Claire Griffiths at the Cindy Sherman Retrospective, National Portrait Gallery London

Northampton University graduate Claire Griffiths visited the Cindy Sherman Retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery in London earlier this Summer and has reported her experience for the Photograd blog. The Cindy Sherman Retrospective closes on 15th September 2019.

Do we all long to dress up and create disguises for ourselves? Dying our hair, wearing labels, makeup - how we are seen is perhaps more evident than ever in a world where technology is racing at an unprecedented rate and 93 million selfies being taken on average per day. I felt it in my late teens, the need to be seen and unseen and when I got to Art School the camera became a perfect disguise.

Cindy Sherman had made me see photography and the art world in a new way as an art student, pre selfie generation so when her retrospective came to The National Portrait Gallery I rushed to buy tickets. Coinciding with a showing of work supported by the RPS 100Heroines initiative which I had somehow been accepted into entitled (Unframing Identities).

I was to be in London for three days and on the first day I arrived at the exhibition as it opened. Unsure whether my tickets were booked (their system was down at the time), but they let me in, and I walked in like I was entering a Rolling Stones concert ready to experience Sherman's work up close and personal. It felt like seeing an old friends work, someone who had inspired me when it felt like the art world was closed quarters and photography a male orientated past time.

When I started my Fine Art Degree circa 1998 I was dead sure I wanted to paint and draw perhaps become a costume or set designer. Somewhere in my psyche I had always felt drawn to fashion but ended up on a Fine Art Degree, the course offered: painting, sculpture print and another option: Photography. These were the days before digital and the dark room seemed like a place of sanctuary. It still seemed like source material to me though and was not entirely convinced photography was an art, I thought it was perhaps a "cop out" for people who couldn't draw or paint.

Then one week in art history, Cindy Sherman appeared. Our female Art History tutor, Wendy, was a jolly feminist and talked to us about the male gaze and my whole being "woke up". Cindy Sherman along with people like Gillian Wearing and Sophie Calle depicted a different way of using photography for me, a way to communicate what it was to be a women, telling their own stories, communicating their own feelings of things associated with the human condition and often what it is to be a women. Sherman in particular had seemed to be able to encapsulate a whole plethora of things I wanted to do: Fashion, set design, costume and story telling.

On entering the show her large scale images roared at me unapologetically and led me to rooms filled with familiar and unseen work. Untitled film stills 1977-1980 mimicking ideas from traditional female tropes in film noir or Hitchcock was thrilling to see as a series, I had only seen this work in books or on TV. I stood mesmerised as I watched her film Doll Clothes made whilst she was a student, a stop motion playing with dressing up and thought "I wish I had thought of that".

Her work is perhaps more relevant than ever as a whole group of young women (and men) grow up with filters and selfies and more impossible beauty standards to adhere to but Sherman has been exploring these themes for decades. Her Dummy Vogue covers smile down at us, a vampish Jerry Hall gazes back and metaphorizes into a goofy Sherman portrait. Her newer self portraits of women staring down at the viewer yield a vulnerability that I am grateful for, women holding onto youth and beauty, images created on a grand scale imitating what we might find in an upstate apartment in New York perhaps of one of Trumps exes or an ex movie star.

It might not be Sherman until we look closer and find her hidden under thick make up and elaborate wigs. A sense of sadness prevails as our own youth and passing of time is presented to us through Sherman's images - whilst round the corner we find her dressed as a clown grotesquely facing the viewer as if to say "Lets laugh at beauty and ourselves together". For me Sherman opened doors for women making photographs continues to inspire further generations. She took the lens away from a masculine view point, made it her own enabling fresh female perspective, using humour, skill and story telling. To Cindy Sherman I am forever grateful. Go see the show.

Alexander Mourant - press preview at Hauser & Wirth, London

Falmouth University graduate and featured photographer Alexander Mourant attended a press preview of August Sander. Men Without Masks and Spiegelgasse (Mirror Alley) at Hauser & Wirth in London on behalf of Photograd. Here are some images from his visit.


