Milda Books presents the photobook "Homeland. The Longest Village in the Country" by Georgs Avetisjans

Milda Books presents the photobook Homeland. The Longest Village in the Country by University of Brighton graduate Georgs Avetisjans at the Photo Publishers Market organised by Brighton Photo Fringe and Photoworks.

Phoenix Brighton, October 20th - 21st. 11am - 5pm.


“Landscapes – actual, remembered or idealized – feed our sense of belonging to whatever place, region or nation that we view as homeland.”

Liz Wells
Homeland. The Longest Village in the Country (2015-2018)
is a multi-layered photographic narrative in a form of a photobook with cross-references like hyperlinks to additionally inserted stories connected to the subjects and landscape. The book is about the village where my Armenian-Greek father once had a dream to build a house for our family, but unfortunately couldn’t finish it as he passed away when I was only 6 months young.

The project explores the sea, the land and memories, how the time affects and changes our sense of a place at the same time serving a nostalgic representation of the village in Latvia - Kaltene and its recent history from World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 via interviews, notes and archival imagery. As the Iron curtain fell, the local economy changed and upon joining the EU in 2004, it changed again. These historical shifts made a huge impact on the society and its dreams, many of which the younger generations have abandoned.

The place is located between the forest and the sea about 100 km northwest of the capital Riga. In the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th century it was the second most productive village in the country as 55 seagoing sailing ships were built there.

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Images from the series  The Longest Village in the Country  by Georgs Avetisjans

Images from the series The Longest Village in the Country by Georgs Avetisjans

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Jack Stocker - 'Members Only'

As part of our current Photobook Spotlight we interviewed Graphic Design graduate Jack Stocker about his route into photography and photobook, Members Only.


You studied Graphic Design at university but projects that you ended your final year on were photography based. Can you tell us how and why you turned to photography to express your ideas? I’d always been into photography and used it as a way to document holidays and events, like most people, but in terms of using it when studying graphic design, I always felt like it was something separate. I felt that if the majority of a project was photography then it wouldn’t be classed as graphic design. Towards the end of my second year and start of third year, my tutors helped me realise that I can use my photography in my design and it still be a graphic designer. One of our projects in third year was to document a subject for 2/3 weeks and I chose to photograph a local remote control racing car club, from which I created an interesting photo essay which I later made into a book.

What attracted you to the working mens clubs in Middlesborough? Why did you decide to make this series of work? When we started planning what our final major project would be, I wrote a list of previous projects I did and enjoyed. I noticed a theme between 2 or 3 of them and that was that they were all based on the working class. I started thinking and realised that Working Men’s Clubs could be a great opportunity to document using my photography. I hadn’t ever been in a WMC but i knew what they were and I knew what they looked like and from what I already knew, I loved their aesthetic and the reasoning behind them. The further research I did, the more I wanted to do it for myself, but also for the clubs.

From the series  Members Only

From the series Members Only

What encouraged you to create a photobook to complete this series? I’ve always enjoyed buying photography books, or any visual book for that matter, and with the equipment and resources at the University of Brighton it was a great opportunity to create a nice, well thought out photobook that helped reflect what I learnt when being at the WMC’s as well as the clubs era and feel. Also, the design of the book and how the book looked was how my graphic design skills played it’s part in the project.

How did you go about making your photobook? Have you got any tips or advice? I had the spreads printed locally and then hand stitched 2 copies. Both are identical and they have hard bound covers with gold foiled titles as well as an additional wrap around cover.

These weren’t the first books I’d made. I’d made quite a few before them and a few black and white copies of this version as there's lots of room for mistake, so I’d say practicing and planning is definitely needed before the final version. 

From the series  Members Only

From the series Members Only

Are there any stand out photographers who influence your work? Todd Hido, Joel Meyerowitz, Martin Parr, Andre Wagner, Bruce Gilden, JH Engstrom, Joshua Gordon, plus many more.

