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.


Ellen Stewart PG 01.jpg
Ellen Stewart PG 02.jpg

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. 

Ellen Stewart PG 06.jpg

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.

Ellen Stewart PG 07.jpg

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. 

Ellen Stewart PG 03 (1).jpg
Ellen Stewart PG 08.jpg

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. 

Introducing Landform

In this blog post we introduce you to Landform, a network developed to promote and support the work of female landscape photographers. Supporting each other in practice and engagement with landscape.


Image by Lisa Bond

Image by Lisa Bond

Who are you, what’s your motto? I am Cath Stanley, a landscape and fine art photographer based in Manchester.  I am one of the members of FORM Collective, a relatively new collective who has just completed a successful first year.

What’s your background? Have you studied photography? I graduated with a creative arts degree and have taught graphics and photography in further education for the last 17 years. Having taught in an art department you become quite familiar with many creative techniques, my last project took on a more mixed media style.

I am part of FORM collective, a group of talented photographers and image makers from across the UK.  Last year we put together our first exhibition at the collective hub as part of Brighton Photo Fringe.  

Image by Cath Stanley

Image by Cath Stanley

What’s your favourite style of photography? That is a difficult question, I actually like and appreciate a lot of different styles of photography. Although my main work is based in the area of landscape, I often find great interest in alternative photography techniques, I like the aesthetic of film and some of the camera-less methods. I like photography with an interesting story behind it, something that opens conversations or raises questions, expresses a point of view or just simply engages the audience in different ways.  

Who motivates you? I love travel and adventure, I like exploring and different types of landscape really motivate me. I have always been a bit of a daydreamer and spent quite a bit of my early education staring out of the window at the outdoors. The idea of just being able to lose yourself amongst mist shrouded mountains, or explore wild moors, see sun rays beaming through clouds or capture forests of tightly knit trees, it is the landscape itself gives me a real sense of wellbeing. Sometimes I return to locations and document the change in seasonal colours as this particularly interests me.

Image by Joanne Coates

Image by Joanne Coates

Can you tell us what Landform is? I set up Landform as a network to develop, promote and support the work of female photographers who are interested in landscape. Through social media, meet ups at various locations around the UK, photo walks, portfolio/work reviews, workshops and possible exhibitions it is my aim to support others in our practice and engagement with landscape.

Landform aims to bring female photographers together, of all levels and abilities, to encourage a supportive group, to share good practice and skills, whilst exploring new areas within the landscape as a group. 

What were your initial aims and inspirations when putting ideas together for Landform? There are lots of reasons to why I set up Landform, firstly landscape photography can be quite solitary and some of the best light to capture during the day is tricky especially if you live in a city. Having a community, a group of like-minded individuals to support and share good practice with means we can explore and engage new locations safely.  

There is also a real imbalance of female photographers to males in industry, with just under 30%, maybe even less in landscape. As a female landscape photographer, full time teacher and a mum it is very hard to gain a balance, to juggle all the responsibilities to just be able to drop everything and go out to take photographs. Most importantly that no matter what your photographic ability is or whether using a mobile phone, I would like Landform to be open to all.

Image by Lisa Bond

Image by Lisa Bond

What is Landforms biggest achievement to date? Landform is very much within its infancy, but I have had overwhelming support from both other photography networks and groups of people who are interested in supporting or joining me at events. I am a big fan of using social media to share other peoples accounts and promote work, I think that sometimes as photography can be quite isolated and using social media can be for some quite daunting it is difficult to become lost, especially as landscape photography is so popular. I have received so many positive and heart-warming messages from followers who are genuinely surprised that I have shared their accounts. 

Image by Joanne Coates

Image by Joanne Coates

How can photographers get involved in what you do? Landform on Instagram offers a place for female landscape photographers or image makers of any level to share their images, it is a platform to promote their work and a space that is a supportive community for other like-minded individuals.   

Later this year I am running a series of social meet ups and photo walks out in the Peak District and other locations, building our community and enabling individuals to meet, share good practice, create new opportunities 

Image by Cath Stanley

Image by Cath Stanley

Give one tip to new photography graduates? Opportunities, take opportunities and then create opportunities for others because everyone needs a bit of help just to grow and to believe in themselves.

What does 2019 have in store for Landform? As Landform is still in its very early stages I am hoping to establish a community and the support for others grows both on social media and on photo walks.

Introducing Findr

In this blog post we introduce you to findr, a brand new platform supporting photographers and finding them work. They simplify the search and booking process of photographers for work by giving direct access through their platform.

Findr can help if you are a photographer or need a photographer!

 
 

What is findr? Findr is an online booking platform through which photographers can showcase their skills and find more work. It was created for photographers, by photographers who grew tired of the unnecessary struggles that come with marketing oneself, finding clients, and arranging bookings. Findr aims at making it easier for photographers to find work that fits around their schedules, while still respecting their independence and artistic freedom.

