Hull International Photography Festival

5th October to 28th October 2018, from The Creative & Cultural Company

HIP Fest may well be the country’s biggest annual Photography festivals and it returns for a 5th year. Turning the city’s largest shopping mall into a cultural centre for the whole month, 12 major exhibitions in converted galleries will stand alongside the usual outfitters, boutiques and chains. It is this unique venue that helped account for  8600 visits to the festival last year.

New for 2018

PhotoCity come to Hull for the opening weekend, following on from their PhotoCity London exhibition & trade show close by St Paul's Cathedral. 

Partners Fujiholics & Redeye will be facilitating on the opening weekend, which will feature more workshops, masterclasses and photowalks than ever before. Making 50 events over the month.

Festival highlights


POP, by legendary photographer Brian Griffin, features his music photography and album covers from the UK’s post punk and new wave music scene

Premier of the intense and personal Stranger In My Mother’s Kitchen exhibition by Celine Marchbank delves the therapeutic power of photography (shortlisted for the Deutsche Bank Photography Awards) 

A world premiere exhibition of fashion icons in Haute Couture to the Birth of Prêt-à-Porter A Fashion Retrospective by Marilyn Stafford

A1 Britain On The Verge by World Press Award-winning photographer  Peter Dench is a homage to Britain’s longest road, captured with Peter’s typical sense of humour and humanity.

50 Workshops and Masterclass include

A masterclass by Youtuber sensation Sean Tucker

Fujiholics director Matt Hart takes us out on a photowalk

Elke Vogelsang is coming from Germany to talk Dogsonality

Tom Stoddart shows how every picture tells a story

HipFest is committed to bringing new talent, and radical and diverse artistic sensibilities, to a curious public. So expect to discover new and intriguing photographers and unforeseen views of the world. There is an open exhibition and learning opportunities for all levels of ability and experience 

This year HIP FEST supports Care International’s Lendwithcare Campaign and will have an exhibition from 5 international women photographers to raise awareness. 

Alan Raw Curator & Festival Director said:

“In just five years, HIP Fest has established its credentials as one of the most significant photography events in Europe.  Thanks to our fabulous volunteers we have put together a stunning celebration of photography for 2018. I am particularly looking forward to welcoming Celine Marchbank and Marilyn Stafford to HIPFest, their work highlights the contribution female photographers have made, and are making, to this most democratic of art forms. There will be something for everyone and plenty to learn, do and enjoy.”

A £5 entry ticket (wristband) gives access to all exhibitions, discussions, the HIPfest Prize Draw, on-site discounts and access to many of the workshops. Premier workshops, master-classes and portfolio reviews require individual additional tickets, available on Eventbrite.

For further details of the festival visit or email:

bigtv advert hipfest new.jpg

Foundation Exhibition by Chrono Collective

Foundation Exhibition is a celebration of the best photographic talent nurtured in the South West. Featuring work from graduates, and current undergraduates, the exhibition showcases a variety of work and styles, all rooted in the South West where the photographers studied.


Accompanying the exhibition, artist talks held by Sian Davey and Oliver Udy will begin at 4pm on Saturday 28th April. Sian will be discussing her new book Martha, and talking about her experience of publishing and working with galleries. After Sian, Oliver will be talking about his project Anthology of Rural Life and his processes on creating the expansive body of work.

You can purchase tickets here.

Jessa Fairbrother: Hothouse Birmingham

Towards the end of last year we caught up with some of the speakers from the line up at Hothouse Birmingham. This time around we've spoken to University of Westminster graduate Jessa Fairbrother who has introduced us to her series Conversations with my mother. We've unravelled a real interest in Jessa's work and we hope you enjoy reading about her experience of speaking about it in Birmingham last year.

Series Statement:

Conversations with my mother.

This is my story of severance..

It explores the relationship I had with my mother and my own inability to become one. It is a photographic performance of being cut from the role of the daughter while at the same time denied a maternal role to shape my future.

We had been tentatively making work together using a single disposable camera, taking photographs of our own lives. I would take one and send the camera to her in the post; she would do the same. We tried to communicate through this process. 

Not long after my fertility began to unravel. I was unable to concentrate on my story because it was then we both found out she was going to die. 

From the series  Conversations with my mother

From the series Conversations with my mother

I dismantled my existing life to relocate and care for her, my second parent dying of cancer. In the immediate moment I was concerned with the gesture to record her as she was but felt the photograph's inability to do this. I photographed myself responding to the surroundings, to negotiating space. Once or twice I asked my mother to photograph me, echoing the way we had used a camera only a few months before. I tried to make sense of things that had no sense except sadness.

I jostled with several personas during this period - wife, daughter, sister, artist. I gained new roles and became Carer. I became child-less…. or child-free. We strived to understand and love each other more completely; we looked at each other seeking resemblance, resentment, entanglement and reliance. I became Orphan. 