What equipment did you use to make this work? Do you think your choices reflect your way of working? I used two 35mm cameras, the Contax G1 and Contax T2 which definitely led to more planning and thought when taking the shots. As you’re paying out for film, it makes you appreciate every photo you take a little bit more, unless you’ve got a bottomless pit of film or money. I recently bought a compact digital camera as I’m hoping it will let me have a bit more freedom when shooting and traveling instead of worrying if the photo is worth a space on a roll of film.

From the series  Members Only

From the series Members Only

What are your future plans? I currently work as an In-House Graphic Designer while practicing my photography outside of work as a hobby and with any freelance opportunities that come up. I hope to continue developing as Graphic Designer and keep my photography involved throughout.

Photograd Experience: James Dobson

University of Brighton photography graduate and soon to be featured Photograd, James Dobson, has written a piece for the Photograd blog about the group exhibition he was recently a part of at the Brighton Photo Fringe entitled, Lie of the Land. Continue reading to find out more about this group of graduates that have remained connected post university. 

Lie of the Land  installation shot

Lie of the Land installation shot

Introduction

We are four photographers James Dobson, Rachel Maloney, Annalaura Palma and Noora Pelkonen, who met four years ago on the MA Photography course at the University of Brighton, graduating in 2014 and 2015.

Since beginning our studies together we have had an ongoing dialogue, all being interested in different aspects of landscape and place. After we graduated we stayed in touch and continued our conversation beyond University and eventually decided to make a collaborative exhibition when BPF was on the horizon. The exhibition is called Lie of the Land and it is about the ways in which the past, the unperceived and the forgotten fold themselves into our current experience and reading of landscape.

Image from the series  Karelia  by Noora Pelkonen

Image from the series Karelia by Noora Pelkonen

Image from the series  The Forest  by Rachel Maloney

Image from the series The Forest by Rachel Maloney

Planning

We were all at a stage where we felt ready to show our work, be that a different manifestation of older, ongoing work or completely new work and BPF seemed a good opportunity to do this. As a platform it gives you a framework within which your exhibition can be made visible - there are more people engaging with photography and potential visitors in Brighton during the Biennial/Fringe month and you are given support by the fringe in terms of promotion.

We knew that we wanted to show our work in a neutral space (which are quite hard to find in Brighton) such as a gallery, as we wanted full attention from the visitors, so we looked for a suitable space in Brighton and booked it early in 2016. As the gallery is limited in space, the challenge was to make sure that each work had its own breathing space but also make sure that the visitor could enjoy the journey, however small, through the exhibition– so the connections between works was very important. We were limited in the amount of pictures we could hang so we started to think of the exhibition as a collaborative development of an idea, rather than a chance for each of us to have our own individual exhibition. Smaller, low-budget shows often work better with this approach, and I think we all enjoyed discovering new aspects about our work and making new associations between pictures during the curation process. 

Lie of the Land   installation shot: images form the series  Churches  by James Dobson

Lie of the Land installation shot: images form the series Churches by James Dobson

Image form the series   Churches     by James Dobson

Image form the series Churches by James Dobson

In terms of promotion, BPF produce a newsprint brochure with a map and website to navigate the exhibitions, so we decided to not make any flyers but instead built an internet presence via twitter, which you can find here @Lie_of_the_land.

Experience and reflection

The exhibition has had a positive response from visitors. For us it was very good to have a space to see how our new work operated in a gallery context and also to be able to open up dialogues and new relationships. When you’re in this kind of festival environment it is good to be involved in every aspect of making an exhibition – so invigilating, which can sometimes be tedious, was actually at times very rewarding, giving us the opportunity to be surrounded by our work and think about photography. Exhibitions can be great spaces for the development of ideas, in a different way to being out in the world.

Image from the series  Virginia Woolf: Virginia’s path  by Annalaura Palma

Image from the series Virginia Woolf: Virginia’s path by Annalaura Palma

Advice

In regards to advice, look at festivals like BPF that not only support the promotion of your work to a wider audience but give opportunities for photographers to submit their work for exhibitions and prizes; BPF has the Danny Wilson Memorial Prize, the Open Solo Show, the group show at the Regency Town House and also the Collectives Hub.