Pagy Wicks interviews Ben Milne

To accompany the new edition of PGZ, we approached industry experts to select from submissions received a photography graduate they would like to interview for Photograd. Here we have Semi Magazine founder Pagy Wicks interviewing University of Gloucestershire graduate Ben Milne.


Image from the series  Over the Water

Image from the series Over the Water

Pagy Wicks: Really loved Over the Water. How did you come about deciding to document the differences in economic wealth in Liverpool and Birkenhead? What fueled you to create the photobook?

Ben Milne: Thank you. Well technically I was fuelled by my university deadline, haha, but really I wanted to make a piece of work that had some familiarity and discoverability to it. I was born in Birkenhead then lived within ten miles of it growing up so it just felt right to learn more about an area that is close to home rather than try and tell a story about wealth in a community that hasn’t really got a place in my soul.

PW: Ah right, so this was for university initially? I really like that last line, deciding to document a place that has a relationship with you the photographer. What is your relationship with Liverpool? Did your inside perspective reveal any new insights into the wealth divide, or even Birkenhead in general, you maybe hadn't noticed before?

Image from the series  Over the Water

Image from the series Over the Water

BM: Yeah I made the work for my final major project. My relationship with Liverpool is quite simple, it’s just a place that is fun to visit but in terms of the project it’s got a very visible contrast within such a short space, that being the river Mersey. That contrast is down to a few things, job opportunities, scale, the city status itself but EU funding plays a huge role. Liverpool’s waterfront (as viewed from Birkenhead) was hugely funded by the European Union, while Birkenhead gets some funding it just doesn’t carry the same weight. 

Having a little inside perspective was revealing in the sense that it seemed to allow people to talk more openly with me, not so much about their own current opinion on Birkenhead but more of the pathos they have towards the past. The lady pictured behind the bar is 72 years old and she recounted with a sense of joy about “the good old days” when the streets were full and the Mersey ferry was not just a tourist vessel but a business commute, for many. Things move on, that’s a given, but it feels as if a replacement never came for Birkenhead. It’s almost been forgotten.

Image from the series  Over the Water

Image from the series Over the Water

PW: The image of the old woman behind the bar is almost poetic, it's one of the very memorable images from the book for me. What sort of questions do you hope arise from a reader about the distribution of wealth illustrated by the juxtaposition of Birkenhead and Liverpool? Particularly in relation to the UK leaving the EU?

BM: Thanks very much, I like that one too. She was cool. 

I hope it raises questions about the importance of communities that experience loss and the need for them to be rebuilt in some sort of beneficial way. The model is literally there, 1000 metres away in Liverpool. Not to say that Liverpool doesn’t have its own issues with community neglect but in terms of two waterfronts the importance of European funding is there in the Albert Dock, not only to see but to enjoy. The fact that Birkenhead voted to Leave is no surprise as it’s not really benefited from the crop. It does however highlight a possible future for the UK without the EU. Investment will have to come from alternate means and the question is will those means come? And will they ever see an interest in Birkenhead the same way the EU saw an interest in Liverpool?

Image from the series  Over the Water

Image from the series Over the Water

PW: Thanks so much Ben, really excited to see the work develop in the future. The UK feels very divided at the moment, hopefully our conversation, between two people from either side of the coin, will spark something.

BM: Thanks very much, that was fun. It’s great what you’re doing. I look forward to reading the other interviews, especially the leave side ones, they should be interesting... 

A catch up Feature with Christina Stohn

Tell us how this body of work came to the surface. When did it begin and what were your inspirations? Höllental und Himmelreich, which translates as ‘Valley of Death and Kingdom of Heaven’, is about tradition, folklore and religious beliefs in the Black Forest, a region in south west Germany. I grew up there, but then moved away for a decade to study photography in London and Bremen. I began the project under the working title Paradise Lost during my studies at the University of Westminster around 2012. When I returned to my home country, I had the urge to document these once familiar surroundings based on a feeling of distance and displacement. I used a minimalist approach in which landscapes void of people, and captured in foggy conditions, created a sense of mystery. At that time I drew my main inspiration from Hiroshi Sugimoto and Nadav Kander. As part of later research, I was inspired by a number of photo books relating to the Black Forest, especially Interieurs by Thomas Ruff, Einmal im Jahr by Axel Hoedt and Cuckoo Clock and Cherry Cake by Anne-Sophie Stolz. However, I did not set out to create a body of work in the style of any specific photographer.