An orphan. 

I put on her chemotherapy wig afterwards – it was the only thing that smelled of her. I burned, buried and embellished photographs of us. I performed my grief and began to stitch.

I cried a lot for her. I cried for my loss of feeling the hug of her body, her touch, her laugh. I cried in sorrow at the abrupt suspension of future narratives, for the mother I would not hold again and for the child who would never hold me.

Images from the series  Conversations with my mother

Images from the series Conversations with my mother

You and your work: I am an artist using photography, based in Bristol. A brief overview of how I got to this point includes a degree in English, a stint of unsuccessful acting attempts, a fall into journalism (where I discovered my love of photography) and teaching. Both my parents were artists but I did everything to avoid this myself... although it was probably inevitable I would end up forging this path of my own eventually.

When starting my own visual work it was rooted in documentary practice - due to the influence of being a journalist I suspect. It wasn't until half way through studying my MA at the University of Westminster that I began to physically include myself, fundamentally changing my direction. I was thinking through ideas about happy endings, performance, the appeal of clichés, romance as a structure... but I was struggling with the ‘things’ I was actually photographing: I couldn’t get a handle on what it was I was looking for. One day, in a tutorial, I began to talk about the dress a boyfriend had given me when I was 21... it seemed a little ‘wedding-y’ - which was why I had never worn it.  A friend suggested I put it on and photograph myself in it.  I did - that was the start of how my practice transformed: a light suddenly went on.

Images from the series  Conversations with my mother

Images from the series Conversations with my mother

I started searching for communal meanings defined and given shape through the presence of a figure: I use(d) my own to express this,  concentrating on treating the body as a mortal vessel upon which experience physically imprints itself. My stitch and mark-making I do now is emblematic of this. I am at my most comfortable making work occupying various mediums - I use them to extend the image-object beyond a single time and space. 

Influences, style, and genre: There is a core group of artists that have anchored me, including Hannah Wilke, Carolee Schneemann, Elaine Reichek, Mary Kelly, Rose English, Ana Mendieta, the archive photographs of the Salpȇtrière Asylum… I’m also really drawn to American quilts and whatever I see in the Victoria and Albert Museum! Most things filter in and out when I make my own work. I love Instagram for finding things. I read a lot when researching and go to see as much as I can. 

I am concerned with the fragility of the body, how it hovers on the edge of being both here and not here - how its failure is simple. My interest in performance within familiar structures is a way of trying to ward off this inevitable frailty. When I began to embroider work I literally and metaphorically punctured the skin of the photograph - this became representative of the body for me.

Images from the series  Conversations with my mother

Images from the series Conversations with my mother

It has always been important for me to make emotional work.  Maybe this stems from my original desire to perform, translating personal feelings from the inside to an unknown audience. 

I use film, mostly printing from negatives: I only really make the one object - it makes more sense that way. I’ve recently managed to get back in the darkroom and do some printing myself which allows me more room for experimentation - there is less fear of marking my prints afterwards. With bigger work though I will need some help.

The main practical feature of my working method is how to protect my fingers! When I am sewing they get really sore. I have all sorts of tricks... Recently I got rubber thimbles, and ‘spray-on’ plaster liquid helps protect them a bit. There are some wonderful quilter’s gloves I found which are really thin with rubber tips - they are the best of all. It's a balance of protection and keeping the ability to feel the paper, without getting grease on it. Especially when I work with tracing paper, which is a nightmare for marks.

Images from the series  Conversations with my mother

Images from the series Conversations with my mother

The Talk: I did the talk at Redeye’s Hothouse event because I met Paul [Hermann] many years ago when I had moved to Sheffield and was looking for photography networks I could plug into within travelling distance. We kept in touch through various things - he’s been to Photobook Bristol a few times, which I have been involved with since I moved here, and it’s a small world - our paths are always crossing. When I thought it was a good time to start talking about this particular body of work publicly, Hothouse seemed a good way to do that. I was really touched by the response - the audience were very sensitive to it which moved me a great deal and I got some lovely messages afterwards. It is important for me to go to events and be present - I find it much more beneficial than email. People like people.

Future plans: I’m constantly working on something... All my work takes a very long time and there always seems to be research to do or people to contact, as well as the actual embroidery. I have a solo show at the Birmingham City University which I am really looking forward to, opening on January 16th at the Vittoria Street Gallery.

Melanie Letoré: Hothouse Birmingham

As you probably know, we've been in touch with a few speakers from the line up at Hothouse Birmingham. This time around we spoke to Glasgow School of Art graduate, Melanie Letoré, who told us about her series Rectangle Days and her experience of talking about her work. We hope you enjoy what Melanie has to say.

