Overview: Source's graduate project has been a great way to see the depth and breadth of photographic work being produced across Ireland and the UK. It has been a real privilege to spend time looking at, and thinking about the work of the new emerging photographers of tomorrow. I have often stated that there are too many photography students in the world, making too many mediocre photographs. I have come away from this project with a renewed sense of optimism - I think that 'good' photography should be careful and thoughtful and I was struck by the level of passion and intelligence some students brought to bear on their work. It was, also, rewarding to see the myriad of approaches and scope of critical engagement that certain students were employing across all the different genres of photography. Whilst it is heartening to see that a sizable majority of students can make a picture rather than simply take it - I would still inject a word of caution that maybe there are too many courses out there, the jury is still out.
Selector's Comment: Since its invention, many have used the medium of photography to explore the relationship we have to the countryside - a tradition that Paddy Kelly has exploited in a meaningful way. His photographs of former IRA training sites depict a landscape scarred; yet not scarred, by a recent and complicated political history. There are no visible human traces of its previous use and as such he has created a dialogue between photography and memory.
Cleveland College of Art and Design - BA (Hons) Photography
Selector's Comment: Donna Toroni has produced a clever set of portraits that manage to express the uncertainty, insecurity and doubt many of us have experienced as adolescents. It is a meditation on the public persona and the private spaces of self, where the gestures - folded arms acting as protective shields - evoke a psychological sense of uneasiness and tension.
Selector's Comment: It is hard to associate the footballer's locker room with beauty; Georgie Gillard's gentle portraits do just that. Whilst, on one level this is achieved through the gender switch, it is also Gillard's photographic treatment that brings a sense of a insightful and subtle portrayal. Colour and lighting play their part in these images - muted hues coupled with directional and restrained lighting - add an ethereal and sensual quality to the confident gaze of these young athletes.
The National College of Art & Design - Certificate in Photography and Digital Imaging
Selector's Comment: This documentary project, depicting the world of pre-teen male boxers, represents a view of childhood that is neither sentimentalised nor sanitised. Set within the gym; a space more associated with testosterone than masculine softness, these images capture a certain vulnerability. The lack of brutal drama adds to the subtlety of this work that presents quiet contemplative moments.
Swansea Metropolitan University - BA (Hons) Photography in the Arts
Selector's Comment: These sensitive medium format photographs focus on details and minutiae of a boy on the verge of becoming an adolescent. These quiet, contemplative images do not follow the usual compositional rules of portraiture and as such our eyes are drawn to gestures - a downward glance, an upturned hand - that present an uncanny sense of an emotional threshold.
Glasgow School of Art - BA (Hons) Fine Art Photography
Selector's Comment: Foreboding skies, desolate mud ridden foregrounds, a single abandoned palm tree all bring a certain melancholy to Catherine Coleman's industrial landscapes. These photographs are a point in time that not only touch on the collapse of the Celtic Tiger but also speak volumes about our global economic recession.
Anne McNeill is Director of Impressions Gallery, Bradford, which is one of the UK's leading not-for-profit venues for photography. McNeill began her career, in 1984, as a darkroom worker at Camerawork, London. In 1994 she set up the commissioning agency Photoworks and was Artistic Director of Photo 98 - the UK Year of Photography. McNeill has edited over fifteen books on photography and curated numerous exhibitions including 'Seven Years' - Trish Morrissey's first major show in 2004. In 2008 McNeill curated the Anna Fox retrospective which was short listed in 2010 for the prestigious Deutsche Borse European Photography Prize.