An interview with Photograd Open 2018 exhibiting photographer Claire McIntyre

Photography students at London Metropolitan University supported in the curation of our very first open exhibition and also selected a number of exhibiting photographers to interview about their work.

Here we have an interview with Claire McIntyre.


FMP Claire McIntyre25.jpg

What was the inspiration for the project? This was my very first venture into the documentary world. Leaving the fashion universe behind, I realised that the garments are still a focus of mine. After an arduous breakup, I took to Tinder and started meeting a number of London guys. I was spending a lot of my time discovering the city though these dates, and decided to start shooting. Tinder became my agent. Through the app, I photographed around 30 men. Conversation and psychology are dear to me. As I chatted with these men, I came to realise how sensitive and genuine they became, being in the comfort of their own home. The conditioning society created - the “male” behaviour - dropped, revealing a beautiful and sensitive soul and consciousness, so often repressed. This led me to be extremely inquisitive in regards to capturing this state. I made it my project to photograph this modern masculinity, men in their comfort zone, through the female gaze. As a female photographer, having power of representation over the masculine body in todays’ society which is extremely self-conscious in regards to external approval seeking is also a theme I explore.

How has the course at The Ravensbourne University shaped your practice? I don’t feel that the institution played any specific part in shaping who I am as a photographer, nor has it had any effect on my work. The tutors, however, have been key in my personal and artistic development. Due to the self-directed nature of the course, I do feel that I had the time and space to move around with ease through a range of photographic disciplines, thus allowing me to try a variety of topics and subjects, allowing me to explore and deepen my research and skills.

Who is your main photographic inspiration? As stereotypical as this may sound, Nan Goldin has been, from day one, my original inspiration. Someone I look up to as a person, as well as an artist. Her work and subject matter, as well as her over all aesthetic seduce me overtime. The raw and genuine elements composting her shots are beautiful and admirable. Wolfgang Tillmans is another artist I admire, shedding a golden light on the scene of everyday life. His curation style is one of my favourites as well, bringing life to the static world of a photography exhibition. Mark Neville and Stefan Ruiz are equally major influences in my work. I like the interactive aspect they practice, creating a bond with their subjects. Most recently I’ve been quite keen on Campbell Addy’s imagery, exploring topics of identity and representation.

What do you want to achieve and say with your portraits? I’ve touched on this earlier. I wish to address the notion of the social pressure and conditioning men go through. My question here is: “What is Masculinity?”. Is it gender related in any way? How conscious are we of our actions and reactions? How programmed are we in relation to our gender and in regards to our surroundings? This series depicts an alternative image of the viral male, not conforming to external pressures.

Do you have a favourite image? And why? I am not precious about the final outcome. This was a very personal project, reflecting my state of mind, as well as the phase I was going through. The process and conversation I developed with the subjects was the interesting part.

What camera and lens did you use? Canon 60D Lens 24-70mm (sometimes 50mm).

What are your future plans for self-development? I am currently the in-house photographer and a booker for Ciel Model Management. In February I will be traveling to Cuba to shoot a series and explore the topic of women and femininity. The female realm has always been harder for me to connect with, thus I wish to challenge myself. I am now in the process of applying for grants and artist residencies abroad, quite keen on developing documentary stories and venturing into photojournalism. I would like to carry one doing social work, bringing the notion of art and photography to troubled youth and prisons, working with individuals eager to tell their stories, as well as their versions and views on this concept we all share and call society.

An interview with Photograd Open 2018 exhibiting photographer Natalia Poniatowska

Photography students at London Metropolitan University supported in the curation of our very first open exhibition and also selected a number of exhibiting photographers to interview about their work.

Here we have an interview with Natalia Poniatowska.


From the series  Moments I Never Showed You

From the series Moments I Never Showed You

How would you describe your project and the relationship to the title Moments I Never Showed You? For many years of being a natural picture maker and taking photographs of whatever caught my attention, I’ve noticed that people became a part of the landscape I create. Observing, sitting, relaxing. The images place the figure in surroundings that complement simultaneously two conditions – being and looking. This project focuses on my observations but also raises wider questions about photography as a medium and the act of observation itself. It is an attempt to look at my practice and question my selection of images in which unexpected connections and conversations can occur between images.

The body of work includes an animated scan of 35mm black and white negative. As some images remind me of either smell, sound or movement, I wanted to bring this photograph back to life by moving selected still elements. This project has been shot in several countries, mostly outdoors and shows places I don’t belong to and people I have never got to meet, and as such, it is a departure from previous work that had nostalgia, homesickness and concept of belonging at its heart. This project accepts personal and visual encounters that speak of a connection that is grounded in photographic composition and as such are a pause in the flow of time: fleeting. These images propose questions and allow me to evoke the conditions that occurred during the moment of taking the picture again.

Selecting a title for a project and the book was a real challenge as the project hasn’t started with the idea or research but with a selection of already taken photographs. The research came after. With a title, I could easily add any narrative, but I decided to call it directly of what it really is – Moments I Never Showed You, as it’s a selection of photographs never shown before that didn’t belong to any project or didn’t work as strong as a single image. I like that the title made the book/project more personal and direct to the viewer. My tutors were not really happy with it, but for me, it works because of its simplicity. I was happy when I could throw away an A4 page full of title ideas that were overthinking the subject and I used words of whom I had to google the meaning of. This title is more “me” than what I was trying to achieve with other titles for the project.

