Introducing The South West Collective of Photography

In this blog post we introduce you to The South West Collective of Photography, a company dedicated to promoting photography and art as a medium in the South West of England. Run by Plymouth University’s recent BA Photography Graduate Samuel Fradley.


Who are you, what's your motto? My name is Samuel Fradley and my motto is to make a positive change within this world.

What’s your background? Have you studied photography? For the last 6 years my life has pretty much revolved around some sort of education whether that be from A levels all the way to university; it always involved photography. I studied a BA in Photography at the University of Plymouth and graduated with a first-class honours degree last year.

Image from the series  A Handshake with a Martian  by  Samuel Fradley

Image from the series A Handshake with a Martian by Samuel Fradley

What's your favourite style of photography? I am a big fan of documentary photography, particularly works which are approached as a photographic study. The idea that the photograph freezeframes that moment in time and keeps a record of that story fascinates me. 

Who or what motivates you? I have always been motivated to be my own boss. I suppose I have always had this feeling of rebellion or resentment to those who control or have power to control what I do in my days; I have always wanted to follow my own goals and dreams and through photography I can explore that. I suppose that’s natural as an artist, as you create work within your own perspective. In the last few years I have been really motivated to make a positive change in the photography world. Too many young artists go through education thinking there are little opportunities and it is my absolute goal to change this. 

Image from the series  A Handshake with a Martian  by  Samuel Fradley

Image from the series A Handshake with a Martian by Samuel Fradley

Can you tell us what The South West Collective of Photography is? The South West Collective of Photography is a company dedicated to the promotion of photography and art in the South West. Founded by myself in July 2018 the Collective aims to one day have a permanent gallery or space for artists to work, exhibit and explore their artistic interests. The Collective is a business, but heavily interacts within our local community and voices its opinion on a wide variety of topics that relate to our interests. 

Primarily an online platform, we feature the work of emerging photographer’s and graduates over a variety of social platforms as well as on our own website. This will develop into so much more in the future. 

Image from the series  A Handshake with a Martian  by  Samuel Fradley

Image from the series A Handshake with a Martian by Samuel Fradley

Tell us about the team behind The South West Collective of Photography. Currently, The South West Collective is just myself; Samuel Fradley. In business terms it is just me, but in artist terms that will soon change.

The Collective was always meant to be more than just me; therefore, I am pleased to announce that starting from May, the Collective will begin to announce new members to the Collective family, with our first artist being Ella Cousins. Ella is a recent graduate from Southampton Solent University and will be a fantastic part of the team. Her inspiration, motivation and kind heart is something that is desperately needed in this industry and I am certain she will play her part in inspiring female artists all across the country.

More artists will be announced in time, but I am delighted to say that there will be a strong female presence on the collective, representing and inspiring female artists across the country and further afield with Ella taking a lead on this. 

Image from the series  River  by  Ella Cousins

Image from the series River by Ella Cousins

What were your initial aims and inspirations when putting ideas together for the collective? Honestly when I started the Collective I didn’t have a plan. I’m not really one for long term planning, I have kind of got through life doing everything last minute and it has ironically worked. I knew that I wanted to start an organisation in the South West that represented photography. The primary reasons for this was that the South West has little to no infrastructure for photography. The majority of exhibitions, galleries and institutions are in Bristol or London, but for the thousands of fantastic artists here in the West Country, we have quite literally have nothing. The goals are to change that. I don’t actually pay myself at all from the Collective because I want it to grow. Although in the future I want this to be my living, for now I have to nurture it. 

What is The South West Collective of Photography's biggest achievement to date? Appearing out of nowhere and growing it into a photography platform for artists across the United Kingdom. I have been so privileged and honoured to feature a wide variety of photographers, both students and graduates on the Collective who are so immensely talented, it has just been a fantastic experience hearing people’s stories and watching their work develop. Meeting new people has to be a highlight too, I have encountered so many genuinely lovely people it makes this all worth it.

Image from the series  River  by  Ella Cousins

Image from the series River by Ella Cousins

How can photographers get involved in what you do? At this moment in time, all you have to do is reach out to me via email, Instagram or Facebook. I am more than happy to chat to artists and give advice or discuss featuring them on the Collective. As this Collective grows more opportunities will come about, but for the time being that is the only way to get involved. I am ALWAYS open to new ideas, improvements etc. 

Give one tip to new photography graduates. Ignore what everybody else is doing. Make the work you want to make in the style you want to make it. At the end of the day if somebody doesn’t like your work it’s only an opinion. Don’t fret, figure out what’s right for you and don’t fall into trends or patterns just because something is popular.

