To accompany this year's MA/MFA submissions Source has asked a number of respected figures from the world of photography to select their favourite sets of images from all the work submitted.
Special Guest Selection by:
Picture Editor, The Guardian
Overview: It has been a pleasure and a privilege to review the bodies of work submitted to this year's Source Graduate Photography Online. As a newspaper picture editor, my usual focus is on the topic of documentary and photojournalism so it has been an enlightening experience casting an eye over such a variety of genres, each with their unique set of disciplines and structures. The breadth and depth of subject matter has been a revelation and I have been hugely impressed by the professionalism and technical ingenuity employed in many of the submissions. In an age where much of the content we consume is image led, we are constantly re-evaluating the way we visually represent ourselves and our experiences so it is heartening to discover photographers with fresh, original and challenging ideas. Thank you for inviting me to contribute to your graduate review.
University of Westminster - MA Documentary Photography and Photojournalism
Selector's Comment: Cultural identity has been a recurring theme in this year's submissions. This photographer's work is particularly successful as she has taken such a discrete approach to her subjects that they seem oblivious to her presence. The resulting images are an intimate and clearly personal view of Iranian life, scenes that are rarely represented to the wider world. The gentle light casts a tender atmosphere over the portraits intensifying the intimate feel and the kitchen scene is delicately revealing in its detail.
Selector's Comment: Photojournalism is in essence an exercise in visual storytelling and here the photographer presents a clear narrative. The earthy quality of the images detailing abandonment, journey, the significance of belongings and landscape, entices the viewer to follow the plight of the Karelia evacuees the way a dark fairytale captures the imagination. The joyful portrait that is the final picture in the set is a life affirming surprise and completes the charm of this project on a hopeful note.
Selector's Comment: Among the entries into the landscape category James Goodchild's black and white set of photographs were outstanding in their originality. Stripping the scenes back to their most stark elements is elegantly effective in drawing attention to the subject. The faint hint of texture in each image gently and appropriately grounds the subject. A really stylish and intriguing approach to landscape photography which is refreshing to see.
University of Westminster - MA Photographic Studies
Selector's Comment: Shot in the architecturally ordered environment of London's financial district, the incongruous positioning of the characters in each image challenges the traditions of how we use formal public spaces with real wit. The project is well directed and effectively unsettling in defining its point. The photographer's bold use of graphic shape and framing serves to enhance the edgy chaos of each scene leading to a consistently accomplished set of images.
Selector's Comment: This is another group of pictures whose graphic nature is quite exquisite. Sensitive positioning of the characters within the set exaggerates their diminutive scale and plays with the idea of their vulnerability. Subtle use of tone that picks the edges of the set out as if caught by light, the colour of the female character's dress richly echoed in the glow appearing through doors and windows and the contoured detail of their features intensifies the theatricality and drama of the atmosphere. This is a polished piece of work determined by the quality of preparation.
Selector's Comment: The strength of this project is established by the square-on framing of each scene , bringing a very precise dynamic to the view. The result is a clarity of emphasis on the pathetic nature of the wishful illustrations of what might have or should have been, set against the reality of decay and dereliction. Repeating the approach in each shot means the collection of images together is greater than the sum of its parts and places the photographer in the role of curator.
Fiona Shields originally trained as a print journalist. Fiona moved into photojournalism in the early days of digital photography and has worked on a range of national newspaper titles from The Daily Mail to The Observer. She joined The Guardian in 1994 and became picture editor of the newspaper in 2009.