What was the inspiration for the project? I don’t know if that’s an inspiration but maybe more like a regret about all single photographs that I’ve taken in the past 6 years that were never included in other projects. I started my selection for the book and exhibition with more than 2000 digital and film photographs. When working on the selection, book layout and exhibition I read a lot about photography and observation. I came back to books like About Looking and Ways of Seeing by John Berger and On Photography by Susan Sontag. I think the main inspiration was my interest in photography itself. In capturing the moment. In December 2017, I attended Joel Meyerowitz’s talk in C/O in Berlin for the opening of his exhibition “Why Colour”. I asked him for the advice for young photographers and he replied with something like: “If you are passionate about it, you’ll be fine.”

While making the project I had a few moments of doubting in photography. I’ve seen many exhibitions where I didn’t feel anything, that didn’t provoke any thoughts or didn’t give me any aesthetic inspirations. That made me wonder – are my works giving some emotions to others? I meet Thomas Joshua Cooper, founder of the photography department at the Glasgow School of Art, when he was leaving his studio and told him about my feelings towards the subject. He replied with a smile: “You need to trust your work”. And for a while, I didn’t understand what trusting the art means, but now I know this feeling and I know it really helps.

I also believe that all those chats, books I read, exhibitions I visited, movies I watched, music I listen to and everything I’ve seen was the inspiration for Moments I Never Showed You.

How has the course at The Glasgow School of Art shaped your practice? It’s been a great 4 years that closed my long journey in photography education – I first started attending photography classes when I was 13 in the youth centre in my hometown – Bytom, Poland. Studying in Glasgow was a great fun and also hard work. I made friends for life and I fell in love with the city. Fine Art Photography course was very individual. If you wanted to take all the best out of it, you could but you could also just spend those 4 years taking photos at the parties and printing on any paper and putting up on the wall with pins. You could do everything without really questioning it but then when degree show comes you can easily fail with all the stress. I was thinking about every step I made and I know I used these 4 years in the best way, not worrying about the degree show.

Having access to such a great facility and my own studio is definitely something I miss since June. I also miss tutorials and crits, ability to talk about the project and also to speak about other’s work. This summer for the first time ever I sent my films to the lab and when I got them, I knew it’s the process I miss the most. If the process of developing and scanning myself is taken away, I could just stick to the digital. I like to have the control and the feeling that I made it since the moment when I put the film in the camera until I printed it.

Who is your main photographic inspiration? I would like to reply saying life is the main inspiration – everything what’s happening around. Every single moment. But if it’s about names of artists, I would name a few that I’m currently spending lots of time looking at their works: Mark Power’s book The Sound of Two Songs, Wojtek Wieteska, Harry Culy, Tacita Dean and Theresa Moerman Ib.

What do you want to achieve and say with your photographs? I think my artist statement describes it the best:

“It is enough that I come from a country that lies east of the west and west of the east” - Sławomir Mrożek.

I am an observer. Through digital and analogue photography, still and moving images, I explore the potential ground that exists between fine art and documentary photography. Drawing inspiration from various conditions of the reality around me, from the great interest in the modern, dynamic art scene but also from my personal experiences, I believe in the power of images to convey the emotions, truths and challenges of modern reality. Having spent the majority of my life away from my motherland, I often return to the theme of homesickness and belonging in my artwork.

My approach to picture making is to present ordinary, non-idealised, never staged reality. Such practice is the formulation of an interest in things as they are. By using only one lens which is the most similar to a human field of view, I am capturing the moments and non-moments that drag my attention. I am a sentimental and nostalgic artist and the camera is the best tool to anchor oneself to memories and emotions that are constantly fleeting.

My work starts with a strong interest in the moment, light or a situation. The process of looking begins before taking a photograph and continues afterwards. Selecting pictures, printing, making connections, framing or setting up an exhibition space, all of it seems connected to the way of seeing. I immerse myself in the medium fully and utterly.

What camera and lens did you use? This is the most common question I get on Instagram and the most annoying one in commercial photography world. “Photos are amazing, you must have a great camera”. Sometimes I say what camera I used, sometimes I say it’s about my sight, not a camera. I’m completely not interested in the technical aspect of photography. I can’t help when friends asked me what camera they should buy as I simply have no idea what’s on the market or what lens would be the best for their needs. I use Nikon F3 and Nikon D800. The digital one for commercial, colour and moving image work, a film for black and white. I mix the film and digital photographs when it comes to exhibitions or books and I usually carry two cameras with me. There’s something in black and white digital photographs that I am not a big fan of and there’s something in a black and white film that I really love. I only use one lens - 50mm 1.8, as it’s the most similar to what we see with our eyes. And the reality is what I like in photography. Presenting reality but in such way that we don’t notice it every day.

What are your future career plans? I’m currently exhibiting work in the Scottish Portrait Awards. In March, I’m showing my work at the New Contemporaries exhibition in the Royal Scottish Academy, for which I’m super excited. This summer after graduation was busy – I started working on two projects – I travelled with my grandma to Ukraine where she was born and has not been back since childhood when her family had to leave due to the war. I know I need more time and conversations with my grandma to finish this project. I would like to go back there during winter. The second work was my residency to Iceland organised by WeTransfer and The Jaunt. I can’t wait to print this work and just put it up on the studio wall. I’m sharing some of it on my Instagram.