Tell us about your goals for The South West Collective of Photography for the future. My goals are to keep on going, to make this my own living and to get out of my part time job. Obviously like mentioned before, the long-term goals are to have our own space, but until that day comes, it’s just a case of going day by day and taking every opportunity that I can to grow The South West Collective. We will be seeking to hold exhibitions, run workshops and artist talks too, to get the public to interact with photography and to inspire the next generation.

Image from the series  River  by  Ella Cousins

Image from the series River by Ella Cousins

What does 2019 have in store for The South West Collective of Photography? 2019 is a huge year for us as it will be our first full year since it was founded. In May we will be hosting our inaugural exhibition. The South West Collective of Photography have been offered the fantastic opportunity to turn a disused, empty shop space on Torquay High street at Fleet walk, into a fully operational public photography exhibition for a duration of 6 weeks beginning in early May 2019. This will be a first in Torbay with regards to photography and will hopefully be the start of something fantastic within the local community and aims to engage with a wide variety of demographics. 

The exhibitions theme is “Visual Story Telling” and will be focusing on local artists and artists from further afield, who have created gripping and engaging photographic bodies of work presenting to the public issues and stories that they may not have ever heard of. We want the exhibition to have as much community engagement as possible and will seek to be holding workshops, talks and visits from local schools, as well as working with local businesses and organisations to try and get the public engaged with photography as a medium and our exhibition. We are hoping to run a series of events and talks from historians and lecturers which will educate students and the public on the selected works themes, in order to educate them on the bigger picture that they otherwise might not be aware of. 

Not only this; we will soon be releasing our brand new website which will have a ton of new content so stay tuned for that!

Introducing FORM

In this blog post we introduce you to FORM, a lens based collective who create and communicate on issues concerning altered identity. FORM are currently calling for work for an exhibition in Derby. FORM Fringe will coincide with FORMAT International Photography Festival 2019 which will consist of a series of exhibitions, events, and a photobook stall. Click here to find out how to submit. Deadline Sunday 24th February 10am and entry is free.


What is FORM? FORM is a collective of artists based across the UK who all work with photography. Our specialisms range from graphic design, creative writing, artist book making, event planning, product photography, socially engaged practice and teaching. Our core aim is to support the production of new projects by sharing skills, collaborating and creating a community of artists.

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Tell us about the members of FORM. Have you all studied photography? FORM is made up of Becky, Cath, Jo, June, Liz and Rachael. Becky and June both studied Photography at MA level, at London College of Communication and Westminster respectively. Jo also studied at LCC for her BA in Photography, and Rachael also studied BA Photography but at Manchester School of Art. Liz studied her BA in Brighton, which allowed her to produce image and text for her dissertation and Cath studied on a Creative Arts degree and now teaches Photography A Level.

Who or what motivates members to continue making new work? We all motivate each other, that’s one of the huge benefits of working as a collective. Photography can be very solitary, and even though we all produce work at different rates we all benefit from feedback from the rest of the group and having a deadline.

How did FORM come to the surface? We were established in response to Redeye, the Photography Network’s ‘Lightbox’ program; a creative development course where photographers are grouped into collectives and supported through talks, workshops and provided a mentor. FORM were matched with Nicola Shipley of Grain Photography Hub and since the program ended have continued to work together and with Nicola to make new work.

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What is the collectives biggest achievement to date? Our first exhibition together at Brighton Photo Fringe is the biggest project we’ve worked on to date. All of the members developed new projects responding to the title of ‘Form’ while organising the fundraising, curation and promotion of the exhibition. We were based in the Collectives Hub alongside some brilliant fellow collectives and projects and received some great feedback on the show.

Tell us about the conversations you produce for your website. What's your aim for them? The conversations started initially to informally introduce the members and give us all the opportunity to know each other better, but that format suits us perfectly because it represents how we want to work as a collective.

How can photographers get involved in what you do? If you like what we do please follow us on Instagram! FORM is currently looking to work with other photographers as part of the fringe at FORMAT International Photography Festival, details of this can be found on www.formcollective.co.uk.

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Give one tip to new photography graduates. Work with other creatives! Find people who you can work with to motivate each other, get honest feedback and collaborate with. Even if they aren’t a photographer, having someone to push you to keep making work and applying for opportunities is invaluable.

What does 2019 have in store for FORM? We have recently received Arts Council funding to produce work and exhibit in a fringe alongside the FORMAT International Photography Festival. We are all continuing to develop new work for more FORM exhibitions and events, and we want to meet and work with new people. We are also very excited about the launch of Landform, a platform for female landscape photographers run by Cath. Landform will be having their first events in 2019, and there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved in photo walks and socials this year.