Event Report: Matthew Broadhead at Unveil'd Photo Festival 2016

University of Brighton graduate, Matthew Broadhead, was selected to visit and report back on this years Unveil'd photo festival via Photograd. During his visit, Matthew took over the Photograd Instagram and has since written a very detailed and comprehensive report of his experience of the festival. We've decided to include the first section of his report here, alongside some of his images taken during the weekend, and hope that our readers would like to read the report in full on Matthew's website.

We would like to thank Tom at Unveil'd for encouraging and supporting our call out, and Matthew for being a fantastic reporter.

My name is Matthew Broadhead, I was selected to exhibit in Exeter Phoenix in South Devon for Unveil’d Open 2016. Also being chosen by Photograd to be the event reporter for Unveil’d I was in Exeter and present at a selection of scheduled events throughout Friday 21st, Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd October.

The first event I attended was Project Management in the Arts held by Daisi from midday until 2:30pm at Exeter Library in The Rougemont Room. Daisi are the Arts Education Partnership organization for Devon and Torbay started in 1995. To summarize, they provide information, advice and development opportunities for artists, young people and educators. Ruth Cohen delivered the talk and the presentation provided an introduction to the organisation along with case studies of what they’ve done recently as part of their initiative. 

Images by Matthew Broadhead from the  Project Management in the Arts  event held by  Dais i at Unveil'd 2016

Images by Matthew Broadhead from the Project Management in the Arts event held by Daisi at Unveil'd 2016

The workshop aspect was simple but effective, forming groups to conjure a response to a commission for charities including Cancer Research UK and The National Trust considering a programme and who/what it’s target audience to enrich is. It highlighted important questions unearthed during the process of creating a proposition for funding and then the endeavour to answer the questions and deliver. Many of the students who attended the talk were Plymouth College of Art students studying BA (Hons) Photography in their third year and Louise Fago-Ruskin, lecturer in photography at Plymouth College of Art, approached me after the workshop to deliver a talk to her students about my body of work Heimr exhibited at Exeter Phoenix for Unveil’d Open. I was very pleased to oblige and we went over to the venue after Daisi’s workshop. I had a very positive experience talking about my work and practice after graduating from Brighton University for around three quarters of an hour.

Heimr  exhibited at Exeter Phoenix for Unveil’d Open  by Matthew Broadhead

Heimr exhibited at Exeter Phoenix for Unveil’d Open by Matthew Broadhead

Matthew Broadhead speaking to Plymouth College of Art students

Matthew Broadhead speaking to Plymouth College of Art students

Heimr  exhibited at Exeter Phoenix for Unveil’d Open  by Matthew Broadhead

Heimr exhibited at Exeter Phoenix for Unveil’d Open by Matthew Broadhead

Heimr  exhibited at Exeter Phoenix for Unveil’d Open  by Matthew Broadhead

Heimr exhibited at Exeter Phoenix for Unveil’d Open by Matthew Broadhead

I left Exeter Phoenix and walked up to Rougemont Gardens behind Exeter Library, one of multiple different locations of the Towers exhibition. On the Unveil’d website, the exhibition was described as a series of large-scale images on show throughout public grounds in the city of Exeter, curated in response to the fortification of Exeter’s Roman wall in the 13th century. They wrote:

“Tracing its history, the wall surrounded institutions of central powerhouses; government, religion and military. The construction of ten towers were built to protect and observe the city, bringing forth tensions of boundaries and their role in defining the city and more widely how we deal with place. The city wall itself was constructed in response to the geology of the land, in particular the strategic placing of five gates reflecting the movement of the river.”

The setting of each exhibit correlated with the locations of these ten towers. The images were printed on strong weather resistant material with a loop at the top and bottom for scaffolding tubes to pass through. This particular piece consisted of four panels with a single large format image on each side by the artists Jessica Lennan, Oliver Udy, Eva Cooney and Glauco Canalis. All of the imagery was evocative of environment, both with and without human presence. Eva Cooney’s dramatic piece particularly reflects the movement of the river through Exeter. A few minutes walk through Rougemont Gardens in the green space elevated between Exeter Phoenix and the rear entrance of the Royal Albert Museum there was a single piece by Tim Mills titled Overdale Road from his project Twelve Shilling Paradise. The garden study depicted a fish tank with live goldfish positioned on bubble wrap on a piece of wooden furniture. The concept of the exhibition and ideas ruminating in this photograph make me consider the transience not so much of the environment but more of the existence of humanity within it. The detail shot shows a ladybird and the whole front and back of this piece were covered with them, adding another dimension to the piece. 