Who are you? What's your photographic background? I am a photographer and picture editor from Edinburgh. I worked in the press industry for 15 years. I particularly enjoy portraiture, and marketing and events photography that gives me the ability to tell stories for the clients.

How did the platform emerge? The platform emerged from the need to create a solution to an everyday problem I faced as a picture editor: how to quickly and simply find photographers I could trust to work on projects I was involved in.

Image by Harry Spekter

Image by Harry Spekter

Who's behind Findr? Tell us about the team. Findr is made of a small team of people dedicated to improving the landscape of commissioned photography. The technology is created by Ben, Josh, and Rob, while the operational excellence is handled by Alex, Christian, and Pauline. And, of course, we'd be nothing without the community of over 3,000 amazing photographers we're lucky enough already be working with!

Who would you ideally like to get involved with Findr? We're looking for hardworking, reliable, and creative photographers interested in accelerating or improving their careers and in working with a growing list of great brands through findr.

Image by Michael Sheridan

Image by Michael Sheridan

How can people go about being part of the platform? It's super easy and quick! Head over to www.findr.me and create your photographer profile. You can add your portfolio, all the services you offer, and manage your own schedule.

Who is Findr's audience? Findr is meant for a community of professional photographers and clients who love and benefit from good photography.

What are the benefits of being part of or using Findr? New work, new opportunities, so little hassle! By signing up to work with findr, you join a direct route to work without any of the hardships that come along with being a freelance photographer, and companies receive an efficient management system for their projects.

Image by Pooyan

Image by Pooyan

What does Findr's future look like? Here at findr, we love to dream big! Our goal is to become the global marketplace for professional photographers and customers on an international scale.

Follow findr on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Featuring 2018 photography graduates

New Photograd content | Supporting 2018 photography graduates from UK based courses.

This summer Photograd are supporting a number of 2018 photography graduates from UK based courses through interviews, sharing of work, and promotion to a much wider audience. Selected from a recent call for work across social media were, in total, 12 new graduates who we are sharing the work of. We're appreciating some noticeable trends in photography over the last couple of years and new content on the Photograd platform brings you still life, responses to current affairs, exploration of family heritage, and industrial effects upon the landscape.


University of the West of England graduate Tom Roche presents his series Black Blood on the Photograd Spotlight in which he explores his own Romany Gypsy heritage through stories and speculation. We asked Tom about his university experience, his use of photography to find a sense of 'home', and his future plans, in particular how he will make Black Blood interestingly presented on the web.

The documentary collection of archival images, and both medium and large format prints, presented together provoke some interesting thoughts about family, heritage, and the future. 

Images from the series  Black Blood  by Tom Roche

Images from the series Black Blood by Tom Roche

3.jpg

 

We selected Norwich University of the Arts graduate Holly Farndell to takeover the Photograd Instagram at the end of July with her documentary work.

"Golden Promise was created from Autumn through to Spring as a documentation of light and the changing of seasons. With a short escape from grey old England to sun-washed Spain, it is an observation of my experience with seasonal affective disorder and coping with the light and darkness of life."

You can follow along to find out more about Holly and her work from Sunday 29th July - Saturday 4th August.

Images from the series  Golden Promise  by Holly Farndell

Images from the series Golden Promise by Holly Farndell

lemonbox.jpg

 

Falmouth University graduate Caterina Lombardi presents us with her series SATIS on the Photograd Spotlight. In here interview, Caterina presents her still life images and accompanying video. Caterina takes inspiration from traditional still life paintings and intends to educate the viewer on certain current affairs. Each of her images are uniquely titled in Latin to give everybody the opportunity to decipher subject matter.

ABORTUS IURA  from the series  SATIS  by Falmouth University graduate  Caterina Lombardi

ABORTUS IURA from the series SATIS by Falmouth University graduate Caterina Lombardi

OBSTETRICANTE VIOLENTIAM  from the series  SATIS  by Falmouth University graduate  Caterina Lombardi

OBSTETRICANTE VIOLENTIAM from the series SATIS by Falmouth University graduate Caterina Lombardi

 

Nine highly commended 2018 photography graduates from UK based courses were also selected from this call for work to be represented on the Photograd blog. These bodies of work stood out to us for many reasons and we took this opportunity to share them.

Miguel Proença ,  The Buzzer (ZhUOZ)

Miguel ProençaThe Buzzer (ZhUOZ)

Luke Hurlock ,  Tokamak Fusion

Luke HurlockTokamak Fusion

Chiara Avagliano ,  Val Paradiso

Chiara AvaglianoVal Paradiso

University of Westminster graduate Luke Hurlock presents Tokamak Fusion which documents the current state of advancements in the field of nuclear fusion research. The word Tokamak comes from the Russian Toroidalnaya Kamera I Magnitnaya Katushka (Toroidal Chamber and Magnetic Coil) an is in reference to the fusion devices used by the leading fusion experiments. The images in this project aim to both intrigue and inform the viewer on the progress of a future technology that promises to solve one of humanity’s biggest problems, clean renewable energy production.