Introducing Landform

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


Image by Lisa Bond

Image by Lisa Bond

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

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

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

Image by Cath Stanley

Image by Cath Stanley

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

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

Image by Joanne Coates

Image by Joanne Coates

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

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

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

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

Image by Lisa Bond

Image by Lisa Bond

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

Image by Joanne Coates

Image by Joanne Coates

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

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

Image by Cath Stanley

Image by Cath Stanley

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

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

Introducing Fable & Folk

There seems to be a running theme in our recent blog posts here at Photograd as we introduce you to some other online communities and networks.
In this blog post we introduce you to Fable & Folk, an independent platform created to embrace and share the tradition of visual storytelling to inform, educate and inspire.

We think Charlotte’s answers are really inspiring so we hope you enjoy a read through them.

If you have something to share or talk about on the blog, get in touch!

Kate Walker,  A Day Away From the Farm , 2018

Kate Walker, A Day Away From the Farm, 2018

Who are you, what's your motto? My name is Charlotte and I’m a recent photography graduate. I wouldn’t say I have a motto, but one of my favourite quotes is “comparison is the thief of joy”. I think this applies so much within the photographic community - I spent years looking at other people’s work and thinking it was so much better than my own. Once I learnt to value my own work and not compare myself to others, I produced my best photography to date.

What’s your background? Have you studied photography? I was born in Manchester but grew up in a small village in North Lincolnshire. I started studying photography at A Level then moved to Cheltenham to study Editorial & Advertising Photography at The University of Gloucestershire. I graduated in November and recently got a job as a Content Creation Manager at an independent company specialising in homeware and DIY products. I plan on travelling in a couple of years time and would like to start my own photobook business in the future.

Charlotte Colenutt,  Soul Mate , 2018

Charlotte Colenutt, Soul Mate, 2018

What's your favourite style of photography? I wouldn’t say I have a favourite genre of photography, I love and appreciate photographs that tell a story or photographs that have thought and craftsmanship behind them. My specialisation, however, is documentary photography because I love to talk to people. I love to dedicate time to speaking to someone, finding out their story and trying to capture that. Moreover, I love finding out the story behind an interesting place and trying to document every inch of it to best tell it’s story to others.

Who or what motivates you? I have been passionate about photography for years now. I guess what motivates me to photograph is I feel a need to tell people’s stories and share them. I feel motivated by what’s going on in the world and by finding stories I haven’t seen/heard told before. I also surround myself with other photography - photobooks, magazines, social media accounts, organisations and blogs - to inspire me and keep me constantly thinking of new ideas.

Can you tell us what Fable & Folk is? Fable & Folk is an online platform created to embrace and share the tradition of visual storytelling to inform, educate and inspire others. Directed at young or aspiring photographers, it’s a space I curate and share narratives and photo-stories. I want to develop Fable & Folk into more than just a blog sharing others work but an online hub - full of information from fellow budding photographers and the professionals whilst keeping my audience updated with current affairs in the photographic world.

Gweniver Exton,  Spiritual Spaces , 2018

Gweniver Exton, Spiritual Spaces, 2018

Tell us about the team behind Fable & Folk. There isn’t really a team at Fable & Folk, it’s mostly just me. I tend to be involved in every step of the process from recruiting a photographer to feature to the end blog post and sharing that on social media. I don’t feel I would be 100% truthful though if I said I did everything. Sometimes, my partner Adam Elliott and a few great friends from university, particularly Megan Bendall, are a great assistance in helping me find new and exciting work. It’s difficult running the operation mostly on my own but I consider it my baby and even if I had a full team of amazing staff, I’d still want to be involved in everything.

What were your initial aims and inspirations when putting ideas together for Fable & Folk? Fable & Folk started when I was studying at university and couldn’t decide what I wanted to do for a career - all I knew was that I love photobooks. I love designing them, constructing them and collecting them. Eventually my tutor Grant Scott and I decided the best way for me to pursue a career in photobooks would be for me to start my own publishing company. To build an audience, you first need to create a blog that naturally attracts an audience that will eventually move from the blog, to your company. I can’t thank Grant and my university peers enough for their support of Fable & Folk and if you haven’t already, I recommend listing to Grant’s podcast series ‘A Photographic Life’.

Jordan Turnbull,  A Rock and a Hard Place , 2018

Jordan Turnbull, A Rock and a Hard Place, 2018

What is Fable & Folk's biggest achievement to date? I’ve never been one to keep track of numbers or views. I know it sounds cheesy but I would say my biggest achievement is having had the chance to be in contact with so many fantastic photographers and to have built a hub of Fable & Folk support on Twitter. I feel so proud of where Fable & Folk is, who our biggest supporters are and most importantly, the list of photographers I get to consider friends and mentors.

How can photographers get involved in what you do? We always love being contacted by photographers! If you’re interested in submitting to Fable & Folk, visit our ‘Contact’ page for more details. We don’t have specifics on what the series should necessarily be or look like, we only ask you send us a strong narrative. THAT’S IT. That’s not to say we accept all work but we always want to offer something - whether it’s a feature on the blog or advice on how to develop the work to eventually get it featured. We also love getting constructive criticism and positive feedback from our audience on F&F so please feel free to message us or drop us an email.