Installation image by Matthew Broadhead:   Teufelsberg, Berlin   by   Jessica Lennan as part of   Towers   exhibition, Unveil'd 2016

Installation image by Matthew Broadhead: Teufelsberg, Berlin by Jessica Lennan as part of Towers exhibition, Unveil'd 2016

Rougemont Gardens   Towers   e  xhibit by Matthew Broadhead

Rougemont Gardens Towers exhibit by Matthew Broadhead

Rougemont Gardens  Towers  exhibit by Matthew Broadhead   

Rougemont Gardens Towers exhibit by Matthew Broadhead

Rougemont Gardens   Towers   e  xhibit by Matthew Broadhead

Rougemont Gardens Towers exhibit by Matthew Broadhead

Unfortunately by the time that I was exploring Towers for myself the artwork in Northernhay gardens was vandalised and subsequently taken down. The work presented belonged to Robert Darch and Melanie Eclare. The final exhibit I saw as part of Towers was further away towards Exeter Bus Station in Southenhay Gardens. The triangular structure consisted of work by Jem Southam, Fern Leigh Albert and Brendan Barry.

Installation image  by Matthew Broadhead :  Red Mudstone, Sidmouth 1996  by Jem Southam at Southernhay Gardens as part of the  Towers  exhibition, Unveil'd 2016

Installation image by Matthew Broadhead: Red Mudstone, Sidmouth 1996 by Jem Southam at Southernhay Gardens as part of the Towers exhibition, Unveil'd 2016

To read Matthew's report in full, visit his blog.

Event Report: 'Traces' - MA Photography at the University of Sunderland

The Traces exhibition showcases the work of MA Photography students from the University of Sunderland and contains a thematic similarity whilst showing a diverse set of approaches. Held at the Priestman Gallery in Sunderland with the Private Viewing held on Thursday 13th of October, each artist produced work with aspects of loss, memory and relationships, examining the traces we leave. 

Above; Traces installation images

In The Entropy Garden, Mara Acoma examines the idea of a relationship with a place forming the embodiment of memories and future dreams in an external locus for consciousness.  Considering the garden itself as a collaborator from the act of creating the initial images through post-production into objects by the submersion of the prints into the garden pond. The exhibition installation focused on the emotional response aspects of the project and incorporated video featuring birdsong from the garden.

Image from the series  The Entropy Garden  by Mara Acoma

Image from the series The Entropy Garden by Mara Acoma

Geoffrey Bradford considers the place of work itself along with objects and the traces of human presence. Rather than viewing his work as having a specific end point of resolution he focuses instead on how each piece of work sets up new questions and further opportunities; ‘what if’ or ‘supposing’ and ‘how would that work’? An approach reflected by his project title of ‘building works’, which shares a variety of objects, created from 3 dimensional constructs, to imaginary machines and transparencies for the visitor to create their own images.

Image by Geoffrey Bradford

Image by Geoffrey Bradford

Lauren Sadie Marsden explores the possibility of what might have been in her project Ginny.  After the passing of her father left a partially finished roll of film in his camera, she explores what might have been by stepping into his shoes to complete the 24 exposures.  Exploring the idea of a life journey interrupted through the conventions of the family album and the role of the photograph in the making of memories from the fragments of daily life.

Image from the series  Ginny  by Lauren Sadie Marsden

Image from the series Ginny by Lauren Sadie Marsden

Maria Ferrie expresses the discomfort and psychological implications involved in experiencing derealisation and depersonalisation in The Island With No Sunshine. Photographs are used as a diaristic tool through which the author investigated her own perception. Alongside therapy, this allowed her to discover repressed emotions to slowly get back in touch with herself and her pain. She explored her Spanish/English hybrid identity and family history while investigating the relationship between loss, memory and identity.