 

London College of Communication graduate Chiara Avagliano explores the places she grew up in Val Paradiso. "

The mountain scenery blends with the hills of the countryside colliding in a space inhabited by childhood memories, magical encounters, teenage adventures, mystical experiences, idealised love and a magical bond between girls that echoes ancient rituals and witchcraft. 

The fictional documentary work is a coming of age tale, retold from different points of view. 

Personal experiences are narrated and transformed, almost becoming legends whispered softly, from mouth to mouth, from me to my half-sister and her girlfriends."

Introducing Illuminate

Illuminate, a photography organisation aimed at providing a network and a platform to quality photographic practice in Hull. 


Who are you, what's your motto? Illuminate is a photography network based in Hull and East Yorkshire where I am from. It was founded by myself, Verity Adriana, and fellow Hull artist Anna Bean back in 2014 after each of us had spoken at Redeye in Manchester. We agreed that Hull needed a network for the photographic talent that exists there to find support and opportunities. There are photography galleries and clubs in Hull but we felt there was a gap that Illuminate could help with, given our experience in the art world and our teaching experience. 

Image by  Verity Adriana
Image by  Anna Bean

Image by Anna Bean

Have you studied photography? What are your thoughts? I have studied photography at Leeds Arts University at postgraduate level, which was a fantastic experience not only at allowing me to develop my own practice but to seek out opportunities and commissions. It wasn't until I was putting my work in front of people that I became more confident and developed further as an artist. I consider my self a photographic artist and focus on the artistic practice of photography. I have had pieces exhibited in America, Italy, London and Hull and have been published in Lungs, Art Reveal, Yorkshire Art Journal and Guardian Online. I currently work at Coventry University on the Guardian ranked no1 Photography degree in the country as Assistant Lecturer, a job I love!

What is Illuminate? Where did the idea arise from? What has the group achieved so far? Illuminate is a photography network based in Hull that is run by myself, Verity Adriana and was co founded with Anna Bean. We knew there was a gap in the photography scene in Hull for local artists to showcase their talent and provide them with opportunities. Having both worked as lecturers for many years we knew how to nurture talent and help people develop. Once you have learned how to use a camera, what can you do with it? How can you express your ideas or document what you are interested in? We began by putting out a call out in Hull and surrounding areas for people to come and speak at our first event, Illuminate: Speak. We were overwhelmed with applications of all kinds of levels of experience and genre. We ran our first presentation event, where eight Hull based photographer each spoke about their work to a room full of the Illuminate audience. This was so popular that we ran two more events and featured artists such as Graeme Oxby, Rich Wiles, Saskia Blacker and Les Monaghan to name but a handful. Illuminate has showcased the work of various photographic practitioners of international acclaim and hobbyists alike; we are particularly interested in artists that show a sophistication of ideas and development as well as technical ability. 

31318344_1900405483345672_7605977302681255936_n.jpg

Tell us more about Project Legacy 2018 and your successful funding bid. From there I wrote a project based on an idea Anna had seen work for another organisation, where we would commission two artists as well as ourselves, to produce a body of work that investigates the legacy of the City of Culture post 2017 in Hull. We put another call out in on social media and selected two artists called Anete Soda and Karim Skalli, (both Hull based and photography graduates), whose proposals we felt were the most interesting in how they would explore the idea of the impact of the city of culture in Hull's makers, public,  artists, venues, spaces and places, businesses and developments. It is obviously very early to really understand the full potential of the legacy however this project will be interesting in how it can explore the early days, and in a way is becoming part of the legacy itself, by continuing to explore and produce art in Hull that is about the city.

Images by  Karim Skalli

Images by Karim Skalli

Skalli.png

We are passionate about paying artists, rather than expecting that they work for free or for 'exposure'. So I put together a successful funding bid sent to Hull City Council, and we can now pay each artist a small fee to make the work. I will be looking at other sources of funding also, as we will need further resources when it comes to production and exhibition time! 

Can people get involved with what you are doing? If so, how? Absolutely, we plan on having public events, discussions and engagement. So far the project is in its infancy, or development phase, so as we build and progress what we are doing we are putting out a series of posts online across the website and social media, introducing each artist and their ideas and practice. I would encourage everyone to follow us, not only to see who we are and what we are doing, but how they can engage with future events and contribute to the project.

