I had the most brilliant surprise when I visited the photographers’ gallery last week. I had looked up a few of the names of the new graduate exhibition, fresh faced & wild eyed 2010, noticing many of them were coming from LCC. Almost a third of them that is. It was walking around the exhibition that I realised how impressive each person’s work was and it felt so inspiring to know that in a few years my name could be up there. I have picked out my favourite 5 of the 27. The five that really jumped out at me when I walked around.
The first photographer I found fascinating was the work of Anna Linderstam (UCA – Farnham – MA Photography).
This triptych was so large and imposing, yet set almost in a corner, so unseen if one was merely walking through the exhibition. I loved the quietness of the photographs plus the way they all came together as one scene. Then I read about her use of hypnosis on her sitters, distancing themselves from their habits. I had never even considered that idea before but here the images for me at first moved from ‘Are they related? Why is she wearing that outfit? Are they dancing? Are they nearly asleep? Are they drunk?’ to, ‘Who would let themselves be photographed hypnotized? Didn’t they feel nervous about the outcome of the photographs? I wonder what they think of the photographs in the end? Is this all about the subconscious and interacting like that?’. Visually this triptych was beautifully created, from the purple veins of the woman to the texture of the carpet. I also liked how everything was floating in mid-air, due to the batons on the back of these huge mounted prints. The figures themselves were just smaller than life size, even with the prints being that large. They were not imposing in themselves, especially as they are shown in a vulnerable state.
The second photographers’ work that I loved was Emer Gillespie (LCC – UAL – MA Photography).
What really made this piece for me was the way it was laid out in a corner. With prints mirroring eachother, showing the two lives the child leads. I found myself throwing my head side to side to compare the two sites, it felt dizzy and confusing just for me reading the photographs. I felt that this way of showing the photographs made the subject’s movement between the two homes really clear.
Clare Struthers & Becky Matthews (University of Bolton – MA International Photojournalism, Documentary and Travel Photography)
I felt something so sinister when looking at these photographs, they were mostly like general war/strife photographs, yet they were all in their wedding dresses. They are meant to be celebrating the best day of their lives. In the first image I chose here, they are clearly nervous about the ceremony but it’s unusual for us to see both the bride and groom sitting together being quiet, waiting. The fact that the weddings were done on mass also depersonalizes the individual’s stories for me, but this also goes for a lot of war photography. In the second one it looks down into all the women together, looking up at the photographer accusatory manner. But of course they’re all in their wedding dresses, so we realise it’s not meant to be about war, but perhaps their attitude or feelings about being a bride. It’s quite a contrast to see a strong genre of war photography put together with marriage and love so bluntly. It made me think about how much it meant to them to have such a special wedding in one of the refugee camps. Almost like this event was a fight against the war itself, suggesting these refugees were capable of doing anything despite their situation.
Lou-atessa Marcellin (UAL – Camberwell college of Art – BA (Hons) Photography)
As you come up the stairs and turn into the second half of the exhibition these prints strike you, they are powerful. At first I didn’t know why I loved these photographs so much but as I looked closer and have been looking at them repeatedly I’ve come to realise a lot more about why I love them. Now that I have seen all four online, I’m drawn to how they all interlock and overlap. Yet looking at them individually brings me to wonder more and more about the individual. These for me are really intricate portraits of the individuals, looking at the objects that they own, then their names underneath. There is one photograph with very little objects which suggests perhaps they had already left or they never owned that much whilst being in the Studio. The colours, markings and rigidity of the portraits reminds me a lot of a lot of German photographers with the same type of aesthetic. It’s a rather OCD type of subject too but still in a manner rough enough to not be.
Briony Campbell – The Dad Project (UAL London College of Communication – MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography)
This work was the most powerful and moving at the exhibition for me. Having felt a lot of the emotions this work put across, I felt like I recognised and could relate to the journey this photographer had. The most powerful image for me was the first one I’ve chosen, all I could think of was how beautiful it was, and then I read the words near this photograph as describing it in a similar light. I loved how she wrote on the wall in a silver pen, like it was visible but only lightly, it wasn’t overpowering. You could look at the photographs individually and then go to the text to add more to them. They added a lot more to them; they were what made me feel choked up. The quotes and anecdotes were hard-hitting but so inspiring. The series was produced in an honest, collaborative way which is what made it work so profoundly for me. I know how hard it must have been for her to take a lot of the photographs, instead of just caring for her father. I have been in the same position before and she has been a lot braver than I have.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/video/2010/apr/13/briony-campbell-father-cancer I found this video they also created as part of the project and it added even more to the series.
So on a whole, It was just a brilliantly inspiring exhibition of new up and coming photographers. I hope to see even more work of theirs to come!