A Q&A with Arts University Bournemouth 2019 graduate Ellen Stewart

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 which you can find here.

We selected Arts University Bournemouth BA (Hons) Photography 2019 graduate Ellen Stewart to support for the next year. You can find here an informal Q&A with Ellen to find out more about her work and plans moving forward.


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Hi Ellen, your work really stood out to Photograd due to its unique subject matter and well presented scenarios. Before we begin to support your work over the next few months we would love to find out more about what your goals are. Can you start by telling us about your university and Free Range experience? Hello, I’ve just graduated from the Arts University Bournemouth. The university itself has supplied me with the most valuable mentorship throughout my three years and has great inter-disciplinary links with other subjects. Coming from a painting background the course has given me such an expansive view of photography and its relationship to wider culture. Free Range was a great experience to collectively fund and organise our course to participate. Participating as an exhibitor opened up so many options for my work to be seen by industry professionals not only through the exhibition itself but through their social media handles, it’s been a really exciting time. One of the most educational parts of Free Range was understanding how putting a large scale exhibition works; the packaging of work, transportation, curation, advertising etc. 

Although you aim to confuse and question associations with private space, I think we can all relate to a few images in your series especially. Where did your inspiration come from and how do you plan to move forward to further play with your viewer? I really like this idea of creating confusion within subjects and objects that are familiar. I feel the inspiration came from that prior to this series I was creating work away from the home trying to photograph subject matter that I didn’t understand in a way to understand. I started to think more about mediating on the concept of playing with imagery that I seemingly do understand and physically pushing it to an extent where it is no longer familiar to me but it was important to me not to include any ‘strange’ objects or people. The strangeness had to come from removing, placing or collaging as such, mundane everyday items and family members to try and explore the bizarre in the normal. Joanna Piotrowska has been a big inspiration on my work especially going to her exhibition at the Tate was really intriguing and has a lasting effect on me. Moving forward I’ve become more interested in how little I can change to make the photo strange and vice versa in how much I can change by still using familiar imagery. 

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What does the everyday and the epic mean to you? The statement comes from the publication that accompanied the South Bank Centre’s exhibition The Epic and the Everyday in 1994. The catalogue presents one of Andreas Gursky’s photograph View over Cairo comparing the epic scene of the vastness of the metropolis with clothing lines of the everyday realities of the people that live there. This juxtaposition of how we perceive the epic photo with the underlying markers of banality began to shape how I started to see the everyday and epic in photographic terms. From creating my own series my relationship with ‘The Everyday and the Epic’ started to change and it began to mean if we can see every day as epic and how far or little do you have to change the everyday to make it epic. It’s still a statement which interests me and I’m constantly changing what it means to me and how to explore it.

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In your submission you mentioned that you'd like to make new images to expand this series. Have you got any particular scenarios in mind that you're hoping to shoot? Yes, I feel very lucky in the place that I am with my series as I’m only just beginning to piece it together and have a lot more to experiment and work with. I’ve begun to start spending days in my childhood house noting down the general day to day workings of the mundane routine of the people and objects within it. I have some specific scenarios in mind in the experimental stages to start working more in the night and how this can have differing effects to the day scenarios presented. I’ve also begun thinking more about the tiniest change, that I began to mention earlier, that I can do to scenario compared with the largest which is also another initial stage I’m going to begin with. 

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You also mentioned that you'd like to study for an MA in the future, how and why have you come to this decision? Have you got a university in mind that you'd like to study at? My plan on studying an MA in the next few years came from some of the lectures we had from MA students at my University exploring how their work has changed and grown since studying at post-graduate level. Although reading Lucy Soutter’s article in Source magazine a few years ago comparing the advantages and disadvantages of studying an MA in Photography, ultimately concluding you don’t need an MA to become a successful Fine Art Photographer. I feel as an individual I’ve really loved the network of mentoring I’ve received as a BA student trying to define my practice. Comparing to having mentorship in a few years when I’ve come to terms and distinguished my practice more, really excites me to see how it can be pushed even further. I’ve gone to the RCA shows for many years and the level of photography is so inspiring as well as Westminster and Brighton.

