undertook an Instagram Takeover for us. Head over to Instagram here.
Date: Saturday, 9 September 2017
Time: 1pm - 5pm
Free, book your place*
Are you a recent photography graduate? Come along to Stills for a nice afternoon of talks and discussions about life after graduation. Hear from early career photographers about their experiences of graduation and how they are shaping their careers.
Our aim with this event is to give new graduates the chance to hear from people a bit further along about their work and life afterward graduation. We will also have information from various organisations about the kind of support that they offer.
So book your free place, come along, meet other new graduates and take in some interesting talks.
The award comprises a bursary of £1,250 for an early-career photographer in the UK to complete a photography project, plus £1,150-worth of printing at Metro Imaging and support towards industry and public exposure.
Judges for the award include Karen McQuaid, senior curator at the Photographersʼ Gallery, Matthew Tucker, UK Picture Editor at BuzzFeed, Professor Steve Macleod, photographer and creative director at Metro Imaging, and photography critic Jennifer Thatcher (Art Monthly, ARTnews).
The award was created in memory of Rebecca Vassie, a British photographer and photojournalist who died suddenly, aged 30, while on assignment in Uganda in March 2015.
Applicants for the award, who must be either from or based in the UK, are asked to submit a proposal setting out a compelling vision for a photography project around ʻa human story we seldom seeʼ. The deadline for submissions is Friday, 2 October 2017 at 1700 BST. Enter your work here.
Deadline: midnight Monday 18th September
Photograd photographers have submitted work under the theme of 'Exploration and Investigation' and five pieces have been chosen to inspire you, the Pop My Mind community! We would like you to expand on their pieces and show us how you can creatively interpret their photography.
We invite you to explore and investigate the themes of the photographer's work in your own unique medium. You can be inspired by a single photograph, or the whole series, just let us know in your description please.
Twenty five MA students from the University of Westminster will soon showcase their degree projects in central London. The show takes place from Wednesday 23rd August to Tuesday 5th September at Ambika P3 University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS and is open from 12-7pm daily, (closed on bank holiday Monday August 28th). An accompanying symposium, On the Cusp, will take place on Saturday 2nd September 4-6 p.m. Links with all the details you might need are below.
There are two exhibitions within the MA show:
Light into Matter, an exhibition by the Photography Arts course students, presents richly eclectic and striking visual practices pointing to possible futures and histories of photography. These practices emerged from extended research into: lost utopias; emotional abuse; London’s edgelands; living with radioactivity; subjective studies of Hastings; and modelling dancers’ movements.
Out of Dust, is the exhibition by Documentary Photography and Photojournalism students, whose projects advance photography as an exciting and developing medium.
The On the Cusp symposium debates Richard Mosse’s Incoming Exhibition. Sitting on the cusp of art and documentary, Mosse’s work raises pressing questions about the roles of representation, aesthetic values and representation. Speakers include Lewis Bush, Duncan Woolridge, Joy Gregory, Lucy Soutter and David Moore. Symposium tickets are £5 and are available from Eventbrite.
Find out more from the students’ social media sites:
We recently chatted to Arron Hansford, a current MA Photography student at Manchester Metropolitan University, about his education experience, current body of work, and future plans. Continue reading to see what Arron has to say.
Introduction: I am Arron Hansford. I am an artist currently living and working in Manchester. I am studying towards my MA in Photography at Manchester Metropolitan University. I mainly work with photography but my work has included moving image, sound and poetry, it tends to be routed within the confessional art movement, taking inspiration from artists such as Tracy Emin, and Louise Bourgeois, and has explored subjects such as mental health, relationships and self discovery, I like to leave entrances in my work and allow my audience to find their own way into the art, my work has been described as cryptic and emotionally driven, and relies very much on the spontaneity of feeling.
Experience: I completed my BA studies in Photography back in 2012 at Manchester Metropolitan University. I like to be honest with people regarding my experience during my BA, and I can openly admit that I did not take full advantage of my time there. I did come out with a fairly good grade but I feel I was not ready at the time to study for my BA. My understanding and approach to my art at the time was not mature, and this does show from the work I produced during my time there. MMU (Manchester Metropolitan University) is fantastic for nurturing creativity, but as with many things in life you get out of it what you put in.
I started my MA in September 2016. Following my BA I had bounced from one unsatisfying job to another, but I was still pursuing my passion for art on the side. Over the years following my BA my understanding and appreciation for art had began to mature, along with my practice, and in 2016 I felt ready again to pursue my art full time, feeling comfortable with MMU from my BA days I decided to re enrol.
