Photograd interviews Chris Mear

To accompany the new edition of PGZ, we have interviewed some photography graduates from the submissions received for the Photograd blog. Here we have an interview with Staffordshire University graduate Chris Mear.


Twenty-one Miles From Nowhere is essentially a road trip project, but unlike many such projects the road I have chosen to follow is neither particularly long nor significant.

Where did you attend university and what year did you graduate? Staffordshire University, and 2011.

Image from the series  Twenty-one Miles From Nowhere

Image from the series Twenty-one Miles From Nowhere

Tell us about your time at university. Have you got any stand out moments you can tell us about? In all honesty it was largely a wasted opportunity by me. But through university I truly discovered photography, beyond the boringly obvious. Two stand out moments were discovering the book Hide That Can by Deirdre O’Callahan and visiting the Paul Graham retrospective at the White Chapel (2011). And both were monumentally important for me.

What themes do you explore in your work? Sense of place and the human condition.

Image from the series  Twenty-one Miles From Nowhere

Image from the series Twenty-one Miles From Nowhere

Tell us about your series of images. What's important to you about some of the locations? The road’s been a constant for me during my lifetime as have the places along it.

Are the people in these images also important to you? Yes. Because they’re all strangers who are willing to make a connection with another stranger and make us not strangers anymore.

Image from the series  Twenty-one Miles From Nowhere

Image from the series Twenty-one Miles From Nowhere

How have you tried to show your feelings towards Brexit through your imagery? I’m just trying to understand how this small part of the world and the people who inhabit it, including me, really feel at this moment in time.

Depending on the outcome of Brexit and the future of the UK, where do you see your photography taking you in the future? I don’t know. Which is three words people should be willing to say more, if you ask me.

Image from the series  Twenty-one Miles From Nowhere

Image from the series Twenty-one Miles From Nowhere

How do you see this work evolving? I don’t know. I’ll just keep walking. I just want to keep moving around my little corner of the world with good intentions and pure curiosity. I don’t want to think about how it might evolve or how it might end up, because that’ll effect the process, which I want to be as intuitive and authentic as possible. Maybe during the course of making these pictures I’ll learn to drive. Maybe that’ll change it? I don’t know.

What would you like for viewers to learn from your work? That’s not for me to say.

Image from the series  Twenty-one Miles From Nowhere

Image from the series Twenty-one Miles From Nowhere

Tell us about some of your biggest achievements. I wake up, I get out of bed, I go to work, I smile, I laugh and sometimes I feel confident and motivated enough to go out and connect and make pictures. But it depends on your individual definition of achievement – my CV’s on my website.

Have you got any exciting future plans? I’m planning to be better at being present, in the present.