All images from the series  In My Fence Wall

All images from the series In My Fence Wall

As Photograd works as a supporter, advice giver, feedback provider, and whatever else you might require over the next year or so, where do you see your work taking you? What is your ultimate outcome? My first idea is to create a photobook of the series which really excites me as I haven’t created a project which I thought was suitable for the book form yet. The photobook being a new aspect of my work has been the only way so far I can see some kind of resolution for In My Fence Wall. I suppose my ultimate outcome is to keep trying to visually work out and explore the relationship with the everyday and the epic to a stage where I can feel somewhat finished with the questions I’m exploring. 

BA Photography graduate Instagram Takeover - Eva Jonas

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.

We selected University of Brighton BA (Hons) Photography 2019 graduate Eva Jonas to takeover the Photograd Instagram from 12th to 18th August. You can follow Eva on Instagram here too.


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?

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Images from the series  That Thing Over There that surrounds and sustains us

Images from the series That Thing Over There that surrounds and sustains us

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2019 photography graduate call for work - the results!

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:
Eva Jonas

The 2 BA graduates we would like to interview are:
Katie Bywater
Charlotte Macaulay

The BA graduate we would like to support and represent for a year is:
Ellen Stewart

The MA graduate we are rewarding with an extended Instagram Takeover is:
Elena Helfrecht

The 10 Highly Commended MA graduates are:
Loreal Prystaj
Haven Tang
Samantha Johnston
Xinyi Liu
Vera Hadzhiyska
Chloe Evelyn
Ringo Chan
Daniel Lee
Zak Dimitrov
Isabella Campbell

Image from the series  that Thing over there  by Charlotte Macaulay

Image from the series that Thing over there by Charlotte Macaulay

Image from the series  In My Fence Wall  by Ellen Stewart

Image from the series In My Fence Wall by Ellen Stewart

Image from the series  Mise-en-scène  by Samantha Johnston

Image from the series Mise-en-scène by Samantha Johnston

Image from the series  Plexus  by Elena Helfrecht

Image from the series Plexus by Elena Helfrecht

Image from the series  Bright Eyes  by Chloe Evelyn

Image from the series Bright Eyes by Chloe Evelyn

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.

The results are in! A brand new Brexit themed zine from Photograd.

For the last few weeks we have been working alongside our supporters to create a final list of who will feature in our next zine. It's been a tricky but exciting process and we are really pleased to present here our final selection!

Zine photographers

Bridie Lewis
Kat Dlugosz
Lorenza Demata
Luke Archer
Tory Ho
Deividas Buivydas
Jordan Turnbull
Jakub Junek
Matt MacPake
Tony Fitzsimmons
Rebecca Sperini
Norman Behrendt
Sam Burton
Steven Holmes

Website interviews

Luke Archer
Ben Milne
Matt MacPake
Jared Krauss
Jordan Turnbull
Jennifer Atchenson
Rob Townsend
Michaela Harcegova
Yves Salmon
Alex Jones
Nicholas Priest
Chris Mear

A big thank you to all those who submitted work and continue to support Photograd, this zine is an exciting one. A big thank you also to all those who have helped us select work and interview photographers for this zine and website content; Tom Coleman, Chloe Juno, Pagy Wicks, Joanne Coates, Alex Hewitt and Paula Jérémie, Jasmine Farram and Olivia Newstead, Alex Ingram, Genea Bailey and Daisy Ware-Jarrett, Brendan Barry, and Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz.


Here are a few images from some of those photographers who have been selected.

Image from the series  Yer Not In The North Now Ya Know  by  Bridie Lewis

Image from the series Yer Not In The North Now Ya Know by Bridie Lewis

Image from the series  Whisper City Bones  by  Matt MacPake

Image from the series Whisper City Bones by Matt MacPake

Image from the series  Flight  by  Deividas Buivydas

Image from the series Flight by Deividas Buivydas

Image from the series  Fisher  by  Tony Fitzsimmons

Image from the series Fisher by Tony Fitzsimmons

We don't currently have a launch date for the zine but if you'd like early access to purchase a copy with a discount code please let us know and we will keep you posted.

Photograd Print Submissions - the results!

Late in November we launched Festive Cheer where we called for images from photography graduates with the chance of having a print sent to someone on our mailing list this Christmas. The submissions we received were fantastic and it was a really tough judging process deciding which to print. But we did it! Here are the results!

The above 12 images have been printed and packaged at the cost of Photograd and sent to the likes of Spectrum, Lens Think Yorkshire, #PHOTOGRAPHY Magazine, and Francesca Maffeo Gallery.

We will also include some special mentions in our upcoming newsletter.