Series Statement: I presented Rectangle Days, a blog on which I try to post a photograph a day, and which came into existence on the 1st of January 2014. Initially it was a blog I shared with my brother. We lived in different countries and wanted to show each other what we were seeing. As neither of us have a smartphone, this systematic online posting was a way of saying “I am thinking about you”. Furthermore, I was interested in seeing how he would take photographs, what he would include in the frame, which subjects he would choose. I was already familiar with my visual language, and I was curious to see his. 

Quite quickly, the blog became mine only, and has been for quite a while. It keeps me visually awake in my daily life, always searching for interesting subjects, colour, light, places and actions. At the end of each day, there is an editing process to choose my daily image. One day I will take a single image, another day three hundred. At the end of the year, a more extensive editing process takes place, from which other projects are born. The first year, I made a publication, and the second, a hinged photography installation requiring the public’s interaction, whereby the audience could touch the photographs to see the full exhibition.

From the series  Rectangle Days

From the series Rectangle Days

Rectangle Days is an open-ended recording, a live contact sheet and an endeavour to better understand the world. 

In 2014 there were 272 images, in 2015 there were 244, and 2016 currently has 208. This is probably due to a stricter and more critical editing process.  

You and Your Work: My name is Melanie Letoré and I live in Glasgow. 

I am interested in all the following and much more: places, people, objects, hierarchies, narratives, histories and stories, processes, systems and parameters. When I edit and sequence my images, they talk to me of curiosity, intimacy, memory and light. 

Because these photographs are diary-like, I often wonder if my images are autonomous single entities, or whether their backstory should be revealed, and what dimension this adds to them. If people do not attach my specific personal memories to images, does it matter? How does their reading of my output differ from what I expect it to be? 

From the series   Rectangle Days

From the series Rectangle Days

I have been considering exploring how my images could work with text for a long time. I enjoy writing. I am scared of failing and of creating something meaningless by adding text. I have also been playing with photography’s preciousness and quietly attempting to dismantle it as a way of better understanding the medium. 

For Rectangle Days I use a Canon Powershot G16 or anything available if I don’t have my camera on me (four images in my three years of output were taken on friends’ smartphones). Otherwise I use a Mamiya 645. Truthfully, I haven’t used the latter in over a year; nothing has seemed suitable to it. Since graduating I have let images come to me through my daily activities and at times my photographing has anxiously felt like aimless wandering. For now, I have learnt to accept this meandering; the time will come for me to start hunting for images again. 

From the series   Rectangle Days

From the series Rectangle Days

The Talk: I was attracted to Hothouse Birmingham, organised by Redeye and GRAIN, because it was a forum. People are at the core of my creative process; exchanging, discussing, challenging, engaging photography have been the most crucial part of my learning. I really wanted to attend and speak at an event where those things were key. I also thought it would be a great opportunity to meet and listen to other makers in a new context, away from the community in which I live. It was extremely eye opening to listen to the multiplicity of unfamiliar voices, see another network function and hear about difficulties faced by another photography community and the good things within it. 

Preparing for Hothouse was extremely beneficial, because I had to construct a logical, structured talk and organise my thought process. I have ease and experience in public speaking as a tour guide and a dance teacher, yet I became extremely nervous for this talk – perhaps simply because I was talking about my own work. I thoroughly enjoyed the breadth of questions I was asked, most of which I had never been asked before. I like the fact that I couldn’t quite answer some of them, and that I have been pondering them since the talk.

From the series   Rectangle Days

From the series Rectangle Days

Future Plans: Last year, I was invited to be on the editorial board of the re-launched Scottish photography magazine called NOTES; our first issue came out in November 2016. It has been a joyous adventure, and I am working hard on the second issue.

For my own work, I will continue Rectangle Days, as well as start planning another project. Last June, I biked alone from Glasgow to London. This experience has catalyzed long-standing thoughts around fear, journeys, the body and personal narratives. 

Corinne Perry: Hothouse Birmingham

As promised, we're introducing you to another speaker from the line up at Hothouse Birmingham. Birmingham City University graduate, Corinne Perry, has been featured on the Photograd platform previously; you can find her interview here. We've since kept in touch with Corinne who always has something exciting to tell us about her work. In November, she spoke about her series Wallflower in Birmingham. We hope you enjoy what she has to say about her experience.

Wallflower is currently on exhibit until the 22nd December with UK Young Artists at the University of Derby.