Adam Elliott,  For ours you see, was Welsh steam coal , 2018

Adam Elliott, For ours you see, was Welsh steam coal, 2018

Give one tip to new photography graduates. If I could give one tip to new photography graduates I would stress the importance of networking - whether it’s through social media or attending events, it’s vital to make contact with other photographers. Networking so much during my course has meant that since leaving university, and trying to grow Fable & Folk, I have had endless support and mentorship from so many different photographers and influencers within the community - special thanks to Iain Sarjeant for giving me heaps of advice when the blog first started and to Chloe Juno for motivating me and offering so much help. In addition, I think it’s even more helpful if you’re struggling mentally, feeling overwhelmed or lost, to talk to someone in the same boat so don’t be afraid to reach out!

What does 2019 have in store for Fable & Folk? I don’t want to give too much away but I’m hoping 2019 will be a game changer for Fable & Folk. I really want to get more interviews on the blog and I’d like to try and get a new feature on the site where I share exhibitions, events and workshops for people to attend. I’d also potentially like to rebrand - new website, new logo - so the brand evolves with the work and the audience. I hope we can really develop into a fully realised online platform featuring lots of different important yet inspirational content for budding photographers/ photography enthusiasts.

Introducing Flourish

In this blog post we introduce you to Flourish, a magazine all about thriving in a particular place, community, culture and flourishing in the outdoors. Flourish are currently seeking support through their Kickstarter campaign to bring their second issue to life which will be all about the British Isles. Check out their great rewards here - we’ve pre-ordered ourselves a copy!


Volume 1 of Flourish

Volume 1 of Flourish

My name is Lucy Jane Saunders and I am a Bath Spa University Photography graduate. I started photography years before going to university as a hobby, inspired by the disposable film camera images my dad would bring home and develop after his travels abroad. I never anticipated it could become my job, yet it slowly immersed me into the world of photography and its potentials. At university my style narrowed and I found my preferred way of working. Photographers such as Jon Tonks, Colin Pantell and Robert Darch inspired my documentary approach to photographing. Yet being outdoors, travelling, and finding new locations really motivated me to keep making new work. 

After graduating two years ago I started freelancing alongside setting up the magazine publication ‘Flourish’. I have always adored working within print production and love magazine design. I initially created it out of pure passion, the desire to create new work, and design pages where photographs and text interacted on the page telling stories. But once the first volume was made I almost felt selfish keeping it to myself… the stories I had encountered travelling, the archive of photographs I had collected and the other people I collaborated with. I decided to launch a Kickstarter Campaign to see if other creatives would be interested in supporting the publication to get the magazine to print. To my surprise we achieved our target! People from all over the world backed the campaign and three months later we had enough funding to get the magazine to the printers. I sat in the post office for hours posting a host of magazines to backers and from there I tried to gain stockists to hold the rest.

Flourish became a brand rooted from its definition: “(of a living organism) grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly congenial environment.” As humans we are constantly seeking new, intriguing, and stimulating locations to explore, travel, and experience. Flourish aims to capture those moments we treasure; the bright colours, the tastes we remember, and most importantly the time spent thriving within that place. 

I wanted to capture not only the sensual elements of a location, but also its underlying struggles, and those who have met and overcome the challenges of sustainability. Those who live from the land, create from the land, and are protecting and flourishing with the nature that surrounds them.  

In recent years, photographic magazines have been blurring the lines between books and throwaway publications. Flourish is a magazine with stability, acting as a visual map for your mind, a great piece of reading material for your rucksack, and some inspiration to enjoy with your morning coffee. 

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Flourish will remind you that life is an experience, to capture those moments from other lives you cross paths with, to think more about what surrounds us in the landscapes you gaze at, and to speculate more on your next adventure.

Over the past year Flourish has thrived and I started to stock the publication in more and more independent stores. Due to the unexpected work I had to start bringing people on board and the Flourish team started to grow. My amazing supportive family started to help me get a website together, social media sites, help package, proof read and blog. It almost became a full time job for myself. 

My biggest achievement for the publication so far was definitely an unexpected win at the Creative Bath Awards in the summer of 2018. Winning Young Creative was an outstanding achievement for myself and for the magazine team. As we went from strength to strength I found the need to make more work and I was conscious people would be expecting a second volume. Depleted of money with the print of volume 1 and the lack of freelance work I could do, I find myself back in the same position as I was in with volume 1…. It’s never easy setting up a business and the profit from print is minimal, at least for the first couple of volumes. I have set up another Kickstarter to support volume 2 titled A Snippet of The British Isles where we collaborate with more photographers, writers and illustrators than we did previously in volume 1. 