I’m supporting myself by working as a wedding and commercial photographer, but ideally, I would love to work for a photography gallery. Well, of course, I would love to be just an artist and pay rent from selling my works, but we all know how it is. There’s a huge gap between emerging artists and established artists who can hire hundreds of assistants. I just wish these two worlds, especially in contemporary photography, could somehow connect and there would be more paid opportunities for graduates. I’m sick of hearing about unpaid interns or even internships that artists have to pay for. Or paid entries for open calls (for example Fotofilmic $50 entry fee). And as I know from the experience there are young artists whose parents would pay for it all. They have a way easier career start. I’m sorry for speaking about money so much when the question is about my plans, but I get a feeling that this subject is neglected, especially in the art schools. We are not told how to make living. And then there’s also this look – how can you be an artist when you shoot birthday parties and use a camera in a commercial way? I disagree and I presented my disagreement with a project called Celebration where all photographs come from events I worked at.   So… coming back to my future plans – I know that photography is what I love and I’m super passionate about. If in the future I can survive as an artist, that’s amazing. But I also would like to do something for contemporary photography – either working in a gallery or teaching. And commercial photography? I also enjoy it. Client satisfaction and some good words about my photographs make me really happy. And weddings are fun! 

An interview with Photograd Open 2018 exhibiting photographer Lottie Wilson

Photography students at London Metropolitan University supported in the curation of our very first open exhibition and also selected a number of exhibiting photographers to interview about their work.

Here we have an interview with Lottie Wilson.


Why do you still use film? Is there a reason? I started using film in my first year at university. Initially it was something new and exciting (we hadn’t used film at my sixth form) so I enjoyed learning about a new process. However, now it is integral to my practice.  As an artist I believe that the working process is just as important as the images, and the beauty of analogue is that there are so many different opportunities for the final image. When working with digital all of the editing happens post production, however, the analogue process is totally organic. The process can go wrong at any minute – you can over expose or under develop – and this is the magic for me. The final image has always felt like a collaboration between the darkroom and myself. I can never quite predict what is going to happen.

From the series  Observing

From the series Observing

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Your work shows a lot of experimenting in the darkroom, what was your best ‘Mistake’? My best mistake was made out of forgetfulness! With images that no longer have any meaning for me I like to disrupt them and alter the memory past recognition. There’s no science with the experimentation that I do – it’s simply a case of trial and error. One particular image was not reacting to my chemical solution so I decided to leave it for another few days. Fast forward ten days and the whole image had disappeared. Whilst this was never my intention it was a real learning process for me. I really began to understand my medium. By leaving the image for too long I broke down the layers of the negative until there was pretty much the bare film left. Whilst a photograph distils a single single moment forever, this photochemical process allowed me to change history. It was as if that captured moment had never happened. This is my favourite image to date.

How was your university experience? I loved going to university and am missing it so much. My university journey wasn’t easy though. My school encouraged academic subjects, so originally I applied to study English Literature leaving Photography as a well loved hobby. Once being accepted into the another university I realised that this was not what I truly wanted. I decided to take a year out to fully consider my options and decide whether further education would be the right choice for me. After visiting the University of Brighton there was no other option, this was where I needed to be. Throughout my three years at University I met an eclectic mix of individuals who encouraged both creative and personal growth. I’ve never looked back. Going to university made me a better photographer in every respect, yet the most important lesson was finally understanding and accepting myself.  

From the series  Observing

From the series Observing

What photographers help inspire your work? I am a huge fan of Miho Kajioka. Whilst very different in concept (Kajioka’s work discusses natural disasters), I particularly like Kajioka’s printing style. The images appear so delicate and whimsical. I am also greatly inspired by her working style. Kajioka draws off the Japanese tradition of “wabi-sabi” – the appreciation of beauty in imperfection and transience. This appreciation allows for mistakes and even encourages them. As an artist I constantly re-evaluate my work and my belief in “wabi-sabi” underpins my whole practice. I love that my work is always changing and may not always be as I first planned, it gives me confidence to make work without any concern.

From the series  Observing

From the series Observing

Your work will be on display at the Cass as part of Photograd Open 2018. The Cass has a great darkroom- what would you say to students or any photographers thinking about working with film or in the darkroom? I’d say just go for it! I spent so long being scared of the darkroom but it’s the most magical place - I still get excited watching an image develop in the wet trays. Whilst you will be taught traditional darkroom processes you do not have to stick to them. There is never just one fool-proof way to make work, and this notion definitely applies in the darkroom. Experiment with exposure times and chemical reactions and see what happens to the original image. The darkroom is full of endless creative opportunities and all you need is the confidence to try something new. 

From the series  Observing

From the series Observing

Do you have any plans for your photography in the future? Any current ideas for this project or any new ones? Since graduating this summer I have spent a lot of time contemplating what it means to be a photographer. For me, it is the opportunity to capture a single moment and the power to change it. Much like memories, images are pliable and I am fascinated how their meanings are constantly adapting. 

I have just joined a community darkroom so am excited to start my next project. I am planning to further explore the transitional elements of a photograph - of course with my “wabi-sabi” beliefs fully in tact. I am excited to see what comes next. 

An interview with Photograd Open 2018 exhibiting photographer Joel Biddle

Photography students at London Metropolitan University supported in the curation of our very first open exhibition and also selected a number of exhibiting photographers to interview about their work.

Here we have an interview with Joel Biddle.