Image from the series  The Island With No Sunshine  by Maria Ferrie

Image from the series The Island With No Sunshine by Maria Ferrie

In A Day That Transcends Tomorrow, Vikki Scott reflects the fleeting motion of life, and the melancholy of seeing things in their current state for the last time. The Polaroid photograph serves as a fossilisation of a present moment in time, it is the impression of that moment embedded and preserved in petrified form. The fossilised state of the polaroid photograph shares a painful paradox with the evanescence of memory and time, and that one day these photographic objects will represent nothing but a fragment of a moment – achingly familiar, yet deeply alienating. 

Image  from the series   A Day That Transcends Tomorrow  by Vikki Scott 

Image from the series A Day That Transcends Tomorrow by Vikki Scott 

Emma Jane Biggins considers the emotional and psychological aspects of alcoholism in Beneath The Surface.  Examining sufferers’ internal anguish and feelings of low self-worth through the use of familiar domestic iconography to reveal the turmoil and trauma. The work considers the loneliness and isolation pushing towards a numbing of emotions with alcohol rather than simply a lack of self-control. 

Image  from the series   Beneath The Surface  by Emma Jane Biggins 

Image from the series Beneath The Surface by Emma Jane Biggins 

Unveil'd Photo Festival 2016 by Matthew Broadhead

In collaboration with Unveil'd, we recently called out for a UK based photography graduate to report on this years photo festival. We're excited to announce that University of Brighton 2016 graduate, Matthew Broadhead, was our stand out graduate and has therefore been selected to document his time in Exeter!


Matthew was the perfect selection as he has some work in the Unveil'd Open exhibition so we're looking forward to his feedback on being part of the festival as well as a visitor to many other events taking place over the weekend.

Rocket, Kéflavík  from the series  Heimr

Rocket, Kéflavík from the series Heimr

Matthew will be creating content for our blog and taking over the Photograd Instagram for the weekend so we can follow his visit. 

Event Report: Hollie Crawshaw exhibiting at The Big Apple Harvestime Weekend

We caught up with Hollie Crawshaw again to find out about her work being at The Big Apple Harvestime Weekend earlier in the month. Here's what she had to say..

Photographic prints hung using wire and bulldog clips

Photographic prints hung using wire and bulldog clips

Photography cards and prints were on sale. My photo books were also displayed to view

Photography cards and prints were on sale. My photo books were also displayed to view


I’m Hollie Crawshaw, a graduate from Editorial & Advertising Photography at the University of Gloucestershire! Specialising in agricultural photography, my work aims to document rural related stories, capturing topics surrounding farming, the countryside and livestock. 

The Exhibition

Recently, I held an exhibition as part of Herefordshire’s Big Apple event, with a wildlife painter. The Big Apple Harvestime event in the village of Much Marcle, runs every year and celebrates the autumn apple harvest. With a close community of cider and perry producers, the event attracts hundreds of people each year with visitors able to view the orchards, farms and mills which supply some of Britain’s famous ciders. During the weekend a tractor and trailer escorts visitors to and from the 8 sites spread across the village. My exhibition was held at Awnells Farm, a historic farm breeding traditional Hereford cattle, now owned by the Countryside Restoration Trust and linked to RBST (Rare Breeds Survival Trust). My work was hung amongst the war time farming machinery in an old farm barn and I received a lot of positive feedback from those who attended the 28th Big Apple on 8th-9th October 2016. 

Prints were hung on a straight wire using a tension hook to pull it tight

Prints were hung on a straight wire using a tension hook to pull it tight



I have been part of a Facebook group of ladies working within agriculture, since writing my dissertation and completing my final major project on female farmers. The page is incredibly supportive of my work and the women have kindly accepted me into their community. It was through this platform that I got the opportunity to take part in this exhibition and was contacted by one of the members, who is chairman of Herefordshire’s RBST. We discussed the possibilities of displaying my work within the walls of an old barn at Awnells Farm, which had been left lifeless for many years. A wildlife painter had also been contacted and together we were very exciting to envisage our work within this appropriate environment and large, unusual space. 