Our Kickstarter Campaign is now in its last 30 days, so we are currently half way through. We are really close to making our target to get the publication to print and we would love the support of fellow photographers, creatives, and others who are passionate about the subject of Travel, Culture, Sustainability and Outdoor Living. Our campaign acts as a pre-ordering service…. where you can pre-order volume 2 A Snippet of The British Isles but also the possibility of gaining other rewards such a one off prints, illustrations and getting your name within the volume. 

If you would be interested in supporting the publication please visit our page here.

I am always on the look out for new photographers to feature within the publication. I love collaborating and love working with other graduates and fresh graduates as I was once in this position myself. I am always on the look out for something unique… someone who can create innovate stories through their pictures and who are enthusiastic about their work! 

Introducing Fiiiirst

In this blog post we introduce you to Fiiiirst, an online gallery showcasing anonymous discussions between authors photographers. Every month, two photographers are invited to interact through an image-based discussion. To keep this dialog without a pre-formated vision, the identities of each author are kept secret until the end of their respective discussion. Each picture produced is used as an inspiration to create the next one.


Who are you, what's your motto? I’m Guillaume Tomasi, a french-canadian photographer based in Montreal. 

What’s your background? Before doing photography I was a creative developer in several design studios in Geneva and in Montreal. During that time, I was addicted to creating beautiful websites with complex animations and visual effects. When I moved from France to Canada, I discovered a new city and at the same time I wanted to capture this new place with a digital camera. Slowly, photography became an obsession and in 2016 I decided to leave my job, and dedicated my time to photography.

Thomas Bouquin , Montreal

Thomas Bouquin, Montreal

Have you studied photography?  When I left my job I decided to start a BFA in Photography at Concordia University in Montreal. I discovered analog photography; how to developed negatives and how to print in the darkroom. I wanted to be more coherent when I was working on a photo project: How can I translate a subject into visuals.

It was not easy to return to school with two kids so I studied part-time and I will finally complete my degree in 2020.

What's your favourite style of photography? Its changed over time. At the beginning, I was very interested in black and white street photography - Cartier Bresson, Winogrand, Robert Frank, etc... After that I became strongly attached to colour - Joel Sternfeld, Stephen Shore, Todd Hido, etc…

Now I am more and more interested in communicating something personal who can touch a larger audience, like a universal feeling or situation. And working with something fictional is a new method that I want to implement into my future projects. An imaginary subject that can relate to our lives or society.

Kent Andreasen , Cape Town

Kent Andreasen, Cape Town

Who or what motivates you? Ideas! The moment where a tiny and simple idea becomes something bigger, where everything is possible. It really excites and motivates me.

I noticed that I am very confident at the beginning of a project because I have many pictures in mind. After that, I feel frustrated and disappointed by my results because nothing looks like what I had in mind. Slowly the project becomes something completely different that the initial idea. It's like a short moment of grief everytime.

I find inspiration in classical fields such as literature, cinema and music, but my latest projects are often sentences that I heard from discussion or a mundane situation.   

Sophie Barbasch , New York

Sophie Barbasch, New York

Can you tell us what Fiiiirst is? Sure! Fiiiirst is an online gallery showcasing anonymous discussions between authors photographers. Every month, two photographers are invited to interact through an image-based discussion. The main detail is that the photographers don’t know with whom they discuss until the discussion is completed and published on the website.

They upload their pictures into a private area and send an anonymous email to the other artist. The first artist then creates a picture. The second one receives it and uses it as an inspiration to create another picture. The discussion continues until they reach a certain amount of photographs.

I wanted this experience to be anonymous when they discuss the images so to remove the ego complex or to dictate which style (or photographs) they will then create based on the universe of their penfriend. 

Maela Ohana , Montreal

Maela Ohana, Montreal

What were your initial aims and inspirations when putting ideas together for Fiiiirst? When I discovered photography and started to follow some contemporary photographers, I noticed that they was a small community where everyone knew the name or the works of each others. I became curious in imagining what would be the result if this artist collaborated with another one, and it was a great opportunity to challenge their creative practice by placing them with another artist whose work is very different in aesthetics or themes. 

What is Fiiiirst’s biggest achievement to date? Currently, the 3rd edition is running and I really appreciate the critical response for each discussion. I receive more and more submissions for future editions and it’s very difficult to decide which one will be chosen.

When I started the first edition I had nothing except a concept and now there are 80 photographers from 29 different countries involved.

How can photographers get involved in what you do? If people want to participate they can simply send me their portfolio at guillaume@fiiiirst.com because the recruitment for the 4th edition is open until the end of January!!  They can also follow our Facebook and Instagram page to get the latest discussions and news about Fiiiirst.

Give one tip to new photography graduates. Do your thing without anticipating awards, recognitions etc… Your work will benefit to be outside this stressful and unnecessary circle. Also, don’t tease too much of your work before a publication. Consider the quality instead of the quantity on social media. It will be good in the long term. 