From the series  Wallflower

From the series Wallflower


Series StatementWallflower is an ongoing series of Self-portraiture which was produced in an attempt to rid myself of an ongoing struggle with depression, something I have struggled with since childhood. The self-depictions manifest within the same four walls; my bedroom, the room I believe is the keeper of my trapped and often repressed emotions. A central theme of the work is the merger of my body in relation to these surroundings; often heavily distressed they reveal something of my pain. Within Wallflower this merger suggests an unsettling disturbance between the physical and the psychological boundaries of the interior, alluding to the unsettling suggestion that my body is being physically devoured by its surroundings. The work exhibits influences of a past era with my use of entirely traditional photographic methods. Wallflower was initially produced in 2015 whilst Artist in Residence at Birmingham City Universities’ School of Photography. 


You and Your Work: I am a Self-portrait photographer, creating intimate depictions which I feel are reflections of my natural melancholic temperament. Since graduating from Birmingham City University in 2012, my work has been exhibited at Galleries including TATE Liverpool, Croome Court NT and Oriel Davies Gallery.

My photography is a form of therapy, a personal, emotional and sometimes turbulent struggle with the complexity of personal emotions. I feel my life and art have become entwined and to bury this mental state deep within would allow it to thrive. But through my use of photography as therapy, I am offered a cathartic release. The manifestations of my self-depictions are within the same four walls of my bedroom. This heavily constructed interior transcends into an extension of self, becoming a mental space in which I am able to explore these often deep-rooted emotions in front of the cameras intimate gaze. I have always been interested in photography of a past-era, feeling almost a sense of displacement within this digitally driven age, in which we now live. I am particularly interested in photography of the Victorian period and because of this influence, many of my photographs are intimately hand-coloured. Hand-colouring allows me to add further layers of emotion and pain upon the surface of the gelatin silver print until the image is born, alluding to the tactile and sensory nature of my Self-portraiture. My work is deeply influenced by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Victorian Novella The Yellow Wallpaper which tells the story of a woman’s descent into madness. I feel I can relate something of my emotional state to the woman portrayed within the novella, which is why it’s become such a lasting influence upon my Self-portraiture. 


The Talk: I became involved in the event, because I live within the region and have also previously presented my work with Redeye. Although I have spoken in public about the influence my mental state has upon my Self-portraiture, this was the first talk in which I spoke candidly about my ongoing struggle with depression and mental health. As a person I am quite delicate, and in the past the thought of presenting work, of such a personal nature has at times been daunting. But through experience I am learning to have confidence in my ability. I enjoy the process of preparing for presentations as well as the actual presenting; as I feel there is something incredibly cathartic about undertaking a talk that enables you to really reflect upon your work. Overall the opportunity of presenting Wallflower was a really rewarding and thought provoking experience. I am thankful to Redeye and GRAIN for the opportunity and hope to work with them again in the future. 


Future Plans: As well as experimenting with new concepts, I hope to continue to build upon Wallflower, feeling the opportunity of presenting has enabled reflection upon the series. I am also looking forward to attending mentoring sessions at Oriel Davies Gallery, Wales which are intended to aid both my artistic and professional development. 

Joanne Coates: Hothouse Birmingham

Back in November we selected a few stand out speakers from the line up at Hothouse Birmingham who we wanted to find out more about. Since then, we've caught up with some of them to find out more about their practice, working methods, and experience of giving a talk. We hope you'll find this series of blog posts interesting and inspiring.

First up we're bringing you London College of Communication graduate Joanne Coates and her brand new series of work We Live by Tha' Water. You can read more about Joanne and her work through her Photograd Feature.

Series Statement: I presented work from the series We Live by Tha' Water which I'm currently in the middle of working on. Stories are the foundations of societies and make up who we are. This work is both about the story teller and the story. Islands are often known as places beyond what is visible and beyond what is known. 

From the series  We Live by Tha' Water

From the series We Live by Tha' Water


It's about exploring my mind in the midst of a breakdown, looking at mental erosion and personal anxieties.

It's about remoteness and escapism. 

It's about being drawn to the edge, to the hinterlands of the mind and the land. 

It's the poetic appreciation of island life and a community becoming lost. 

You and Your Work: My name is Joanne Coates and this body of work is called We Live By Tha' Water. My work came from a very documentary canon but I soon found that defining it in such a way held me back. The boundaries we create within photography and the ability of those boundaries to merge are something I'm increasingly interested in. I studied in London and found the experience a little jarring to say the least. I left my home of the Yorkshire moors as soon as I possibly could. However, I found that the main strand running through my work was a connection to place, an appreciation of remoteness and being within a landscape. After graduating I took the somewhat hard decision to remove myself from the centre of the creative industries and make work in those places. I haven't looked back since. My equipment is an aid in storytelling, I'm not overly concerned about my camera, in my personal work I do use film but that's mainly to increase my connection and a fascination with the process. I like using a Rolleiflex as I'm incredibly shy it's helped me interact with my subjects more than any other camera I'd ever used.