From the series  Paradise Lost

From the series Paradise Lost

Did Höllental und Himmelreich further your decision to study in Bremen? I remember seeing the exhibition Landmark: the Fields of Photography at London’s Somerset House in 2013. This impressive show provided an overview of 21st century landscape photography featuring more than 70 international artists. However, one specific piece of work resonated deeply with me: Heimat_31, Schwarzwald by Peter Bialobrzeski (2004). It showed a vast snow-covered scenery in the Black Forest with tiny human figures populating the foreground. I instantly felt a personal affiliation with it, bringing back memories of winter trips in my childhood. This imagery made me strive further to make a real project in the Black Forest, my native soil. I distanced myself from empty landscapes and became interested in the relationship between people and place, a new venture for me. Then I found out that Peter Bialobrzeski, a professor of photography, ran the Master’s studio ‘Culture and Identity’ together with the graphic design professor, Andrea Rauschenbusch. This studio combined both my interests: photography and design and so I decided to leave London to study at the University of the Arts in Bremen.

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Tell us about the Black Forest. Why is this location important to you? The project results from my personal experience of growing up and living in the Black Forest. When I came to live in London I began to see things I had not previously been aware of. The Black Forest is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Germany. Tourist clichés and ‘Heimat’ films carry associations of an idyllic life in unspoilt landscapes and nature. I have always been annoyed about this idea of an ‘all-encompassing idyll’ and never connected to it. So my series is a bit of a challenge to everyone expecting these kinds of stereotypes. Even though high-tech companies are located in the area, village life is steeped in tradition across the generations. Seasonal festivals and religious processions are celebrated and centuries-old customs show no signs of being forgotten. These customs have also become commercialised and established for tourism and I find it interesting to pose questions concerning their significance within our more plural society.

From the series  Höllental und Himmelreich

From the series Höllental und Himmelreich

What have you learnt from making this work? To be honest, the journey has not always been comfortable. I have had quite a few arguments about both content and aesthetics of my work. Over the years my image making process has developed. I now follow specific methods and I am really happy that I found a visual vocabulary to express my views. I have started to trust my instincts, no matter what others say. It is impossible to please everyone anyway! Producing this work has also taught me to be patient, as it has already taken a few years of going back and forth. When it comes to editing, this process is quite challenging. I have to be ruthless to edit my images and it takes time for the narrative to start fitting together. Seeing the work progress and strengthen is very rewarding.

Installation shot of  Höllental und Himmelreich

Installation shot of Höllental und Himmelreich

Tell us about your written thesis which accompanies this body of work. What was your main focus and why? In my thesis I critically analyse the German term ‘Heimat’. It is a complicated construct, which can translate into English as 'home', 'homeland' or 'native region'. The notion of ‘Heimat’ combines the ideas of a place of origin, a sense of belonging and identity. However, the concept carries both positive as well as negative connotations.

I took one semester off in Bremen to attend classes at the University of Freiburg given by the cultural anthropologist Werner Mezger, a specialist in south-western German regional culture. The university library offered extensive research material on the term, which is centuries old. My goal was to reach a historical understanding and examine its varied cultural manifestations. Nevertheless, after a year of researching the idea of ‘Heimat’, the negative aspects of the term still troubled me.

In my thesis I refer to academic sources by writers, scholars and politicians and juxtapose their definitions, contrasting one quotation with another. The introductory quotation is by author Martin Walser (1968). It reads: “Heimat, das ist sicher der schönste Name für Zurückgebliebenheit.”, which translates as: “Heimat is certainly the most beautiful name for having stayed behind.” But I enquire whether the term is still relevant in an increasingly globalised world. The plural form ‘Heimaten’ is rarely used. Given the increase in mobility and migration, I query if the term still refers to one specific location.

From the series  Höllental und Himmelreich

From the series Höllental und Himmelreich

'Heimat' sounds really interesting and you've mentioned it can't fully be translated into English. Can you describe to us what connotations this word has and how it relates to your work? ‘Heimat’ has spatial, political, social, cultural and emotional connotations. Etymologically, the term is based on the Germanic term ‘haima’, meaning village or home. However, over time it has acquired multiple and problematic associations. In the 18th century, ‘Heimat’ was conceptualised as a space of identity and origin. Throughout the Romantic period ‘Heimat’ echoed a sentimental longing for homeland. The ‘blood-and-soil’ propaganda by the Nazis brought ‘Heimat’ into dispute. Most recently, the term has experienced a renaissance in the political field: the Home Office has been renamed the ‘Heimatministerium’.

