Each year as part of Graduate Photography Online we ask a number of professionals from the world of photography to review all the BA work submitted and choose their favourites. We hope this makes an interesting introduction to the project as a whole.
& Trish Lambe
The standard of the work submitted for the Source Graduate Photography project was very high indeed. Many of the submissions display a sophisticated critical understanding of the medium, with some producing genuinely assured and first rate work. Given that photography is the most socially embedded/connected of all the fine art media, it is perhaps no surprise that recession is reflected in a trend towards sober societal concerns and a strong engagement with the local and the particular. Themes that emerge include intimate reflections on personal and domestic narratives; an uncertainty about the role of the individual/citizen within the family and broader society; serious existential explorations of mortality, illness, loss and grief; a questioning of our relationship with urban and rural environments. The compelling, diverse and engaging range of works are a testament to the strength of the photography courses in UK and Ireland.
Selector's Comment: Wry, dry, funny and peculiar, this collaborative project flirts with a number of photographic styles. It nods to 'Useful Photography' and winks at 'Art School Still Life Conceptualism' with delightfully enigmatic results. The scale would be good for a book - or a similarly friendly, non-confrontational presentation format - not sure if big prints would work, but they probably know that themselves.
Selector's Comment: Samuel Cunnane's series of seemingly banal B&W images simultaneously repel and attract the viewer. On further scrutiny the photographs reveal sinister undertones reminiscent of Michael Schmidt's 'Waffenruhe'. The work transcends traditional documentary approaches to photography, favouring instead an ambivalent and lyrical style.
Selector's Comment: Insomnia and related altered states were a concern for a number of graduates, but Sean Englishby's work succeeded in conveying the contradictions inherent in the experience of sleep disorders. Using the expressive power of colour slide film, the work captures the curious sense of quiet normalcy that nonetheless coexists with the disorientation and out-of-body experiences of those that live by night.
Selector's Comment: Gillard's portraits of women footballers are a fresh and engaging take on a classic photographic subject, providing an interesting counterpoint to the sexualised representation of women in the media. The young women display a compelling mix of beauty, strength and serious intent. In these carefully structured photographs an apparent simplicity of approach belies a sophisticated use of colour and a controlled use of light.
Selector's Comment: The tracing of an individual life through the material culture of domestic interiors is a recurring theme in many bodies of work submitted. Alexandra Jordan's study of her grandfather manages to balance a personal introspective narrative with a more general nostalgia. Avoiding pastiche and retro-chic, this beautiful rendered work successfully combines her quietly compelling portrait with an assured formal use of dense colour, pattern and all things 70's.
Selector's Comment: This moving body of work succeeds in exploring the theme of loss in new and revealing ways. Re-working home videos, Lai explores not only the loss of childhood innocence - something we all experience - but also the specific loss of intimacy that comes with the institution of language barriers, specifically the emigrant's loss of 'mother tongue'. Intriguingly, the work is also open to a more universal reading - as being about the cleaving of the individual from the infant that occurs to us all once we gain accession to language.
Selector's Comment: This very assured work has wonderful drama and movement. It offers a fresh yet sophisticated take on an established subject. Maserin focusses on the priests' vestments as a liminal space (literally) interposed between the physical body and the divine ritual. As much about photography as about religious ritual, the work is an investigation of moments of transformation and transcendence. With admirable poise and open-handedness, it rewards interpretation from diverse perspectives.
Selector's Comment: Sumerling's study of community action against a third runway at Heathrow Airport is a refreshing counterpoint to the miserabilist tone of a lot of news-focussed social documentary. Made over the course of a year, this lush colour work is a quiet celebration of the squatters' and local residents' achievements. The idealism of the community initiative itself sits well with the idealism that must underly any photographic representation that seeks to contribute to social change.
Selection by Susan Bright ▸
Independent writer, Lecturer and Curator.
Selection by John Duncan ▸
Editor, Source Photographic Review.
Selection by Anne McNeill ▸
Director, Impressions Gallery.
View Submission Guidelines ▸