Upon starting my MA I immediately loved the freedom that came with the course; being able to set your own brief from initial research to the planning of the final exhibition has allowed me to work on my own terms and completely in my own style. Alongside this I have massively enjoyed being back and working with like minded people; we meet every Wednesday to discuss our progress together and I’ve found the consistent advice and feedback from my peers to be crucial in my development as an artist. My MA has been very self driven as you have to manage your own time and encourage yourself to work which helps build professional thinking.
Our current timetable is quite intense. We have 1 year (2 years part time) to work on a single project which will be our final major piece. Placed throughout this year are 2 extra modules; a professional platform module (which allows you to chose an outside work placement) and an optional unit (optional units from health and wellbeing to archival work, encouraging collaboration with other artists).
Work and outcome: My current piece for my MA is entitled Father Please and is an exploration of my difficult relationship with my father, I knew that I wanted to undertake this project before applying for my MA so I used the concept as the written proposal for my course application. Since starting on the course the work has evolved so much, and in a positive way is almost unrecognisable from my original concept, and I have been encouraged regularly to try new approaches and ideas by my tutor that I otherwise wouldn’t have considered. The subject matter for my series as with a lot of my work, is highly personal, and my tutors and peers have treated the project with respect and understanding.
Alongside my series of photographic images for Father Please is a selection of sound bites. These sounds are from the breaking down of the image using a programme called audacity. When the image has been broken down the raw data becomes audible. Experimenting with sound is something that I had only slight experience with, but I have been collaborating with the sound department at MMU and they have been more than happy to help and to share their knowledge.
The work so far has lead to deeper theoretical thinking in regards to how we construct photographic images, and how we ‘place’ messages within them. I am currently conducting research into steganography and the parallels it draws photography and art in general. Upon completing my MA in September 2017 I wish to pursue a PHD, but may possibly go through the route of an MFA, the idea of which is being encouraged by my peers and tutors.
Artist Statement: Father Please is a photographic and audio exploration of a struggling relationship between a father and a son. My relationship with my father has always been a difficult one; we struggle to connect on an emotional level, so much so that at some points in our lives we have appeared almost like strangers. Throughout my life my father has had a habit of giving me items that he no longer needs or wants, and I have seen this as an attempt to build bridges and an attempt to communicate on his part, however over the years I have found the whole process to be stifling and it has seemed to build bigger barriers and further break down any communication.
The images for Father Please are performances, staged using the transitional objects passed down to me, the objects are juxtaposed in such a way as to obscure the son and to halt any attempt at communication, and in effect are gagging him. Objects are something that I have used extensively within my work both in the past and currently; I feel that everyday objects carry a certain power when it comes to explaining situations and lives.
The use of sound comes from the need for me to give a voice to the character within the images, and to use that voice to try and reach out to his father and be heard for the first time, it relies on the intonation of the sounds to carry a message of desperation and need.
Future: Father Please will be exhibited at Manchester Metropolitan University in September 2017. I will continue to work on the series up until then and also continue my research into steganography and the communicatory power of photography and art. I will then begin to apply for a PHD position within the university for which MMU currently has funding. After this I would like to begin lecturing in photography and art.
Overall I am so glad that I took time out between my MA and BA, it gave me time to develop personally as an artist, I think sometime it's very easy to become controlled by an academic environment. It's good to know who you are as an artist and where you want to go before settling into such a serious commitment.
The Traces exhibition showcases the work of MA Photography students from the University of Sunderland and contains a thematic similarity whilst showing a diverse set of approaches. Held at the Priestman Gallery in Sunderland with the Private Viewing held on Thursday 13th of October, each artist produced work with aspects of loss, memory and relationships, examining the traces we leave.
Above; Traces installation images
In The Entropy Garden, Mara Acoma examines the idea of a relationship with a place forming the embodiment of memories and future dreams in an external locus for consciousness. Considering the garden itself as a collaborator from the act of creating the initial images through post-production into objects by the submersion of the prints into the garden pond. The exhibition installation focused on the emotional response aspects of the project and incorporated video featuring birdsong from the garden.
Geoffrey Bradford considers the place of work itself along with objects and the traces of human presence. Rather than viewing his work as having a specific end point of resolution he focuses instead on how each piece of work sets up new questions and further opportunities; ‘what if’ or ‘supposing’ and ‘how would that work’? An approach reflected by his project title of ‘building works’, which shares a variety of objects, created from 3 dimensional constructs, to imaginary machines and transparencies for the visitor to create their own images.