Sooda5.jpg
Images by  Anete Sooda

Images by Anete Sooda

What does the group have planned for the future? For the immediate future we plan on each artist developing our projects, researching and making images. I am deep in the research stages, and have been lucky enough to speak to city planners, historians, artists and even the mayor in Londonderry, the previous hosts of City of Culture - as well as reading up on culture, arts and photographic practice in culture. As a group we will be producing resolved works by December and plan to exhibit in spring 2019 in Hull. I have also contacted the Culture team in Coventry so that potentially the exhibition could travel. I also want to find further funding for us to help us produce and exhibit. We have further plans for exhibition time, but for now they are secret and will be announced nearer the time!


Find out more about Illuminate here
@illuminatehull
www.illuminatehull.org

HULL 2017 UK CITY OF CULTURE - HOST CITY LOCK UP - BW - MASTER LOGO bw.png

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.

DSC01355.jpg

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

Sophie Barbasch - Fault Line

For the duration of March we were seeking work from photography graduates alongside Loupe Magazine to reward with a collection of prizes and interviews. A lot of time was spent looking through the submissions and decisions were finally made. Here we present you with our second runner-up!

Sophie Barbasch is based in New York and studied for a MFA in photography at the Rhode Island School of Design and a BA in Art and Art History at Brown University. We've interviewed Sophie here about the series Fault Line.


Fault Line is a project I am doing in the small coastal town of Brooklin, Maine. The protagonist is my younger cousin Adam, who lives there. I also photograph my brother, father, and other cousins. I chose the title because a fault line alludes to where the earth splits in an earthquake (a metaphor for a divided family with a complicated history) and also alludes to fault, or blame (I wonder, how does a family support each other, even when things aren't perfect?) My goal is to show the weight we all carry and how we are both connected and isolated from each other.

Image from the series  Fault Line

Image from the series Fault Line

Can you introduce yourself? What and where did you study? What's your motto? I’m a New York based photographer. I grew up here, and I also lived in Providence where I got my BA at Brown and my MFA at RISD. I don’t know if I have a motto per se, but I think it’s important to laugh as much as possible. In terms of work, I think a lot about how you just have to keep going, always, no matter what!  

Give us an overview of your work. What themes do you like to explore? Regardless of the project I have a preoccupation with the dissolution of structure. In my work, there is usually tension between a desired/expected outcome and an actual/different outcome. I like images because they elude the structure and clarity of language—but even in my text-based projects, I emphasise words that have multiple connotations. I make collections of writing with pieces that undo, or undermine, the other component parts (i.e. there is a building up of meaning, or an argument being made, that is then undone). This undermining of expectation, or structure, is not always negative/nihilistic. It’s just my way of addressing life’s ambiguity.

Image from the series  Fault Line

Image from the series Fault Line

What encouraged you to submit to the Loupe Magazine and Photograd call for work? Have you got any tips for photographers submitting work for similar opportunities? I really like both Loupe and Photograd so when I saw the call for work I was immediately interested. In terms of tips, I don’t think I’m the right person to ask! I submit to a lot of things, and rejection is almost a daily occurrence. I guess the key is just persistence, as with most things.

How did this series come to the surface? What initially drew you to the coastal town of Brooklin? I have family there so it has always been important to me. I started the project for a few different reasons. I was finishing up grad school with a lot of questions and issues that I felt like I needed to address in my work, and this project seemed to be a good fit. I was getting to know my cousin better as both a person and a photo collaborator and wanted to work more with him. And I had been traveling and moving around a lot in the years prior, which left me wanting to return to a home base of sorts.

Image from the series  Fault Line

Image from the series Fault Line

Is it important you use your family as characters in your work? What were their thoughts on your ideas? For a while I was trying to address elements of my childhood in my work but the connection wasn’t direct enough. I decided to use my family members and to think of them as characters that inhabit this place and develop over time. It started with a few images that seemed to get at what I was feeling, and then I realised that my cousin Adam was a good protagonist for the project because he seemed to share my experience and outlook. I speak the most to him and my other cousins about the project. Although they are not photographers, they are all artistic (musicians, writers, performers) so it is intuitive to them. I usually have the initial idea, but they help me develop it by improvising in the moment and suggesting other things. They motivate me and collaborate with me.

Image from the series  Fault Line

Image from the series Fault Line

Where did you final visual influence for Fault LineJo Ann Callis, Andrea Modica, Viviane Sassen, Ingmar Bergman, Collier Schorr, Jo Ann Walters.

As family and relationships continue to evolve, do you think you can ever call this series complete? I don’t think it will ever be complete. I think the longer you work on a project, the harder it gets—the more complex things get. This mirrors reality and relationships. You have to examine more of yourself and show more of others. I think of this series in chapters. Even when one chapter ends, there is another beginning.

Image from the series  Fault Line

Image from the series Fault Line

What are your future plans? I’m currently working on a project about the construction of a railroad in Brazil. As for the future future—I’m not sure! Projects tend to lead into each other, but sometimes it’s hard to know what it is until it’s almost finished.