From the series   We Live by Tha' Water

From the series We Live by Tha' Water


The Talk: Redeye and GRAIN are incredibly important to me. Both of the networks exist outside of London and are doing really impressive events, providing a space for creatives to meet, to listen, to be heard, to learn and to engage. A platform that was previously missing in the Midlands and the North. To me it's vital to have these networks and for the creative industries to recognise the importance of other places within the UK. Great work is being made all over the UK by people in the North, in the South, in Wales, in Scotland, in Northern Ireland. I'm really sick of seeing people have a dismissive attitude to it. It's something I feel strongly about. If photography is to have a voice it can't just be in London.

From the series   We Live by Tha' Water

From the series We Live by Tha' Water


I'm very aware that public speaking isn't my strong point so opportunities to present and push myself are especially important to me.  I have this strange view about artists talks. I really want people to connect to the work, for it to have a chance to breathe but also I don't want to stand and tell someone what to think and feel. The point of the work is that it's quite dark, poetic, mysterious and unnerving. Which can be quite hard to put across into words. I don't want to under estimate the audience. I know they are smart. It's more a chance to speak about this duality and I'm thankful for those platforms for providing this opportunity. 

From the series   We Live by Tha' Water

From the series We Live by Tha' Water


Future Plans: I'm currently working on series in Orkney and will continue to do so through 2017. I'm currently working on a commissioned body of work in hull alongside doing workshops for the Warren, which again will continue throughout 2017. I'm looking forward to there being more interest in Yorkshire and Hull due to capital of culture, however I hope this continues well into the future. 

Photograd Experience: Joanne Coates

Previously featured Photograd, Joanne Coates, has told us about her inspiring and ambitious talk at this years Love Arts Festival in Leeds. We're pleased to share with you her thoughts upon this fantastic experience and hope that it can encourage graduates alike.

From the series  Liznojan

From the series Liznojan


Love Arts is a yearly festival held in Leeds combining the secular worlds of Art and Mental Health which takes place every October. I often find that work that comments, even in the vaguest of terms, on Mental Health is instantly adhered to the pile of the ‘Other’. Having heard and been to previous events at the festival I really wanted to part of the celebration. The festival aims to get people talking about mental health by sharing creativity. I feel people gravitate towards London to have their shows, but I’m really interested in opposing movements and what these can create. Public art works seem to fail for both artists and the public so often, I’m really interested in spaces that challenge the status qou.

From the series   Liznojan

From the series Liznojan


‘One does not get lost but loses oneself’ was an exhibition of my body of work Liznojan addressing stigmas, talking about how the work is almost secondary to the practice of wandering. The actual photography is just a tool, to capture the experience of the wandering and bodily connection to nature. The more I get immersed in the act of experience I challenge and think about what exactly photography is today. 


Wharf Chambers is a venue in the heart of Leeds, it’s a community, a setting for gigs, a bit lefty and exactly the kind of laid back atmosphere I personally appreciate. The space was challenging as it is used for other events regularly. I didn’t want it be a jarring experience but more complimentary to the events. I used one of the walls as people first come in the space. Wharf Chambers were really relaxed and let me use the space how I wanted exactly which was a huge relief, so thank you to them! The actual texture, materiality, and layering complimented the tiled wall massively so I was really happy with the results. The space has very DIY anti-white cube ethos so again, fitted really well with the experience I want people to have with the works. A key point about my work is that it is democratic so it just feels a little hypocritical to make it closed off by using an inaccessible space. 

Images from the series   Liznojan

Images from the series Liznojan

The Work

An accompanying artist talk took place at the space. A varied audience came of musicians, poets, spoken word artists, photographers, students, chemists, businessmen and painters, that really excited me. I cannot express enough the importance to me of cross collaboration, not only in the arts but much broader than that. It’s one of the things I feel is completely wrong with photography; its lack of ability to see beyond itself holds the medium back in so many ways. To have this event where it was possible to hold conversations was one of my biggest achievements to date. The talk also enabled people to discuss the work and for me to think in new ways. Cross collaboration is such a great tool for our self worth, and for a bigger perspective on the world. How is it that we can even contemplate to make a comment when we only speak to those within our industry and thus remain very insular. 

From the series   Liznojan

From the series Liznojan


I am what can best be stated as a shy and private person. So this talk was a bench mark, I had made this body of work Liznojan and was hiding something about it for so long. Whenever I spoke about it, I would be really opaque. It came to the point where a festival such as this really helped me to be able to speak about the meaning of my work. I touched on it briefly in, Exclusive!, the Leica Blog. To stand up and say words I hadn’t expressed before was important, I feel the we are constantly losing touch with the experience of bodily learning and am fascinated by photography's ability or lack there of, to provide the audience a connection to place. My work looks at that unnerving place that is provided through experience with mental heath problems and anxiety, see there I said it, it’s really not so hard to express. I’m really inspired by literary successes that have touched me; such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Dosteovesky, the ability to allow others a direct engagement and experience in a almost poetic visual manner is something I strive for. Empathy, tragedy and a sensual exploration of landscape are all vital components. 