Also on show in the barn were some old photo albums, capturing the farm’s history. These proved particularly popular and complimented the heritage of the exhibition’s

Also on show in the barn were some old photo albums, capturing the farm’s history. These proved particularly popular and complimented the heritage of the exhibition’s

We started planning 3 months before opening weekend. I took on the responsibility of sourcing funding and, after many emails and phone calls, was granted £250 from a local Herefordshire fund. To reach a wider audience and aid our chances of being funded, we decided to add an educational aspect. We decided to invite the local primary school to attend, where we discussed farming, animals, art, photography, conservation, wildlife and the farm’s history. The 83 pupils also enjoyed taking part in painting workshops and visiting the farm’s cattle herd. It was a great learning curve for me to talk to young people about my work and inspiration. It was a good way to start the weekend and the funding we obtained paid for all the children’s art materials as well as my photographic prints! 

I had full control over how I wanted the work displayed, the placement and the edit. I wanted the display to look as industrial as the farm location, as well as the content of the photography. I had seen the work of a photographer who hung prints in an old fishing using bulldog clips. I had a space of 8 meters to hang my work and therefore decided to have 11 large A1 prints displayed using wire and clips. The images were selected from a variety of my photo projects including Female Farmers and Times You Might Get Kicked, which documents a dairy farm. I wanted the overall appearance to demonstrate what sort of photographer I am and most importantly what I love to shoot! When meeting at the farm, I discovered usable equipment that would add to the heritage of our exhibition. For example, I used old fruit crates, hay bales and pallets to stand my photo books on. 

Entry sign displaying information to read as well as business cards to pick up

Entry sign displaying information to read as well as business cards to pick up

School children painting from my images as inspiration

School children painting from my images as inspiration

Taking part in my university degree show, proved a particularly useful experience which helped the success of this exhibition. I applied similar marketing techniques and targeted a lot of advertising on Twitter. I created printed material which was distributed across local areas and was featured in Three Counties Farmer magazine, a free publication sent out to farming communities across Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. 

Final Thoughts

Overall the exhibition was a great opportunity to showcase my work in an extremely appropriate and beautiful location. I met many people from the agricultural community and received industry feedback both in person and via social media afterwards. Because it was part of a larger event, the marketing proved very efficient and had a substantial following. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have been asked to hold another exhibition at Awnells Farm as part of Open Farm Sunday next year.

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.

Photograd Experience & Event Report: Phoebe Kiely at Brighton Photo Fringe


My name is Phoebe Kiely. I studied photography at Manchester School of Art and graduated in 2015. For many reasons I have remained based in Manchester. 

From the series  They Were My Landscape

From the series They Were My Landscape


The Event

Brighton Photo Fringe was established in 2003. The Fringe aims to nurture new talent and to give a platform for collaborations. 

This was the first time I had ever seen the Fringe. I've got a lot of memories in Brighton, it was great to revisit the city knowing that my work was being showcased there. 

Over this month there are many events, everything is so close to the city centre. 

Above images from the series They Were My Landscape


The Exhibition

I went to a few of the exhibition spaces on the map and stumbled across others. Some were on the sea front, others in gallery spaces and one outside the library.

The shortlisted artists had a print each in front of St Peter's Church. There was also a projection of the eight images we each submitted at Phoenix Brighton.

For this competition I created an edit which I had never showcased before, I believe most of the images I included had not been seen before online or otherwise. I was conscious that this was risky, not knowing what people would think of the images and how they worked as a series. The project I submitted is titled They Were My Landscape, it's an archive of sorts. Due to the volume of work and the concept behind it, the series consists of many different edits. As the work grows and develops I create different combinations of images. 

Installation shot of    They Were My Landscape  at BPF

Installation shot of They Were My Landscape at BPF


All of the images I selected were quite new. I find it difficult separating emotional attachment from new images. Usually time fizzles out this connection and I am able to look at the work more objectively. However, this was the series I wished to submit, so I took the risk on the new photographs. I combined street photographs with more intimate images in to a series of eight.


Earlier this year I exhibited at Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool alongside Peter Watkins, the 2014 Solo winner. I saw a link asking for submissions, highlighting Peter's work which I recognised immediately. I followed the links and it requested me to apply through the LensCulture website

From the series   They Were My Landscape

From the series They Were My Landscape


Over the last few months, I have really concentrated on submitting to open call competitions. I always look at the judges to see who is making the decision on the submissions. I literally do this to briefly look at the names and possibly what the judges are working on. But you can never really mould your submission to what they want to see I don't think. The work you make is personal and writing about it with that in mind and editing what you think is your most honest edit is the best way to go forward. If this fails at least you'll always know that you gave a really pure submission.  