Images from the series  Tectonic

Images from the series Tectonic

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Which photographers inspire you? I find my inspirations come from a mixture of landscape photographers and conceptual artists. The simplicity that some conceptual art can have has always been a draw for me, and a lot of the time that kind of work is more about only showing what is absolutely necessary and simplifying the message. I think one of my earliest influencers was Michael Kenna, whose work was a huge inspiration for me to create and experiment in the darkroom. The minimalist aesthetic and his approach to a mixture of geometric, manmade shapes and the shapes of the natural world has always been impactful. Hiroshi Sugimoto’s work was introduced to me just prior to university and has since been influencing my approach to my work as well. I think these photographer’s work changed my mindset about photography and made me take more time with my work. 

What do you find interesting in landscape photography? The possibilities involved in landscape photography are the reason I’m drawn to it, and the challenge of finding somewhere that connects with you is very rewarding. It can be a timeless for of photography, and you can create a landscape that can be very hard to place location wise, leading to an image that is very open to interpretation.  

From the series  Tectonic

From the series Tectonic

The juxtaposition between the smooth, changing shape and texture of water against ancient and seemingly permanent and harsh shapes of rock structures in the sea fascinates me and I try to highlight this. It’s almost an instinctual thing for me to photograph the landscape, and I sometimes don’t even see my work as landscape, as it can be broken down into a shapes and textures very easily and become abstract. 

Do you prefer using digital or analogue camera? Why? I’m in the process of moving to 100% analogue photography for a few reasons, one is the look of film grain has a lot of character to it, its quite organic. There is no instant gratification involved in analogue photography, which I find very motivational to get out and work more and concentrate on capturing what is in front of me. Film suits me very well as I found myself shooting a handful of images a day with a digital camera, which almost seemed like a waste of the potential of a camera that could easily shoot a thousand images a day, so it seemed obvious to move to a slower medium. The hand made element of a print produced in the darkroom is very appealing to me as well, and it’s a very expressive way of doing things. 

From the series  Tectonic

From the series Tectonic

What do you want to transmit with your photography? I want a calming sense of tranquillity to be found from my photography, and a sense of quiet that reflects the locations I photograph. There are no people in my work landscapes and very rarely any buildings, which leads to a sense of isolation, but its not a bleak isolation, its more of a break from chaos, and a choice rather than something forced.  

I don’t seek dramatic imagery when I choose my subject, and this is reflected in what I’m trying to say with my landscapes, and the feeling I hope to generate within the viewer.  

What did you try to achieve with this project? I started this project as a way of experimenting with the contrast between hard, rugged element, hence the use of the aggressive title ‘Tectonic’, and the flowing of glassy waters, with a focus on attempting to avoid any stereotypical landscape. This is why I was opposed to using vivid colour, avoided the golden hour and used telephoto lenses instead of wide-angle lenses and I find it very natural to photograph in portrait orientation, something that is somewhat ironic about my landscape photography. 

From the series  Tectonic

From the series Tectonic

I wanted to create something that had staying power, something that I wouldn’t get bored of looking at. A lot of the images I was taking before I wasn’t even printing, I was leaving them as digital files and looking at maybe once or twice. I had a different mindset when I started to create work for ‘Tectonic’, which was to work towards a body of work rather than a standalone image.  

Have you worked on other photographic project that are not landscape-based? I have been working on and am continuing to work on an astrophotography based project that involves photographing starlight with expired film that equals the age of the light of the star, for example I photographed Capella, a star that is 42 light years away with film that was produced 42 years ago. The idea that the film and the light were produced simultaneously but it takes decades for the light to reach the destination is fascinating and I hope to move the project on to use expired photographic paper to capture starlight and create one of a kind works, though this has many technical challenges. I have a broad interest in conceptual based photography and alternative processes, and may apply this to my landscape work at some point. 

An interview with Photograd Open 2018 exhibiting photographer Kerry Curl

Photography students at London Metropolitan University supported in the curation of our very first open exhibition and also selected a number of exhibiting photographers to interview about their work.

Here we have an interview with Kerry Curl.


KERRY_CURL_PHOTOGRAD_EXHIBITION_MAY_2018_NORWCH_JORDAN_WAKE_2017-7274.jpg

Who inspired you as a fashion photographer? I’ve just always been interested in style and people. As a child I’d draw fashion designs and would have sketchbooks full of entire wardrobe ideas for films I’d seen. When I thought I was destined to spend my life in call centre type jobs I’d be reading art books as an escape. Tracey Emin’s My Bed, I discovered by looking through those Best Of…, A-Z of Artists type books and not only did I connect with it on first sight, in that way you’re sometimes just grabbed by a piece of music right away, I found the artist herself really interesting. Her story made me question my own. Not coming from a creative family/background I found those books a really accessible way to view and learn about the visual arts. I still do.

There wasn’t really a ‘fashion’ photographer, who made me think ‘I want to do that!’ but the photographer who gave me what I refer to as That Emin feeling was Daido Moriyama. I saw his work exhibited at the Tate in 2012 and that’s when I knew I needed to start thinking about what photography means to me, what do I want from it, how can I learn more?

Although fashion is within my work and most people do refer to me as a fashion photographer, I actually find myself wondering more and more what a fashion photographer is in 2018?  Where do I fit in? Photography genres can and do merge. I’ve really started to question fashion within my work. It is part of the imagery but it’s not the works sole purpose.

A by-product of the way I create is that I often find myself working with second hand clothing. I’ve been wearing second hand clothes since birth really, starting from necessity and then as I got older through choice. It’s not a new notion to me at all. However now this shopping approach, chimes with the increasing interest in the mainstream for sustainability in the fashion industry.