Liznojan  Installation image

Liznojan Installation image


I spoke for 50 minutes which was a real challenge. The talk was about a personal experience with photography and mental health. It was really nerve wracking putting yourself out there on the line. Everyone was so positive and understood what I was saying. The questions I got were really productive and made me think in different ways. In fact, from the talk one of the attendees was a spoken word artist and poet, Hannah Batley. From our conversations that night we are going to make a collaborative piece of work challenging the limitation of our separate mediums. The talk was highlighted by the Made in Leeds team on the news that day, which again I think is a way I hadn’t thought about reaching different audiences before. 

From the series   Liznojan

From the series Liznojan


Public speaking for me, is a huge fear so to be asked to do a second talk at Love Arts Conversation conference was invigorating, but I was slightly daunted by the one hundred people which is the biggest audience I’ve spoken to. I did have a rabbit in headlights moment, but facing my fears and challenging myself is important to me.

A huge thank you to Linda, Tom and the rest of the team at Love Art Leeds Festival 2016 for inviting me to help open the conversation. I hope that other graduates can also learn that just because you aren’t necessarily great at something doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Talk to people, get support. Because of Photograd I have a great support network with Jason Carden and Christopher Mear, who actually travelled miles to come along to the talk. Bounce ideas off these people and don't be afraid to admit what your fears are. 

This is an incredibly personal project that has taken place over four of the most difficult years of my life. The opportunity to discuss issues around art and mental health was vitally important to me. There is still a huge stigma attached around mental health. The world I encounter through these walks is overwhelmingly harsh and breathtakingly beautiful, I use photography as a tool to visualise my bodily connection to the land. It’s a subtle reminder, that something deeper can come from the landscape, a deeper understanding of who we are and where we come from.

Event Report: Carina Ioannou at Firstsite

Introduction: I'm Carina and I'm currently studying BA Photography at University Centre Colchester, I will graduate in 2018. The main genres I enjoying exploring are documentary and portraiture. I feel responsible for documenting what we fail to see and I am quite prolific. For me, Martin Parr is a legend when it comes to documenting these ‘unseen sights’. A master at capturing everyday occurrences and delivering them in his unique satirical and deliberate style. I was extremely excited knowing that Parr would be coming to Colchester to exhibit Work and Leisure. He was one of the judges for the “Essence of Essex” competition, which ran alongside his exhibition. Further, on the final night, Parr was interviewed by the Firstsite gallery. It was unmissable; a chance to listen to Parr as he discussed his influences and opinions and his previous and current practices in photography.



I’ve always felt a pull towards art and photography but never thought it would be more than just a hobby. Not because I wasn't serious about it, but because it wasn't perceived as academic enough. I was always told how artistic I was but no one ever said: “You should pursue this.” 

From 2004 to 2013 I worked as a Police Officer. It’s the complete opposite of anything remotely artistic, but I see it from a different perspective. Dealing with emotions, beliefs, habits, life, pain and sometimes death, you see a side of humanity that not many get to witness: the inner human psyche. This is an advantage to the photographer. As I continue to study photography, refine my process and produce work I have used my experiences in the Police as an influence to create context and narrative. I have also learnt great skills of communication for different situations: whether it’s talking to clients, peers or communicating through your photographs.




Event: My 2nd year at university began with a project called Place. A broad and subjective title that linked in nicely with Parr’s recent talk at Firstsite and the style of photographs I want to produce. My goal is to be brave enough to capture the unpolished, slightly sarcastic and critical but with a sense of nostalgia. Parr stated during the interview: “It’s incredibly difficult to be a photographer, to find your voice.” I myself feel that I’m in a constant state of refinement but I have to trust my concepts. “If you just wait to only take good photos you’d never start because how would you know if anythings good?” says Parr. 




Outcome: As we came to the questions and answers section of the talk I listened to the carefully constructed and clever questions put to him by the audience. I recalled his earlier response about his current practices, “Now you have a lot of people doing selfies. I’m doing a series of people and their selfie sticks…this is how we connect to the world out there. We've got to be seen…then you know you exist.” With this in mind the only possible question I could ask Parr was, “Can I take a selfie with you?” He laughed and happily obliged. Some may have seen it as crass and cliche but what makes it different is that it was intentional. A juxtaposition of two photographers documenting the modern idiosyncrasy of the selfie. Undoubtedly the best question of the night!