What does 2019 have in store for Fiiiirst? In 2019, I am going to publish the first "Fiiiirst book” which will regroup pictures from the first two editions. It won’t be the same as the website but the pictures will be mixed or edit into a global and hybrid discussion.

I hope to be able to present to you this book in the summer. It’s difficult to say exactly when it’s going to be real, because Fiiiirst is a pro-bono side project which take a lots of time and I it’s just me working on it. I will create a kickstarter campaign in a few days/weeks. 

In June 2019 I am going to launch the 4th edition of Fiiiirst and right now I am very excited when I see the names of some shortlisted photographers.

Introducing Findr

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

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

 
 

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

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

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

Image by Harry Spekter

Image by Harry Spekter

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

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

Image by Michael Sheridan

Image by Michael Sheridan

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

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

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

Image by Pooyan

Image by Pooyan

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

Follow findr on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Introducing Loupe Magazine

Loupe, a free magazine featuring a diverse selection of contemporary photography. Issue 7 in stockists now - find out more here.

 
 

Who are you, what's your motto? I’m Luke Archer, editor / founder of Loupe magazine and a photographer in a very loose sense of the word!

I think you can’t go wrong with ‘treat others how you would expect to be treated’ as a motto, it certainly informs my approach to life and Loupe. Funnily enough I think the original quote comes from the book of Luke!

Have you studied photography? What are your thoughts? I studied my BA at UWE and I’m currently studying for my MA at AUB. Many of the Loupe team are recent grads. The magazine goes out to a lot of universities and we do try and feature student work so photography education is an area of interest for us!

There are certain constraints that academia puts on courses to make them a ‘degree’ that I don’t always think are essential for photography. Personally, I think the written elements of courses should be reduced and more emphasis should be put on making sure everyone is technically competent and developing career paths for students. However, photography is a tricky subject to teach, courses tend to be broad and with student dedication so varied it is hard to create a program that will be a perfect fit for each student.

For me studying the BA had a massive impact, the difference in the standard of my work from when I started my BA and finished was huge, I just wish I had spent less time on my dissertation and more time making contacts! That’s very much how I have tried to approach the MA.

I also do worry for current BA students that the fees are incredibly high. I think universities should be covering the cost of London degree shows and more competitions should be free or have low entry cost for students, that’s the feedback we get from our student readers.

What's your favourite style of photography? With Loupe we are trying to show the diversity of photography, how the medium can encompass such a breadth of approaches, so I hope my own taste is as varied I think it is!

That being said, I am a sucker for documentary work where a photographer is able to tell a story through portrait, landscape and detail shots. I’m also becoming very interested in how photographers are incorporating text and interviews into their work to tell a fuller story, currently I’ve been really inspired by the work of Lauren Greenfield and Mahtab Hussain.

Can you tell us what Loupe Magazine is? Loupe is a free photography magazine distributed across the UK. We are stocked at a lot of photography specific locations so I think all our readers are as passionate about photography as we are! As previously mentioned we try and feature a diverse selection of inspiring work.

We launched Issue 1 in May 2016 and have been publishing on a triannual basis ever since.

Who makes up the team behind the magazine? Currently we have designer and co-founder Alec Jackson, Leticia Batty who manages our distribution and Harry Flook who is editor of our web content.

We have a whole host of regular writers including Gemma Padley, Mischa Frankl-Duval, Grace Benton, Alex Ingram and Rosie Wadey, alongside some new recruits who are helping with our web content and will hopefully be writing in future issues. 

We also have Noah and Dan who are doing some research as part of work experience modules for their degrees.

Most of the guys are trying to balance the mag with their own photography / studies and paid work so I try not to overload everyone with tasks. Although you would have to ask them if that’s working out or not!

What were your initial aims and inspirations when putting ideas together for Loupe Magazine? Like others we aim to promote new talent but I hope we go the extra mile by sending each issue directly to a lot of people in the photography industry for example: picture editors, curators, ad agency art buyers among many others.

I think that some titles put a deliberate distance between themselves and their readers to somehow inflate their own importance and we don’t want that with Loupe. We are trying to be as open and as approachable as possible. We respond to submissions and give advice when asked (if we can!) and I know from my own experience trying to promote work how much that means to people.

What is Loupe Magazine's biggest achievement to date? Reaching Issue 7! Independent publishing isn’t easy so it is often the small achievements that make it worthwhile. It’s been great to be able to be the first to publish someone’s work in print and then for the project to be picked up by other outlets, or just hearing that our readers appreciate what we do in terms of our general ethos and curation.

It was nice to be shortlisted for the 2017 Stack Awards, the ceremony was great because it was fun to be in a room with so many people obsessed with print.