There’s growing desire for sustainable fashion as consumers begin to ask where their clothes come from. Almost paradoxically, the consumer demand for sustainability imposes a commercial imperative on this most egalitarian of impulses. These are interesting times to be contributing to fashion media.

Many people are more conscious than they once were of the social implications of what they buy and wear, rather than the sheer quantity of what they could consume or the status it would afford them. In a portfolio review I once talked about fashion in this way and was told that I wasn’t talking about the photography enough. However as a medium, photography for me is so intertwined with other art forms and our world around us, they exist together and that’s a key part of my work. Beyond fashion, I will always cite music and film as things which inspire me greatly. Inspiration is everywhere, that may be a cliché but it’s true.

What advice would you give someone starting off as a fashion photographer? My honest advice is to drop the focus of ‘fashion’ and just start photographing style/people/subject matters which interest you.

Be inquisitive, be genuinely inquisitive in knowing and learning more, look to different art forms for inspiration. Explore who has influenced your influences. If you are shooting fashion work because you feel you should or it’s a trend you think you must follow, then don’t. That applies across the board with all subject matters really. I wish I could remember who said to me  “show the work you want to talk about” - it’s such sound advice.

What camera do you use for your portraits? My go to camera is a Nikon D810, but I’ll also still use an array of 35mm SLR cameras sometimes and we’re not talking top of the range. I mostly use ones I’ve picked up second hand, some are what would probably be classed as an ‘entry level’ SLR. I’m always in charity and second hand shops looking for things I can use within my work so I pick up random cameras from time to time, even point and shoots. If I can make work with it then I’m interested. I shoot with ANY film I can afford. How amazing it was when Poundland used to sell 35mm film, sadly I think that’s passed but I still always look out for it.

I also really enjoy instant film, I found an old Instax Wide camera in a charity shop for £1.50 which it turned out was in full working order. Although I’ve used Polaroid cameras, Instax film is more friendly for my budget and I’ve also found the film to be more reliable but there is still that interestingly  unpredictable quality of tone and focus which can be bitter-sweet. I read an interview with Brian Eno on openculture.com where he said:
“The real hooks, the moments that we most connect with and return to again and again, are often happy accidents.”

Although he was referring to music, this also really connects to the visual arts for me. The different materials and approaches keep me inquisitive. People have expressed surprise because I like to work with both digital and film but I just don’t feel the need to be exclusively one or the other right now.  I learned photography on film - before digital was a thing. I just like cameras really, not from a techno-geek sense, just as a physical object that I can create imagery with.

Where did you study? I did my BA (Hons) Photography at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) , graduating with a 1st in 2017. I was thirty seven when I started my degree, although during my twenties and thirties I was lucky enough to access the adult education system whilst courses such as photography were much more available and accessible, with many classes being conducted in local secondary schools.

Indeed my first City and Guilds course was in my old school, which is ironic as the art options available when I was actually at that school as a teenager, were somewhat lacking and photography was certainly not on the curriculum. The Adult Education offerings, certainly in Norwich have changed so much over the last decade, they’ve really declined in course choice and have become much more expensive. This is a real shame.

Do you think social media such as Instagram has an effect on photography; does it benefit your work? Interesting question. I have a bit of a love vs ‘bored now’ relationship with social media but there’s no doubt that platforms like Instagram have democratised access to images and ideas that would once have been obscure or inaccessible.  You are not restricted to the grubby dog-eared stock in your under-resourced local library, or on what happens to be flavour of the month in The Face or NME.  Today, an image maker can be a self-curating cultural magpie in a way a predecessor even just a few years ago could not have imagined. However, I do feel lucky to know what life without social media was like...

It concerns me that it’s easy to put pressure on ourselves to constantly be ‘seen’ to be making work, checking if it’s being well received etc when really we just tossing it out in to an unknown seemingly ever changing algorithm which is someone else’s business model and so we are not really in control of its future anyway.

The positives are that it’s a great way to meet people to work with and it’s brilliant as a way to stay in touch. It can be a very supportive place but there’s a tipping point and it’s important to remind ourselves that we are more than a number.

What are your future aims and do they include photography? It feels like it’s taken me so long to finally be working with photography (my creative life has been far from linear!) that I can’t imagine photography not being a part of my future. I’m always questioning my practice, I learned through keeping journals at uni that I’m naturally a reflective person and that the work I make is often a response to what’s around me.

I’m planning on returning to education to do an MA in two or three years time. At present, I really want to spend some time making new work and gaining more experience out in the world - all of which I can take with me to my next education phase. I was approached by a uni professor who very kindly visited my degree show work and he suggested I could think about going straight for a PhD which whilst amazing to hear and has certainly made think of the long term possibilities, I feel personally if there is a PhD within my work (within me...)  then an MA is the stepping stone that I need to get me there. I can’t image not returning to education, it may sound dramatic but it has been life changing. It’s not a case of if I go back, it’s just a matter of when.

My degree show, final uni project and my dissertation continues to inform my personal work and ideas.  The show featured installation work of a seventies inspired lounge which I really enjoyed creating. The space invited the viewer to become part of the work. With my photography on the walls and my moving image work looping on period correct televisions, everyday I observed how the audience interacted with the work and I became even more convinced that photography for me was about imagery across disciplines and multi-media innovation, driving me to question the role of a photographer today.