In my work I have always questioned how to approach regional customs. Structures, which help to create community, like tradition and local practices seem to contribute to the stabilisation of a sense of home. Factors like language and religion form collective ties. These are symbols of togetherness but also delineation. On the one hand, repetitive customs serve to preserve tradition and culture, but on the other hand they are from a past era. ‘Heimat’ is supposed to be familiar to us. Because of my experiences abroad, my perspective on the Black Forest region has become one of alienation from these once familiar surroundings. Now ‘Heimat’ becomes something artificial, like a stage set in a theatre.

From the series  Höllental und Himmelreich

From the series Höllental und Himmelreich

What are your plans for the near future? Short term, in April I will join my former fellow students and professors from the University of the Arts in Bremen on a field trip to Sarajevo. As every year, each of us will work on a different concept on the city and we will then publish an artist book from all our work.

I cannot see myself finishing Höllental und Himmelreich in the near future. There are still more locations and events to go to. However, I have got a lot of material already so it is my goal to make a second edition of the book. The first edition as part of my graduate work was quite expensive to produce so I would like to make a different version, which can be made available to a wider audience.

I exhibited a selection of images during our degree show. Given the opportunity, I would like to show the series in its entirety, so I am hoping to have a solo exhibition.

I have currently started developing a new long-term body of work in the region of Freiburg.

Other than that, I am looking into grants and artist residencies. I would love to have the opportunity to make more work abroad.

I am splitting my time between personal projects and commissioned work and am currently working towards getting more editorial stories as a freelance photographer.


The Full Picture: The stories behind the photographs - A Kickstarter Campaign

A photo book where photographers choose one of their own images and reveal the story behind their chosen image - managed and curated by Tom Carpenter, founder of LeftaBit.


My name is Tom Carpenter and I curate a blog called LeftaBit. I have recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for a project called The Full Picture. The idea for The Full Picture came about when listening a photographer speak at an event in London in 2015. This particular photographer told such incredible stories, not necessarily about the image itself, but instead she told the backstories to how the images came about.

After that event I was intrigued to find out if other photographers had similar stories behind their photographs. As the stories came through from the photographers, some of the stories made me laugh others made me question how they had made it to the point of getting the image at all. One thing that stood out to me with the stories was that a lot of the photographers had had to come through some sort of adversity and at times fear or crippling self doubt to capture that final image.  

This is something that really resonated with me, because I think we’ve all been in a position where you are in a unfamiliar place with a camera in your hands and you are having an internal battle, what am I doing here, why do I need to get this photo and who else actually cares. We compound these thoughts afterwards by going onto social media and spending hours looking at other people’s so called perfect lives or perfect photographs, and in turn piling more and more pressure onto ourselves.

The Full Picture for me highlighted in a way that the photographers I admire most also have those days where nothing seems to go as planned, where they are in a situation where fear of self doubt has them questioning what they do. This project highlights that in a small way, but it also shows that with perseverance and hard work you can get that one shot that makes it all worth while.

You can still pledge towards The Full Picture up until Thursday 4th April by clicking here.

Introducing Peak Imaging - film processing, digital printing, photobooks, and more.

 
 
 

Peak Imaging is an independent photographic laboratory and print company based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Vastly experienced in both traditional film and the digital arena, their dedicated workforce has an amazing, average service time of 22 years.

Working alongside some very famous household names across the UK and Europe and more recently the Far East, producing wall art products and prints for museums, boardrooms, homes and photographers in general, Peak Imaging’s reputation is well documented and long established. 

Co-director Cathrine Lee has seen the company adapt and re-shape to the ever changing marketplace. “Customer service and product involvement is key to our success and we firmly believe that time invested in project development and consultation is vital for end result satisfaction. Our clients usually know what they want to achieve but often, not how to achieve it or more commonly, what is possible. From straight reprints of digital media or film to large format displays on PVC and acrylic, we cover a vast array of display products and services, working to strict guidelines and tolerances”.

Processing film through C41, E6 and Black and White lines all day, 5 days a week, all machinery is the best dip and dunk technology for a scratch-free environment. Slide mounting and film scanning still play a big part in photographic projects whilst the emailing of images from film is becoming very popular too.