Lauren Sadie Marsden explores the possibility of what might have been in her project Ginny. After the passing of her father left a partially finished roll of film in his camera, she explores what might have been by stepping into his shoes to complete the 24 exposures. Exploring the idea of a life journey interrupted through the conventions of the family album and the role of the photograph in the making of memories from the fragments of daily life.
Maria Ferrie expresses the discomfort and psychological implications involved in experiencing derealisation and depersonalisation in The Island With No Sunshine. Photographs are used as a diaristic tool through which the author investigated her own perception. Alongside therapy, this allowed her to discover repressed emotions to slowly get back in touch with herself and her pain. She explored her Spanish/English hybrid identity and family history while investigating the relationship between loss, memory and identity.
In A Day That Transcends Tomorrow, Vikki Scott reflects the fleeting motion of life, and the melancholy of seeing things in their current state for the last time. The Polaroid photograph serves as a fossilisation of a present moment in time, it is the impression of that moment embedded and preserved in petrified form. The fossilised state of the polaroid photograph shares a painful paradox with the evanescence of memory and time, and that one day these photographic objects will represent nothing but a fragment of a moment – achingly familiar, yet deeply alienating.
Emma Jane Biggins considers the emotional and psychological aspects of alcoholism in Beneath The Surface. Examining sufferers’ internal anguish and feelings of low self-worth through the use of familiar domestic iconography to reveal the turmoil and trauma. The work considers the loneliness and isolation pushing towards a numbing of emotions with alcohol rather than simply a lack of self-control.
The Form of Possibility is a group exhibition of final year bodies of work by graduating students of MA Photography and MFA Photographic Arts from the University of Plymouth in 2016. It began with a private view on the 22nd September on the second floor of the Scott Building, Plymouth University, Drakes Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA and runs Monday to Friday until the 13th October 2016.
The bodies of work demonstrate the variety in the interpretation and use of the photographic medium in the contemporary, ranging from personal explorations, to investigations of place, and enquiries into the materiality of the medium itself.
Liz-Ann Vincent-Merry's series is part of an ongoing project which looks at 1,200 identity photographs from south east France, dating between 1900 and 1970. The work is an exploration of the mnemonic powers of these portraits in her quest to recover a life that has vanished.
Lucy Bentham considers traditional aesthetics and the psychological theory of Escape, taking a deeply personal approach to the role of the female artist desiring to escape from the domestic space, by venturing into the land.
The work of Robert Darch adopts a style of documentary realism while constructing an imaginary place through the mapping of a learnt culture onto direct experience.
Carly Seller’s work is a meditation on experience and embodiment from paths that invite us to move along their lines, as well as consideration of the camera having the ability to define, abstract and extend the range of visual perception.
Katie Lowe uses a custom-built, lensless, camera to create single images on whole rolls of transparency film along her favourite stretch of beach along the North Coast of Cornwall.
Michelle Reynolds’ work consists of diptychs comparing and contrasting the landscapes and cityscapes of Europe and Kansas, opening up a dialogue in relation to the idea of place and one’s connection to where they came from.
David Gibson’s work explores profound personal and subjective moments of solitary psychological reverie in the landscape.
Gabby Laurent uses an absurdist approach to comment on a history of art practices such as self-portraiture and the photographic relationship to sculpture.
James Waterfield deals with the issue of loneliness through undertaking bicycle journeys, pausing and thinking between journeys to complete a bookwork which, in one sense, is a kind of personal advertisement.
Sian Davey presents the documentation of an awkward stage in the life of her daughter, Martha, as Martha transitions from child to young woman.
Glauco Canalis’ work is a documentary study of San Berillo, an Island in the heart of Catania: A site once known as the biggest open-air brothel in Europe.
It is evident from this group exhibition alone that the multiplicity found within the photographic medium in the contemporary, led by the range of the artists, is vast. Even in a world in which mass imagery can sometimes overwhelm our visual senses there are still cases, such as within this exhibition, that clearly declare that the photographic medium is alive and well, and will continue to evolve.
It has been a pleasure to be a part of this diverse cohort and I can’t wait to see what our successors produce this year.
MFA Photographic Arts students are: Sian Davey, Glauco Canalis and Robert Darch.
MA Photography students are: Lucy Bentham, Michelle Reynolds, Katie Lowe, Liz-Ann Vincent-Merry, James Waterfield, Gabby Laurent, David Gibson and Carly Seller.
Some of the works from this exhibition will also be displayed as part of a faculty exhibition in the Peninsula Arts Gallery, Plymouth, in December.
- Lucy Bentham