I didn’t realise at the time when I was hauling pieces of furniture across London for my degree show installation that this wasn’t actually the final product, but in fact it was further research. I’m so glad I helped look after the degree show everyday because being able to watch the reactions to my work was really a lightbulb moment about it’s possibilities.

I’d love to exhibit again, I’m planning to keep working through ideas using photography, moving image and installation and I’m also looking at releasing work within a zine format. Ultimately I just want to keep making work which interests me enough to continue making more work.

An interview with Photograd Open 2018 exhibiting photographer Katie Hayward

Photography students at London Metropolitan University supported in the curation of our very first open exhibition and also selected a number of exhibiting photographers to interview about their work.

Here we have an interview with Katie Hayward.


How would you describe your project and relationship to the title Between Darkness and Light? Between Darkness and Light is an observation of the landscape of the coastal town of Lowestoft in Suffolk. The town occupies the most easterly point of the country and so is positioned as one of its extremities. The body of work seeks to provide a subtle acknowledgement of industries won and lost over time, giving a glimpse into Lowestoft’s tumultuous past and tentative future. It is a town, like many in the UK, forced to live through governmental decisions made at a distance, which directly impact upon the communities that live and work there. While our government negotiates for our exit from the European Union, potentially using our fishing waters as the bargaining tool, this is more prominent now than ever before in this town.

From the series  Between Darkness and Light

From the series Between Darkness and Light

The title of the project is derived from my research into the writings of W. G. Sebald and his book titled The Rings of Saturn whereby he narrates his journey along the East Coast.  When describing his experience of Lowestoft, he recalls looking out towards the sea through a bay window of the dining room of his rather lacklustre hotel, stating that “Outside was the beach, somewhere between the darkness and the light” (Sebald, P.43). These words resonated with me as they seemed to fit with the general essence of the place that I had experienced and also politically, socially, economically and emotionally in a metaphorical sense.  

What was the inspiration for the project? I had developed a genuine interest in the concept of place photographically and having recently moved to the East Coast I was curious to see how documenting a place with which I had no knowledge of, or emotional connection to, would impact upon the images I produced at the other end. Would my photographic exploration create an emotional connection or attachment of sorts or would my role in documenting it keep me distanced from it? This was the catalyst for starting the project. 

How has the course at the University of Suffolk shaped your practice? When I started my course at the University of Suffolk, we were taken right back to basics with 35mm black and white film where we learned to develop and print our own work.  This really helped me connect with where photography had grown from and allowed me to join the dots with where photography is now.  I had never stepped foot into a darkroom and so the learning curve was a steep one for me, but very rewarding.  I’m quite an impatient person and the medium of film photography truly challenged me and took me out of my comfort zone.  It made me a more considerate photographer as the process was considerably slower. This helped me to truly appreciate the photographers of the past who never had digital as an option and what an undertaking it must have been for the work that they produced at that time.  The course structure was also a huge thing for me, it really guided me through how to produce a project from proposal through to exhibition and everything in-between, with group critique sessions and presentations of my work I gained the confidence in critiquing my own work as well as the work of others in a constructive way.  

From the series  Between Darkness and Light

From the series Between Darkness and Light

Who is your main photographic inspiration? It is impossible for me to put this down to just one person, but I will try to be as concise. Gerhard Stromberg and his Coastline Catalogue work. Chris Killip and his Inflagrante and Seacoal series. Michael Collins and his Landscape and Industry publication and Hoo Peninsula work.  There is also a small independent publisher called Another Place Press run by photographer Iain Sarjeant who publish books focusing on contemporary landscape photography. Everything they publish is in line with my interests photographically. Iain’s photographic work is also quite something.  

What do you want to achieve and say with your project? I wanted to present images which provoked thought and questions. I wanted to convey a sense of place, an acknowledgement of its community, of its past via the apparatus of its landscapes. I like working in a series-based format with narrative imbedded in the work and I hope the work achieved that in some sense.  

What camera and lens did you use? Initial location scouting and test shooting was done on my trusty Canon 7d mark ii. The formal images were shot on a Shen Hao 5x4 XPO 45-A camera with a 150mm lens.

From the series  Between Darkness and Light

From the series Between Darkness and Light

Why did you choose that equipment? Shooting digital to initially test locations, times of day and compositions enabled me to quite quickly find what worked and what didn’t, I had a lot of ground to cover. I knew I wanted to have the final images on large format as this felt right for the subject matter and detail within the landscapes. I also wanted the images to be presented in large scale and large format is best placed for this to retain as much quality as possible when taking prints large. I also really enjoy the pace of large format and the fact the lenses are fixed focal lengths, it forces me to be more patient and considerate about what I am doing and to really focus on composition. 

What are your career plans? The aim and intention is to continue to grow and progress as a photographic artist, and to push forward with developing bodies of work for exhibition and publication. I am currently in the process of researching several projects of which I am incredibly excited about. I believe I have some very captivating narratives to put out there and hopefully I can do this in a visually compelling way. I want people who engage with my work to feel compelled to enter into wider discussion and debate about its subject.

Photograd's Online Gallery

Officially launching on Friday 14th September 2018.

Photograd_online_gallery.jpg
  • Submissions via email only to photogradonlinegallery@gmail.com
  • Open to photography students and graduates from UK based university courses only. No exceptions.
  • A maximum of 10 JPG images at 96dpi and 12 inches on the longest side.
  • A series description of no more than 150 words should be supplied.
  • A website link and relevant social media handles should be included, alongside university and graduation year.
  • We ask that a small donation is made if images are selected for our online gallery to support the Photograd platform in moving forward.