Future: In the immediate future I want to develop my process and strengthen my use of narrative. To do this I try to take photos everyday and critique them. I am constantly updating blogs and writing in my notebook. I want to find my style but at the same time I think it’s imperative to not rule anything out. 

Click on all the images in this post to be linked to Carina's Instagram account, or click here for her website.

Future Photograd: Joanne Coates

Launch Photograd Joanne Coates will be exhibiting her project Liznojan at this years Love Arts Leeds festival! Joanne told us that the exhibition will look at how "walking as part of a photographic practice is a meditative healing process". The launch of the exhibition will take place on Wednesday 5th October at Wharf Chambers, 23-25 Wharf Street, Leeds; the work will remain on show until the 20th October. 

Images from the series Liznojan

A sense of Place, Liznojan Exhibition. A exploration of mental health in our society through photography. “In Walter Benjamin’s terms, “to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery.” ‘One does not get lost but loses oneself.’ Accompanying the exhibition an artist talk by Joanne Coates about the series Liznojan where the audience is invited to a relaxed environment in Wharf Cambers (Cooperative Club) where everyone will have the opportunity to discuss issues around Art and Mental Illness. 

Visit the Eventbrite page to register your interest in Joanne's talk, One does not get lost but loses oneself, on Wednesday 12th October, at 6:30 - 8:00pm. Please note; Wharf Chambers is a members’ club and you need to be member, or a guest of a member, in order to attend. To join, please visit

Joanne will also be discussing her work at the event Love Arts Conversation at Leeds Beckett University on the 19th October.

Love Arts Leeds is a celebration of creativity and mental well-being which takes place every October in Leeds. The festival aims to get people talking about mental health by sharing creativity. They feature exhibitions, gigs, performances, workshops, talks, debates, discussions and more. The festival is run by the Arts & Minds team.

Joanne will be writing up her experience of exhibiting during the festival plus her artist talk, so keep your eyes on our blog! In the meantime, find out more about Joanne's project Liznojan in her Photograd Feature

Photograd Experience: Jocelyn Allen

Launch Photograd Jocelyn Allen wrote a short piece for us about her involvement in the Miniclick event, Photography and Performance, on Tuesday 9th August 2016. Continue reading to find out how Jocelyn got on…

 /* Style Definitions */
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
     Image of projection showing one of Jocelyn's dance videos   during the event. 

Image of projection showing one of Jocelyn's dance videos during the event. 

Miniclick is a photography organisation that was formed in Brighton in 2010 and the team put on a lot of free talks and events in Brighton and elsewhere. They’re a really nice bunch of people, who have invited me to be involved with various events of theirs before, including talking about which portrait I wish I’d taken (I wished to have photographed the Seven Sutherland Sisters), my favourite piece of paper (Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American album cover), short talks about my work and having one of my photos interpreted by an illustrator and then by a writer. They currently hold one free talk in Brighton a month related to a theme and I was contacted about participating in their Photography and Performance event.

The other invited speaker was Kate Radford who is a performer (amongst many other things). She gave a scratch performance of a piece called 26.2, which talks about running the marathon whilst addressing the fitness industry, social media and anxiety. It was very funny and also related to elements of my work.

My talk was around 40 minutes long, which is the longest I have done for Miniclick and it was interesting to talk after Kate as she is a performer who uses photography, whereas I work the opposite way round.  She said that she hates having her photograph taken… but I hate it too, though I have mainly been taking self-portraits since 2010.

In my talk I worked my way through most of my photographic projects in chronological order, then about my video work, as the photography projects fit together and kind of follow each other more than my videos. However, I felt it was important to talk about my video work because of the theme of the event.

Then Kate and I sat together to answer questions from the audience, which was good because people picked up on things that I had forgotten to talk about more, whilst it also drew comparisons between mine and Kate’s work. The usual after event chatting was accompanied by a playlist of my YouTube dance videos, which was fun to see big for once. 

Beforehand they told me that usually people speak for around 40 minutes and I took the basis of my presentation from one that I had made before. I deleted parts that I felt weren’t so relevant to the theme and added in more screenshots from my videos, so I wouldn’t have to play them all but could talk about them over multiple slides. I like to have a lot of pictures in my presentations, just from going to talks in the past where I wish people had showed more of their work.

I thought a lot beforehand about what I was going to say, but I forgot to ask to have the presentation put on presenter mode so I didn’t have my notes on screen (and I felt awkward about stopping it to put them on). So I forgot some points, and couldn’t remember the titles to my project Neblina but I still think that it went quite well. I get quite nervous on the run up to talks and couldn’t sleep for longer than usual the night before, but once I was sat on the stool my nerves faded away. It was probably the most comfortable that I have felt during a talk and I tried to pause for longer than usual on the pictures, as at a talk a couple of years ago I was so worried about people being bored (and I’ve seen my pictures so many times) that I was going through them quite fast. At university I used to hate having to talk in front of my class, but even though they make me nervous I feel quite proud of myself after for getting through it and each time I talk it gets a bit easier.