Cathrine continues “As a laboratory of some 43 years in the business, we have always invested heavily in new machinery and ideas and currently employ both photographic and giclee printing techniques. We find that both have a place in domestic and commercial display forums and that it is sometimes wise to allow the subject matter of a piece to dictate the media and print format. Metallic and high gloss papers are very popular at the moment but much of the traditional photographic work pieces still demand rag papers and fine art materials”.

Photobooks are currently a favourite format for family enjoyment and advertising and Peak Imaging’s LifeBook product comes in many shapes and sizes to suit the project in hand. From weddings and world trips to coffee table promotions and antique collections. All stories can be told and cherished in the pages of a “LifeBook”.  Explore the possibilities and creation software at peak-imaging.com.

10,000 sq. ft. of production space has been carefully designed to create efficient workflow whilst housing darkrooms, conference facilities and design studios.  All of this and full product display can be visited at the Holbrook Avenue site.


Find out more about Peak Imaging and what they do here. You can even give them a follow on Facebook or Twitter.

Robert Darch 'The Moor' - pre-order now

Plymouth University graduate Robert Darch’s The Moor has been published by Another Place Press and is currently available to pre-order here.

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The Moor depicts a fictionalised dystopian future situated on the bleak moorland landscapes of Dartmoor. Drawing on childhood memories of Dartmoor alongside influences from contemporary culture, the narrative references local and universal mythology to give context but suggests something altogether more unknown. The realisation of this dystopian future is specifically in response to a perceived uncertainty of life in the modern world and a growing disengagement with humanitarian ideals. The Moor portrays an eerie world that shifts between large open vistas, dark forests, makeshift dwellings, uncanny visions and isolated figures.

The sense of an on-going narrative is reinforced by the reoccurrence of characters, often appearing on edge, in peril or distressed. The inherent wildness of the landscape heightens this fragile sense of existence, with the suggestion of an unseen presence adding to the isolation and tension.

The fiction is grounded within the landscapes of Dartmoor, using found locations instead of overt staging, artificial lights orconstructed sets. Shifting between pseudo documentary and constructed photography the Moor blurs that liminal space between fiction and reality.

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Images from  The Moor

Images from The Moor

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Photograd Open 2018 - showcasing photobooks and zines

Photograd will be part of Photomonth this year with an exhibition at London Metropolitan University from Friday 16th to Thursday 29th November. We’ve already released the 30 photographers who will be exhibited, which you can find here, but in this post we introduce you to the 15 photographers whose book or zine we will be displaying in the space.

Harry Crown
Judit Sánchez
Daniella Gott
Daniel Harrington
Billie Blossom
Holly Farndell
Krasimira Butseva
Stan Dickinson
Scott Perry and Zoey Barton
Jasper Jones
Arran Davis
Amy Pezzin
Jake Kehar Gill
Callum Beaney
Charlotte Bond

University of Westminster graduate  Jasper Jones  and the series  Scroll

University of Westminster graduate Jasper Jones and the series Scroll

Manchester School of Art graduate  Daniel Harrington  and the series  Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community

Manchester School of Art graduate Daniel Harrington and the series Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community

Falmouth University graduate  Amy Pezzin  and the series  Garden of Extinction

Falmouth University graduate Amy Pezzin and the series Garden of Extinction

University of Westminster graduate  Scott Perry  and the series  Omniscient London

University of Westminster graduate Scott Perry and the series Omniscient London

Falmouth University graduate  Harry Crown  and the series  M A T E O

Falmouth University graduate Harry Crown and the series M A T E O

University of Portsmouth graduate  Krasimira Butseva  and the series  Slices of Red

University of Portsmouth graduate Krasimira Butseva and the series Slices of Red

University of East London graduate  Billie Blossom  and the series  Queer Porn Portraits

University of East London graduate Billie Blossom and the series Queer Porn Portraits

Milda Books presents the photobook "Homeland. The Longest Village in the Country" by Georgs Avetisjans

Milda Books presents the photobook Homeland. The Longest Village in the Country by University of Brighton graduate Georgs Avetisjans at the Photo Publishers Market organised by Brighton Photo Fringe and Photoworks.

Phoenix Brighton, October 20th - 21st. 11am - 5pm.


“Landscapes – actual, remembered or idealized – feed our sense of belonging to whatever place, region or nation that we view as homeland.”