What do you look for in a photographer who would like to get involved with what you do? We want to feature and promote work that hasn’t had a lot of coverage already. Having said that I am aware that as a free magazine our readership is very broad so I do try and consider that a body of work that might be well known in some areas of the community might be new to others.

For me the best work has a strong and concise concept that has been well executed. If there is a strong degree of originality in both those areas, then that’s the work that grabs my attention.

Curating the magazine is tricky because we have limited pages and that means we have to pass on featuring some very strong work. I feel bad rejecting work because it is not about the quality, it's more about maintaining the diversity of each issue. For example, we have so many people submit amazing documentary work, shot with available light on medium format film but we simply can’t publish it all.

Give one tip to new photography graduates. Try not to let rejection get you down! Although it is something that I still struggle with! There are so many rejections or simply not hearing back from magazines, competitions, potential employers, funding opportunities etc. If you can move forward and keep shooting and keep reaching out to people as opposed to dwelling on it that’s great. There are so many factors beyond the quality of your work that impact on those decisions that we should learn to not take it personally and keep on trucking!

What does the future hold for Loupe Magazine? A new website is top of my list! I want to make sure all the new content we are producing is as easy to access and enjoy as possible.

There are lot of ideas floating about and some vey blue sky thinking! Thankfully with more people helping I hope we can do even more to get to know our readers. A launch event or exhibition for each issue is something we couldn’t do before but hopefully we can put one on for the next issue and everyone can have a beer on us!

An interview with SEMI ZINE

We recently interviewed the founder and editor of SEMI ZINE to give an insight into what they're all about and how you can get involved. Scroll down to find out more!

"We're advocators of great artwork and dedicated artists."

 
 

Who are you? What and where did you study? I’m Pagy Wicks, I’m the founder and editor of SEMI ZINE. I studied Photographic Arts at the University of Westminster in London. Doing my degree was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I really learnt how to think academically about photographic art and UoW was a great facilitator of critical thinking.

What is SEMI ZINE? Who's behind this creation? SEMI ZINE is a non-profit online and soon to be POD (print-on-demand) magazine dedicated to the arts on a global scale. It’s a new platform for artists to publish work and gain a bit of interest in their current projects. Initially I started up the magazine in my bedroom late one eve, it’s now grown to a small collection of art enthusiasts and graduates in different fields who wanted to contribute and work with me on the idea. 

Image by  Nina Musholt

Image by Nina Musholt

How do you go about selecting artists to feature on the platform? We aim to feature anyone who submits work. Our selection process is very fluid and really depends on how much effort has been put into the body of work and if we can gauge that from the first submission. We also like the collaboration aspect of selecting artists to be featured with us. We do have a particular subjective ‘look’ in mind for the magazine based on our own interests. If the submission doesn’t necessarily suit our look we’ll have an in-depth look at the artists’ online portfolio and try to work out whether they have a body of work we’re eager to share with our followers which so far, luckily, everyone has had. 

Tell us about your ideas to create a print on demand zine. This was basically born out of the idea of running a cost effective, non-profit art magazine. It means we can cater to an audience no matter how small or large. There are setbacks to running a POD magazine - there may be a longer wait for your copy since we print on order. With the resurgence and resurrection of the magazine we’re not short for platforms that support a POD model. If you’re a nerd about all things print, like I am, then now is a great time to be alive and working.

Image by  Ewan Waddell

Image by Ewan Waddell

How can creatives get involved with what you do? SUBMIT SUBMIT SUBMIT. We have a really simple submission system in place. Our website (semizine.co.uk) is pretty straightforward and user friendly. Artists can submit work via our submit tab online. I also welcome emails (info@semizine.com) from artists who might have any mixed media ideas they’re looking to share with us. Occasionally I’m also trawling media to reach out to different artists around the world. Once we’ve made a connection we always stay in contact for future work or shows from the artists we feature. Our only regret in regard to submissions is that we cannot feature everyone simultaneously and our artists do suffer a hefty wait in our feature queue, so far though everyone has been very supportive and understanding about the waiting period. We’re super grateful for our lovely artists. 

As SEMI ZINE is not for profit, what's in it for you? The magazine is another platform for artists to be able to get their work published. I’m a photographic artist myself and I know the struggle to get word out that you’re dedicated as an artist is real. The whole concept was born out of that. We’re non discriminative in all regards and we value your work as much as you do. I really actually enjoy art in most of its forms and I’m a huge nerd about great art - if we get to feature someone talented who maybe hasn’t been discovered yet or has something completely valid to say then that’s our gain. 