Celine Dion - It's All Coming Back To Me Now, an example of one of Jocelyn's YouTube dance videos. 

Photograd Experience: Christina Stohn

As mentioned in our previous blog post, Christina Stohn was a speaker at the Bank Street Arts symposium, New Pastoral Paradigms: Explorations in Landscape and the Self, on the 23rd July. We caught up with Christina to find out more about her involvement in the symposium, what she discussed during her talk, and any advice she could give to other photographers participating in a similar event. See below to find out more. 

From the series  Paradise Lost

From the series Paradise Lost

How did you get involved in the symposium?

Jesse Alexander, photographer, writer and lecturer, apparently came across my work by “happy accident”, as he calls it. In May he approached me to see if I would be interested in participating in the symposium Pastoral Paradigms: Explorations in Landscape and the Self that he was organising as part of his artist residency at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield. The central question for the symposium was, how can photography be used to articulate the complex relationship between place and individual and collective identities. 

Sum up your talk – what were the themes you discussed? 

First I discussed how my career in photography has evolved. Then I talked about four bodies of work that I have been engaged in: Sehnsucht (Yearning), Entwurzelt (Uprooted), Paradise Lost and The rumours are true. The first three series, which are about the countryside, are autobiographical and metaphorical. The latest project, The rumours are true, is an excursion into the city of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. In this case the landscape is a record of place, seen from a documentary gaze. However, it still deals with issues of displacement.

Could you tell us some key quotes from your talk?

Sehnsucht (Yearning): “This body of work stems from feeling homesick and is an exploration of space; where one landscape seems to end and another one begins.”

Entwurzelt (Uprooted): “This refers to the loss of a sense of belonging but also the possibilities for renewal and change.”

From the series  Sehnsucht

From the series Sehnsucht

From the series  Entwurzelt

From the series Entwurzelt

How did you find constructing your talk? Were you given any guidelines to stick to, for example?

As I knew that it would be mainly students from the Open College of the Arts in the audience, I referred to projects that I had produced as part of my BA and MA courses. I put them in chronological order starting from 2012, the second semester at the University of Westminster, up to my latest project this year at the University of the Arts, Bremen.

Initially Jesse and I had a conversation via Skype. The presentations were intended to consider how contemporary landscape practice has shifted from its pastoral and pictorial traditions and embraced more nuanced and personal approaches and narrative strategies. He encouraged me to talk about whatever I wanted to – from either a theoretical or practical orientation. Although the symposium was about landscape photography, he suggested I incorporate topographic images with individual portraits to have a broader narrative of the place, as the place involves people.

Did you stay to watch the other speakers? If so, who was your favourite and why?

I absolutely enjoyed spending the day with all the other speakers and the audience.

I suppose all of us are drawing on memories in the representation of place with personal and historical narratives. Even though we had the common theme of examining space, after all each of our practice is very different: varying from a conceptual approach to snapshot aesthetic. I can honestly say that all the works fascinate me.

You should check out the other speakers’ websites:
Hanna-Katrina Jędrosza -
Jesse A. P. Alexander -
John Umney -
Michal Iwanowski -

From the series  The rumours are true

From the series The rumours are true

Any advice for photographers hosting their own talk?

Structure your presentation in advance, taking account of time. Check how your images fit in with your talk.

Anything else you’d like to include.

Firstly, I would like to thank Jesse Alexander for the invitation. Andrew Conroy at Bank Street Gallery was a wonderful host – providing the space as well as treating us with a delicious lunch buffet. And last but not least, Gareth Dent, principal at Open College of the Arts, for sponsoring the event.

We are currently thinking of putting an exhibition together.

Photograd Experience: Christina Stohn

Christina Stohn, one of our launch Photograds, will be a part of the Bank Street Arts hosted symposium New Pastoral Paradigms: Explorations in Landscape and the Self, in Sheffield on the 23rd July (this Saturday!). In accordance with the residency taken up by Jesse Alexander, the symposium focuses on the consideration of “how contemporary landscape practice has shifted from its pastoral traditions to embrace more nuanced, personal approaches”, as stated on Bank Street Arts website. Christina will be discussing her projects Paradise Lost and Sehnsucht, alongside other guest speakers including Jesse Alexander, Hanna-Katrina Jędrosz and John Umney. This sounds like a brilliant opportunity for anyone interested in landscape photography...or any other photography for that matter! 

Christina has kindly agreed to share her experiences of speaking at the symposium with us, and we’ll be posting her write up here on the blog! 

Find out more about the event HERE, and visit Eventbrite to book your place.