Liz Wells
Homeland. The Longest Village in the Country (2015-2018)
is a multi-layered photographic narrative in a form of a photobook with cross-references like hyperlinks to additionally inserted stories connected to the subjects and landscape. The book is about the village where my Armenian-Greek father once had a dream to build a house for our family, but unfortunately couldn’t finish it as he passed away when I was only 6 months young.

The project explores the sea, the land and memories, how the time affects and changes our sense of a place at the same time serving a nostalgic representation of the village in Latvia - Kaltene and its recent history from World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 via interviews, notes and archival imagery. As the Iron curtain fell, the local economy changed and upon joining the EU in 2004, it changed again. These historical shifts made a huge impact on the society and its dreams, many of which the younger generations have abandoned.

The place is located between the forest and the sea about 100 km northwest of the capital Riga. In the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th century it was the second most productive village in the country as 55 seagoing sailing ships were built there.

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Images from the series  The Longest Village in the Country  by Georgs Avetisjans

Images from the series The Longest Village in the Country by Georgs Avetisjans

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Zine & Photobook Fair 2018

Open Eye Gallery are currently calling for zines and photobooks

Submissions to charlotte.t@openeye.org.uk - deadline Monday 11th June.


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30 JUNE / FREE / 11AM – 4PM

Join Zine-makers, publishers and photographers for a free all-day celebration of rare, hand made and self published books, journals and zines from the North West and beyond. The event will be held on Saturday 30 June from 11am – 4pm in the bright, covered Mann Island atrium space outside of the gallery. This will be a free event open to established publishers and enthusiasts alike and will be a great opportunity to meet with both local and established artists in the publishing community.

To submit, or for more information, get in touch by emailing charlotte.t@openeye.org.uk with “Submission Zine & Photobook Fair” in the email subject. Please make sure to include a PDF of your publication along with a brief text for each book/print including:

  • Contact details
  • Front cover image
  • Content preview
  • Summary/description of work
  • Publication dimensions
  • Number of copies available
  • Retail and trade prices
  • Whether you plan to attend the fair as a seller

Due to the limited space, we may not be able to include all submitted work. To avoid disappointment, please get in touch before Monday 11 June and we will get back to successful applicants by Monday 18 June, when then selection process is complete.

Good luck and let us know if you're making a submission!

More details can be found here.

The second edition of PGZ - open to submissions!

Calling 2018 photography graduates. This one's open to you!


We're looking for 11 photography graduates from UK university courses to be part of the second edition of our zine, PGZ, which will launch Summer 2018.

To submit, email a series of work, 100 word description, university, and website to photograd2018@gmail.com only with the subject 'ZINE'.
Submission deadline: 11th July. Open to 2018 photography graduates from UK courses only.

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A big thank you goes to Spectrum for helping us to bring the second edition of PGZ to life.

Shouldn’t Throw Stones – The View of a Night Watchman

A Photography Exhibition by University of Sunderland graduate Kevin Casey.

From the series  Shouldn't Throw Stones

From the series Shouldn't Throw Stones

SHOULDN’T THROW STONES – The view of a Night Watchman, is the culmination of a two-year project undertaken by artist Kevin Casey. Part documentary photography, part archival re-presentation and part making ends meet, as Casey’s ‘night job’ as an on-site security guard at the former Pilkington Glass Headquarters became his ‘day job’ as an artist, the work presented tells the story of an uncertain future, tense present and captivating past. 

The collection, including C-Type prints, archive film, projections and uncovered artefacts also testifies to the situation that Casey found himself in - part voyeur and part guardian - whilst drawing the viewers’ attention to the vicissitudes of contemporary capitalism and its contested relationship to our recent industrial and manufacturing past. 

Further to the works on display at Alexandra Park, visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to visit selected spaces within the former Pilkington Glass complex, designed by the mid-20th Century Architect, Edwin Maxwell Fry, of Fry and Drew. A short tour will include a visit to the modernist Tower whose Armourclad panels have dominated the skyline of St. Helen’s since the complexes construction in the late 1950s. Avinash Chandra’s back-lit, abstract relief panel of stained, fused glass and Jon Humphrey Spender’s artwork can also be viewed, as well as the panelled lift lobby, former canteen and elements of the landscaped grounds, including the north lake and concrete bridge. 

As much of the site is not normally publicly accessible, the exhibition and short tour provides a rare opportunity to view a Modernist landmark and exhibited materials that possess a deep local and global significance. 

