John Duncan, Editor
Introducing the Selectors for the MA/MFA Phase of Graduate Photography Online 2015: we talk to John Duncan, Editor at Source Magazine.
What is your core role in the job that you do?
In each issue Source publishes three personal projects by photographers in its 'portfolios section'. My role is to be on the look out for new work for this part of the magazine. This includes work by photographers in the early stages of their careers as well as recent graduates.
How do you decide on what makes an interesting photograph or photographic project?
I have been working on Source since 1994 and I spend a lot of time looking at photography projects. I normally mentally cross reference a new piece of work against the other work that I have seen. If it's too close to work I have seen recently then it tends to be less interesting to me. It's hard to make a call on a small selection of images so it's very useful to be able to see more of the photographer's work via a link to their own web site.
As regards the artist's statement, what is important for you to know about the work?
It might include some basic background information about the work, covering who or where and why this particular subject is of interest or matters. It's often the first thing I encounter when scrutinising work so it's important that it reads clearly. Avoid making grand claims about exploring the underlying forces of the Universe and avoid including extracts from last year's theory class.
What advice would you have for someone interested in working in your area of photography?
You will find it exceptionally difficult to make a living from just doing personal work. Most people balance making personal work with doing other paid work sometimes involving photography, sometimes not. Don't get too fixated on the final exhibition. Who are you going to show the work to afterwards? Start thinking ahead. Make sure you have a smaller set of prints that you can bring to show people. Make some installation images of the final work to show scale and framing. Which open submissions, residencies or other opportunities are you aware of, or looking at? Are there galleries, studio groups or collectives in your area that you can join? Start making new work the month after you graduate. The first question you will often get asked is: 'What have you been working on since University?'