I would encourage photographers to keep an eye on this biennial event, specifically for the submission window for the solo show. It's priceless having your work seen by jurors like the ones at Brighton Photo Fringe. There are so many other opportunities here to show work. 

From the series   They Were My Landscape

From the series They Were My Landscape


Final Thoughts

It's great seeing the work up, especially in print. When I see my work in shows I am reminded of the temporariness of it all. 

In my practice I strive to make darkroom prints. Making permanent objects is where I get my buzz. This show has reminded me that I need to create something that lasts, I need to make a book.  

Event Report: 'The Form of Possibility' MA Photography and MFA Photographic Arts, University of Plymouth.

The Form of Possibility is a group exhibition of final year bodies of work by graduating students of MA Photography and MFA Photographic Arts from the University of Plymouth in 2016. It began with a private view on the 22nd September on the second floor of the Scott Building, Plymouth University, Drakes Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA and runs Monday to Friday until the 13th October 2016.

The bodies of work demonstrate the variety in the interpretation and use of the photographic medium in the contemporary, ranging from personal explorations, to investigations of place, and enquiries into the materiality of the medium itself. 

Liz-Ann Vincent-Merry's series is part of an ongoing project which looks at 1,200 identity photographs from south east France, dating between 1900 and 1970. The work is an exploration of the mnemonic powers of these portraits in her quest to recover a life that has vanished.

From the series  The Marseille Papers  by Liz-Ann Vincent-Merry

From the series The Marseille Papers by Liz-Ann Vincent-Merry

The Marseille Papers  installation image

The Marseille Papers installation image

Lucy Bentham considers traditional aesthetics and the psychological theory of Escape, taking a deeply personal approach to the role of the female artist desiring to escape from the domestic space, by venturing into the land. 

Image by Lucy Bentham

Image by Lucy Bentham

The work of Robert Darch adopts a style of documentary realism while constructing an imaginary place through the mapping of a learnt culture onto direct experience. 

From the series  Durlescombe  by Robert Darch

From the series Durlescombe by Robert Darch

Durlescombe   installation image

Durlescombe installation image

Carly Seller’s work is a meditation on experience and embodiment from paths that invite us to move along their lines, as well as consideration of the camera having the ability to define, abstract and extend the range of visual perception.

From the series  Tracing a line along a breath exhaled  by Carly Seller

From the series Tracing a line along a breath exhaled by Carly Seller

Tracing a line along a breath exhaled   installation image

Tracing a line along a breath exhaled installation image

Katie Lowe uses a custom-built, lensless, camera to create single images on whole rolls of transparency film along her favourite stretch of beach along the North Coast of Cornwall. 

Shift  by Katie Lowe

Shift by Katie Lowe

Michelle Reynolds’ work consists of diptychs comparing and contrasting the landscapes and cityscapes of Europe and Kansas, opening up a dialogue in relation to the idea of place and one’s connection to where they came from.

Image by Michelle Reynolds

Image by Michelle Reynolds

David Gibson’s work explores profound personal and subjective moments of solitary psychological reverie in the landscape.

From the series  Dark Light and Mist  by David Gibson

From the series Dark Light and Mist by David Gibson

Gabby Laurent uses an absurdist approach to comment on a history of art practices such as self-portraiture and the photographic relationship to sculpture. 

Image by Gabby Laurent

Image by Gabby Laurent

James Waterfield deals with the issue of loneliness through undertaking bicycle journeys, pausing and thinking between journeys to complete a bookwork which, in one sense, is a kind of personal advertisement. 

Image by James Waterfield

Image by James Waterfield

Sian Davey presents the documentation of an awkward stage in the life of her daughter, Martha, as Martha transitions from child to young woman. 

From the series  Martha  by Sian Davey

From the series Martha by Sian Davey

Glauco Canalis’ work is a documentary study of San Berillo, an Island in the heart of Catania: A site once known as the biggest open-air brothel in Europe. 