Watch the promotional video here

Images from the series  Shouldn't Throw Stones

Images from the series Shouldn't Throw Stones

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Exhibition Dates: Friday 4 May – Thursday 7 June 

Site Tours are available every Saturday and Sunday for the duration of the exhibition. Additional tours are available on the opening day of the exhibition. 

Free tickets available through Eventbrite

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A book of the project will also be launched on Thursday 3rd May and will be available to purchase at the exhibition and online.

www.shouldntthrowstones.co.uk
#shouldntthrowstones
#theviewofanightwatchman 

Jack Stocker - 'Members Only'

As part of our current Photobook Spotlight we interviewed Graphic Design graduate Jack Stocker about his route into photography and photobook, Members Only.


You studied Graphic Design at university but projects that you ended your final year on were photography based. Can you tell us how and why you turned to photography to express your ideas? I’d always been into photography and used it as a way to document holidays and events, like most people, but in terms of using it when studying graphic design, I always felt like it was something separate. I felt that if the majority of a project was photography then it wouldn’t be classed as graphic design. Towards the end of my second year and start of third year, my tutors helped me realise that I can use my photography in my design and it still be a graphic designer. One of our projects in third year was to document a subject for 2/3 weeks and I chose to photograph a local remote control racing car club, from which I created an interesting photo essay which I later made into a book.

What attracted you to the working mens clubs in Middlesborough? Why did you decide to make this series of work? When we started planning what our final major project would be, I wrote a list of previous projects I did and enjoyed. I noticed a theme between 2 or 3 of them and that was that they were all based on the working class. I started thinking and realised that Working Men’s Clubs could be a great opportunity to document using my photography. I hadn’t ever been in a WMC but i knew what they were and I knew what they looked like and from what I already knew, I loved their aesthetic and the reasoning behind them. The further research I did, the more I wanted to do it for myself, but also for the clubs.

From the series  Members Only

From the series Members Only

What encouraged you to create a photobook to complete this series? I’ve always enjoyed buying photography books, or any visual book for that matter, and with the equipment and resources at the University of Brighton it was a great opportunity to create a nice, well thought out photobook that helped reflect what I learnt when being at the WMC’s as well as the clubs era and feel. Also, the design of the book and how the book looked was how my graphic design skills played it’s part in the project.

How did you go about making your photobook? Have you got any tips or advice? I had the spreads printed locally and then hand stitched 2 copies. Both are identical and they have hard bound covers with gold foiled titles as well as an additional wrap around cover.

These weren’t the first books I’d made. I’d made quite a few before them and a few black and white copies of this version as there's lots of room for mistake, so I’d say practicing and planning is definitely needed before the final version. 

From the series  Members Only

From the series Members Only

Are there any stand out photographers who influence your work? Todd Hido, Joel Meyerowitz, Martin Parr, Andre Wagner, Bruce Gilden, JH Engstrom, Joshua Gordon, plus many more.

What equipment did you use to make this work? Do you think your choices reflect your way of working? I used two 35mm cameras, the Contax G1 and Contax T2 which definitely led to more planning and thought when taking the shots. As you’re paying out for film, it makes you appreciate every photo you take a little bit more, unless you’ve got a bottomless pit of film or money. I recently bought a compact digital camera as I’m hoping it will let me have a bit more freedom when shooting and traveling instead of worrying if the photo is worth a space on a roll of film.

From the series  Members Only

From the series Members Only

What are your future plans? I currently work as an In-House Graphic Designer while practicing my photography outside of work as a hobby and with any freelance opportunities that come up. I hope to continue developing as Graphic Designer and keep my photography involved throughout.

Darren O'Brien - An Introduction

We recently invited Darren O'Brien to be a regular blog contributor at Photograd as he travels to Singapore and Vietnam as part of his MA Photography course at Falmouth University.

We're looking forward to finding out more about Darren and his travel experiences.


Hi, my name is Darren. I am a Documentary Photographer and photojournalist based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Between the 25th of March and the 8th of April I will be travelling to Singapore and Vietnam and I have been invited by Photograd to keep a travel diary of my experiences to share on the blog, along with images from the trip. I hope to do this as I travel, WiFi access permitting. Before I leave I want to introduce myself and give a little bit of background to my work.