For further terms and conditions to agree to before submitting please click here.

 

We are hopeful that in the future we will be able to invite guest curators to select work and for industry professionals to take a look at our online exhibitions. We may even run the occasional themed call out and some of the work might even make it to print for physical exhibitions, who knows. We are excited for what our new online gallery could turn into.

Photograd Instagram Takeovers

We'd like to introduce you to our brand new interactive Instagram Takeover calendar!


Photography graduates and students are eligible to takeover the Photograd Instagram account. Please contact us first to discuss your takeover before scheduling yourself in.

We ask that each photographer who takes over the Photograd Instagram is active in sharing images and using Stories.

The next available spot doesn't always need to be taken, so be sure to consider when you'd like to promote your work. We can't always successfully re-schedule so think carefully.

We prefer takeovers to run from Monday - Thursday. Once we've confirmed you're good to go, you just need to click on the Monday you'd like to start and add your name in then send us an image we can promote your takeover with. Guidelines and log-in details will be supplied a few days before you're due to join us.

The calendar also shows a few other exciting things like upcoming Spotlight's and Features.

Please email us with any questions or queries in regards to taking over our account.

Introducing Spectrum Photographic Graduate Discount!

 

 

The wonderful team at Spectrum Photographic are now giving 20% graduate discount 🎉

Up until the end of the year that students graduate, 20% discount is applied, and for the year following, 10% discount is applied. All you need to do is sign up via Spectrum's Student Page, or head over to their website for more info.

A must for all soon to be graduates!

Photograd Experience: Paris Wood

We think it's really important for graduates or students to share their experiences within the photographic industry. Not only does it allow those interested to share their achievements and experiences, but we hope for it to encourage others. We've caught up with current UCA student Paris Wood, who has a lot to say about what she's achieved over the years. We really think everybody can get something from what she's written!


I’m currently a third year photography student at UCA, Farnham in Surrey. My work mainly focuses on documentary style photography, and I’m really intrigued by social classes, people and geographical locations. Some of my latest projects have included a study of my family home with 10 people living under one roof, and my most latest project studied the area I’m currently living in during term time in Farnham.

The area is a massive change from where I live back home in Norfolk, but I love it and don’t want to leave! Farnham isn’t too far to travel to London, so I wanted to make use of this connection to gain experience in the city.

A recent series about family

A recent series about family

During our second year, one of our units, Professional Futures, encouraged us to go out and get relevant work experience. Me, still not having a clue what I wanted to do in life, took this opportunity to get a short, months worth internship at a photo syndication agency in London - Lickerish Ltd. I found this opportunity through the AOP’s jobs shop.

Having had NO previous experience, not even a part time job, I was literally thrown in the deep end and had to help and push myself to get anywhere. I was in contact with Arlene at Lickerish and had a casual interview not long after my initial email. Lickerish is based on Riding House Street, London, and a small, friendly office with roughly 6 people working each day.

During my internship I was shown how Lickerish works. Most of my days were spend key wording, on Adobe Bridge, fashion week photographs from their photographers to be uploaded to the website. I was surprised by the detail needed to be included in each image to be uploaded, but this key for detail was something I really enjoyed, despite most calling it a tedious job! I ran a few errands, and helped out with scanning magazines in which our photographers images were in.

A recent series about family

A recent series about family

I also helped out with a few photo searches which came in via email when clients needed a specific photo. Lickerish also gave me the chance to meet one of their photographers - Holly Mcglynn - and help out on a shoot with her. Despite not particularly loving the idea of assisting a shoot, Holly was lovely to work with and I was super thankful for the opportunity to experience assisting.

Due to costs, I travelled into London 4 days a week for just over a month and was paid half of my travel money back. This routine was just what I needed and was my first break into the experience I really needed to get any further with my search for what I wanted to do in life!

Leading on from this, I found another opportunity through Twitter to work with Empowering Futures. Laura contacted me by phone later that day explaining what exactly Empowering Futures does, and got me involved immediately! Empowering Futures ‘conects entrepreneurs and university students to collaborate on specific projects.’ I went into London for a chat with Laura and an entrepreneur she matched me up with. Unfortunately this meeting wasn't a success, and i just wasn't the right candidate, with the entrepreneur realising he maybe needed more than a university students help. Despite this, is was a good experience meeting new people, and I ended up working with Laura to create some Infographics for her company. I also attended a Branding Workshop with Laura which was incredibly useful and is something that is open to all university students, studying any subject.

Having at least some kind of experience on my back, I went on to volunteering in an art gallery, the New Ashgate Gallery, Farnham, which I’m currently involved with, and a great insight into the gallery world. I’ve also got myself involved with an online magazine The Urban Watch and blogger Haylie Rubery from Frock Me Im Famous.

 
At the gallery

At the gallery

 

Both of these opportunities are great, each in their own way. Laura at The Urban Watch Magazine met me for a coffee in London and we discussed what we both wanted to achieve. I wanted experience of running a start up magazine, and Laura wanted help with social media and creation of a media kit for the site. Frock Me Im Famous’ Haylie took me our for lunch in London and said she wanted some social media, Pinterest ‘pinning’ help and typography/graphic overlays on her images to upload to the blog and use on Pinterest. Both these opportunities are on going and I complete remotely which keeps costs of travelling down.