Image by  Mauricio Alejo

How does a SEMI ZINE interview work? How do you decide what questions to ask? We have a set of questions which aim to offer a more inside look into the artist and their own work. This set is always accompanied by a few questions as a response from me or the team about the work itself specifically. Since we’re all academics and graduates we do tend to ask very academic style questions which might relate to different well known theories in art. The idea is to create a cool discursive between the magazine and the artist. I always ask the artist to have fun while answering and don’t really limit them to what they can and can’t say or to any word count. It’s there to offer an inside perspective on the creative process to the reader for that feature. We try to create really interesting and immersive content for our readers too so this would affect how we pick our questions. 

Tell us about some of the artists you've decided to include with this interview. We’ve decided to show you a mix of currently featured and yet to be featured artists. Our current list of artists to be featured is so large at the moment that it wouldn’t be right not to consider their images for this interview. We tried to show a great variety in artwork we publish as well. In order of images we decided to show Nina Musholt - her work “[...] is driven by surrealism and daily myths and riddles.”, Krasimira Butseva - In her practice she explores “[...] history, politics and collective memory; working with state and personal archives, found photography and objects, and contemporary landscape photography.”, Mauricio Alejo creates intricate temporary sculptures in his home and documents the installations on 4x5 film and Ewan Waddell whose “[...] main motivations at the moment are creating visuals within fashion and documentary genres – and also producing publications.”. 

What's your biggest achievement to date? I know it might sound like a super diplomatic answer but honestly we feel like every single artist we’ve been able to feature and work with has been our biggest achievement to date. SEMI ZINE started out of my bedroom late at night and has bloomed into this already insanely cool archive and showcase. We’ll always see us reaching out as our biggest achievement and we’ll forever be grateful for our collective of artists too. It doesn’t stop at a submission - we like to get involved so we’re anticipating many more achievements to come.

An Interview with Pop My Mind

As you know, Photograd are working with Pop My Mind again on a brand new, exciting challenge. Head over to their platform to read more about Creativegrad which will be officially launching soon.

To give you more of an insight into Pop My Mind we've interviewed the team. We hope you enjoy the read.


Who are you, what's your motto? We are a powerful art community creating stunning content that will make you POP! In other words, we are a collective of creative people from around the world who like to experiment and create new, engaging pieces of work in response to each other’s work, current topics and for larger projects.

What's your creative style? As a company, we are all about authenticity – all the work we create is genuinely influenced by something else on the site, and is made by real people who love what they do (and are great at what they do)! There are so many of us in different disciplines – artists, writers, photographers, musicians, film makers – that we don’t have an overarching style. But it is this diversity that makes our community so powerful, and why the work we make is so unique.

Can you tell us what Pop My Mind is? We are an organisation built around an online community of hand-picked artists and creatives. Brands, agencies and festivals can hire us to use our platform and challenge our community to produce dynamic new work in response to their products and brand. This work is completely bespoke and can be used in all sorts of ways to help them stand out from the crowd.

What were the initial aims for the platform? We are always trying to expand our community and get more people working with us on exciting projects. Our aim is for a good percentage of our community to be able to earn a living income through us from doing the creative projects which they love to do!

What’s your biggest achievement to date? I think getting our first client was a pretty exciting day for us. That was the point when we knew that we had the potential to do something really great for our community who have been so supportive, enthusiastic and involved in our organisation from the beginning. We also realised the power that creative content has, and that it can be used in such a wide variety of applications to make an unforgettable impression on an audience.

What do you look for when accepting new users onto the platform? We look for people who experiment and explore in their practice, who have creative ideas and make inspirational work. We also like their work to have a distinct or recognisable style, and we’re always interested to see how people engage with fellow artists and take influences from different sources. That’s what we’re about after all! 

What does Pop My Mind provide its users? Our community receive access to exclusive opportunities to expand their practice and creative careers, such as being included in group exhibitions and events, getting online and real-life exposure, and earning money for the work they produce.

P.S. we always get asked this, but there is no catch! It is our honour that creatives want to join our community and so being part of it and accessing our opportunities is completely free.

How can people get involved? Being part of Pop My Mind is simple – you just have to visit www.popmymind.com/joinus, pop us an email and we will be in touch with you to say hi. 

Give one tip to new creative graduates. Meet as many other creative people as you can - listen, share, and get inspired! Getting a network of like-minded people around not only gives you a great support system, it means you are constantly presented with fresh ideas and new perspectives, which is essential for developing your ideas and methods.

Also, take as many opportunities as you can. It can be so difficult to make a name - or a living - for yourself in the creative industries, but that first foot in the door is all you need.

And you know where to look for both of those… 

What does the future hold for Pop My Mind? Well that would be telling! We’ve got some exciting things on the horizon including our Think Travel project with spoken word artist Roseanne Ganley, which aims to combine travel and creativity to understand and promote mental wellbeing. 

We’re also currently in conversation with some trendy businesses and setting up creative projects with them that our community can really dig their teeth into. However, details on these have yet to be announced… stay tuned for more!