From the series  And Other Stories

From the series And Other Stories

I graduated in 2009 with a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Brighton before commencing on my career as a photographer. After experimenting with various photographic disciplines, I settled into my current career as a photojournalist. Over the past few years I have had work published in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times and The Times. In 2013 my project Anywhere But Home was published as a book by Brown Owl Press. This project explored the idea of home whilst travelling in a foreign land, which is definitely a theme that creeps into a lot of my work.  

Deciding that it was time to reflect on my practice and explore a more academic approach to photography I started an MA in Photography at Falmouth University through their flexible learning program. I am currently working my way through the second module and will be using images from my trip to Singapore and Vietnam as part of my submitted portfolio for the course.

From the series  And Other Stories

From the series And Other Stories

I am also putting together a body of work called And Other Storieswhich aims to deconstruct conventional forms of narrative through street photography and reportage. It is a new direction for me, influenced by the style and ascetic of the Provoke era of Japanese street photography in the ‘60s and ‘70s. It plays with the traditional tropes of technical perfection and, for me at least, is a more personal experience. It has a greater emphasis on feelings and spontaneity which contrasts with my more prescriptive work as a photojournalist.

During my trip I will share work from this project plus some of my more documentary images as we travel around. I am travelling with my partner, Sian, who lived in Singapore for 6 years, so the stop off there will have extra meaning. It will be interesting to see what her memories are of the place, 20 years on.

From the series  And Other Stories

From the series And Other Stories

For the Vietnam leg of the journey it is really all about exploring somewhere that neither of us have been before. When visiting a new place I have a childlike curiosity and excitement which I hope comes through in my photography. We are focussing on the Northern part of Vietnam with stops in Sa Pa, Ha Long Bay and finally Hanoi.

I look forward to sharing my images and experiences with you and hopefully will be an inspiration to get out and explore.

You can find more of my work on my website and follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

Photobook Spotlight - Deadline Extended

Photograd Photobook Spotlight | Returning for its second year

Submissions now open | Deadline extended - midnight Friday 2nd March 2018

In recognition of the success of Photograd’s first Photobook Spotlight in early 2017, it will be returning for 2018.

Photograd supports and showcases work by photography graduates who studied in the UK. By providing opportunities to graduates we are effective in presenting a high standard of work. We are ensured each and every one of those we represent are devoted to their practice. 

  • The Spotlight is open to photography graduates who studied in the UK, and who are at any point in their career.
  • All responses to the suggested headers will be accepted for the Spotlight.
  • Submissions to photogradbooks@gmail.com.

This Spotlight aims to demonstrate a wide variety of published, self-published, hand-made, and large print run publications by both old and new photography graduates. Acknowledgement of the headers we suggest graduates respond to allows them to promote their individual practice including exploration and process of book making.

 

The benefits of submitting to and being part of Photograd are a regular supply of exclusive opportunities and a support network of fellow creative graduates. At Photograd, we spend time sharing work of those we represent to the industry and establishing collaborations.

We hope to be able to showcase all submissions received for this Spotlight which will later be made a permanent part of our Archive.

Photograd Photobook Spotlight | Live on Friday 16th March 2018

To see the guidelines click here

Unveil'd Photobook Award 2017 - Submissions now open!

 
2016 winner | Blokovi | Lola Paprocka [UK]  Exhibition | Centrespace | Bristol | April 2018

2016 winner | Blokovi | Lola Paprocka [UK]

Exhibition | Centrespace | Bristol | April 2018

 

Unveil'd Photobook Award is an international competition with the aim to support and promote the publications of emerging and established photographers. 

Each submission is added to a permanent collection which is exhibited and viewable to the public at Unveil'd events. 

- The award is open to all photobooks, artist books, catalogues or zines 

- Submissions must be primarily based on photographic content 

- The date of publication must be after 31 October 2016

Unveil'd will work together with the winning photographer or author to produce a fully funded solo exhibition within our 2018/19 programme. The focus is to create a flexible environment that responds to the winner's practice and best supports the development of their work. 

A shortlist of five titles and one winner will be announced 5 February 2018.

About the Panel

Jessica Lennan | Unveil'd Photobook Lead, Lecturer & Co-director of artist's studio and exhibition space Dodo Photo

Robert Darch | Unveil'd Project Coordinator, Photographer, Educator & Co-director of Dodo Photo

Tom Coleman | Unveil'd Founding Director

Oliver Udy | Photographer, Lecturer & Publisher, Antler Press

Lola Paprocka | Unveil'd Photobook Award 2016 Winner & Publisher, Palm*