For the time being, I shall continue with my current opportunities, and I'm still on the look out for other things I can get involved with. I’ve also just co-founded a new, online photography magazine - Untitled Collective which showcases the work of aspiring photographic artists and aims to connect, support and collaborate with other artists. Untitled Collective is always open to photographic or written submissions!

At the gallery

At the gallery

I said at one point I wanted to go on to compete an MA, but I just cant see this happening. At the minute, I just love meeting new people, getting involved with different projects and companies, and just want to get myself out there! I’ve loved my time studying photography at university, and it’s given me the confidence in the art side of things to go out and find what I want to do. When I’ve graduated, I hope to continue with the online photography magazine - Untitled Collective; get myself involved with more opportunities and internships, and hopefully soon, find what I really want to be doing!

My main advice would be to not worry too much about what you want to do in life. I’ve never had a clue what I wanted to do, and choosing photography as my BA degree was out of not knowing what else to do! My parents told me that I should take the opportunity to go to university for the experience, and I can say it has built me up as a person incredible amounts. I have no clue what I’d be doing with my life if I hadn't gone! During holiday breaks, take the opportunity to get in touch with people you know, or have industry contacts to get yourself relevant experience as it's so incredibly important these days. Even if it's something short and simple, to say you have pushed yourself to take on opportunities is something that will push you further and further!

In terms of things I find really useful - I subscribe to SO MANY email subscriptions, and not just related to photography! Any company you like, subscribe to them - you never know what opportunities may arise! I highly recommend Twitter, Diary Directory, The AOP and Fashion Workie for finding relatable opportunities.

Festival Report Call Out! Unveil’d Photo Festival. 20th - 23rd October, Exeter.

 
 

Unveil’d is a not-for-profit organisation, celebrating contemporary photography through intermittent events, bringing together photographers, collectives, publishers and professionals to create and commission exhibitions, book fairs, workshops and a physical space for discussion.

Each member of the team have a background or contemporary practice in photography, including arts management, curatorship, education and publishing and share in the organisation’s understanding that photography is a widely accessible medium. Utilising this to effect the aim of using diverse spaces to share photography with a wider audience, engaging communities and the public.

Unveil'd seeks collaboration and wishes to open opportunities, encouraging proposals from individuals, organisations and galleries.

This October, Unveil'd will host a multi-location photography festival throughout the city of Exeter featuring exhibitions, talks, workshops, film screenings, a photobook fair and music.

Together with Unveil'd, we're calling out for an enthusiastic, dedicated, and dependable UK based photography graduate to report on the festival in October. The team have very generously given us one free ticket to assign to the chosen reporter, giving them access to all events taking place within the festival. The Festival Report will need to consist of words documenting the visit and lots of images to coincide. An Instagram Takeover is also an option. The completed blog post will then be cross promoted by both ourselves and Unveil'd once live.

To put yourself forward, simply send an email to photogradsub@gmail.com with your name, the university you studied at and year you graduated, your website link and any relevant social media handles.

 

Don't forget to follow Unveil'd on Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with the festival prep!

To find out more about how to be a part of Photograd, check out our Submit page. You might even like to check out the Unveil'd 2016 Photobook Award which is currently open for submissions. The winning prize is a solo-show, which will be designed and curated specifically around the photographer's needs, five titles will be shortlisted. We strongly urge you to submit your work; we'll be featuring the winner and runners-up on the Photograd platform later in the year, and we're really excited!

The Photography Show

Our friends over at The Photography Show are putting on another exciting event this year in Birmingham. As well as workshops, seminars, exhibitions, and photo-walks, they’ve organised some talks from photographers including Alec Soth, Bruce Gilden, and David Bailey. The student programme at this year’s event can be attended for free by those who are currently studying; we think some of you guys might be interested in what The Photography Show is really about this year...

Taking place at the NEC Birmingham 19-22 March, The Photography Show is an unmissable event for anyone with a passion for taking pictures. Dedicated to everything photography, you will be able to discover the latest kit available and the best deals on the market from 200 leading brands, including Nikon, Canon, Leica, Manfrotto, Calumet, Sony and Ricoh to name a few. 

With so much to see and do at the show, we’ve picked out a few highlights we thought might interest you… 

The clue is in the title when it comes to the host of photography heroes we have in store for the Super Stage, including internationally renowned street photographer Bruce Gilden and social media sensation Dan Rubin. Iconic British photographer David Bailey has already sold-out so make sure you book your place before it’s too late. Although not by name, the other stages and programmes at the show are equally as super! Whichever genre of photography you’re interested in, Behind the Lens will have a session for you; from taking photos of the wildlife on your doorstep to to becoming the editor of your blog.  

New this year, is the Turning Pro Masterclass, which is ideal for those practicing a high level of photography and looking to take the leap from enthusiast to pro. The half day programme of sessions will help you to understand the pros and cons to being a professional photographer.  We’re also running 60 Seconds to Change Your Life, an exciting competition seeking a talented individual to fast-track into a pro career and win a package worth over £15,000!

Plus, the programme for the Mobile and Social Stage has just been announced - be one of the first to check it out. The sessions on this stage will examine how best to take advantage of the opportunities that come with mobile photography and social media, how others have achieved success and how to capture and edit quality shots using different devices and formats. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this taster of what you can expect at The Photography Show this year. With so much more, from the Wedding & Portrait Stage and Adobe Theatre, to galleries, workshops and product demos, it’s going to be a fantastic show – we hope to see you there!    

You can find out more about what’s on at The Photography Show and to book tickets here http://www.photographyshow.com/homePhotograd