Image by Glauco Canalis

Image by Glauco Canalis

It is evident from this group exhibition alone that the multiplicity found within the photographic medium in the contemporary, led by the range of the artists, is vast. Even in a world in which mass imagery can sometimes overwhelm our visual senses there are still cases, such as within this exhibition, that clearly declare that the photographic medium is alive and well, and will continue to evolve. 

It has been a pleasure to be a part of this diverse cohort and I can’t wait to see what our successors produce this year. 

MFA Photographic Arts students are: Sian Davey, Glauco Canalis and Robert Darch. 

MA Photography students are: Lucy Bentham, Michelle Reynolds, Katie Lowe, Liz-Ann Vincent-Merry, James Waterfield, Gabby Laurent, David Gibson and Carly Seller.

Some of the works from this exhibition will also be displayed as part of a faculty exhibition in the Peninsula Arts Gallery, Plymouth, in December. 

- Lucy Bentham


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 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!

Event Report: 'Bloom', Vortigern Gallery, Margate.

The Photograd Event Reporter blog series continues with 2016 Photography graduate, Emma Sage. We found her work at Free Range, featured her image and review via our dedicated Spotlight, and she's now part of a collective exhibition based in Margate. This post is written from Emma's perspective so carry on reading to find out more about herself and her exhibition experience.

Bloom  poster, image from the series  Homeland  by  Scott Thomas .

Bloom poster, image from the series Homeland by Scott Thomas.

Just a brief bit about me, I’ll keep it short and sweet and get to the interesting part, the photography of course!

I’m Emma Sage, a graduate from the BA (hons) Photography course at Middlesex University. My personal practise tends to concern the landscape and environments (check it out here if you like:, but where looking at or researching photography is concerned, I’m not into sticking to one genre!

So I’m going to just let you all know about Bloom, an exhibition for recent Middlesex Photography Graduates running at the Vortigern gallery in Margate, it’s a rather sweet little place, pretty close to the sea front, so you can enjoy some great work and then go for a paddle after!

The work rotates each week, our tutor, Mark McEvoy, has been curating the show. There is selected work (i.e. a chosen piece from a students Final Major Project) and one ‘feature’ wall, which includes a larger selection of work from a chosen students series. So there’s a fresh mix of varied work every week, which keeps it exciting!

As I have mentioned, the space is fairly small, but there’s also a rather interesting selection of photography books, everything from more local photographers to biggies like Martin Parr and Rinko Kawauchi, so it’s varied and there’s something for everybody. There’s also a collection of postcards, prints and magazines to buy.

Below are a few photos to give a better idea of what we’ve been getting up to.

^Left to right: Devon Hampshire, Domante Kantauskaitė, Zowwi Ranford, & Wai Lap Mok.  This was week one, a lovely mix of varied work.

^Left to right: Devon Hampshire, Domante Kantauskaitė, Zowwi Ranford, & Wai Lap Mok.

This was week one, a lovely mix of varied work.

^Left to Right: Joe Brayford, Michal Wrona & Marta Liley-Gray.

^Left to Right: Joe Brayford, Michal Wrona & Marta Liley-Gray.

^My own work from the series  Aethon .

^My own work from the series Aethon.


The feature wall has been pretty varied, Wai Lap Mok kicked things off for week one. We get to do our own thing (within reason). I decided to write on the wall, which was fun! In the upcoming weeks Kaya Murray and Erika Krapavickaitė will have their work on the feature wall so check it out!

^And just in case you need more persuading to come and give Margate and the Vortigern a visit, there’s one of Margate’s famous ‘Turner Skies’!

^And just in case you need more persuading to come and give Margate and the Vortigern a visit, there’s one of Margate’s famous ‘Turner Skies’!

<^ The selection of books and postcards available at the gallery.

<^ The selection of books and postcards available at the gallery.

Gallery Opening Times:
Mon: Closed
Tues 2:30pm-5:30pm
Wed 11am - 5pm
Thurs 11am - 5pm
Fri 11am - 5pm
Sat 11am - 5pm
Sun 12pm - 5pm

NOTE: not open 6th - 7th August

Facebook: Vortigern Margate

Find out how to be an Event Reporter for Photograd here.