Each year as part of Graduate Photography Online we ask a number of professionals from the world of photography to review all the MA/MFA work submitted and choose their favourites. We hope this makes an interesting introduction to the project as a whole.
I tried to imagine what would happen if I 'curated' a small group of artists from Source's bank or archive, and through this process I identified a theme amongst potentially dozens of thematic combinations. This was an enjoyable way in which to recognise common ground between photographers, as well as generational idiosyncrasies in young artists using the photographic medium at this moment in time. For me, the works I have chosen deal with parallel global, political and social realities in a forceful manner. Laurie Campbell and Maria Gruzdeva, for example, document the fate of former Soviet monuments preserved in marginal spaces, and Russia's current border patrol respectively. In turn Solmaz Tahvilzadeh's images record an incongruous Iranian luxury hotel built before the country's revolution, Kavin Supupramai's pictures present his dislocation and cultural isolation as a young Thai artist living in the UK's north east, while Robin Gardiner deals with architecture, urban re-location and through association, the changing nature of art education in London through his semi-abstract imagery. Dislocation and transformation are prevalent throughout these practices.
Selector's Comment: I found Laurie Campbell's project 'Overshadowed', a series of work documenting Soviet-era monuments rooted in sites that have changed irrevocably over the past twenty-two years, powerfully resonant of Russia's current socio-political reality. The relics in Campbell's subtly schizophrenic 'liminal' landscapes are stranded yet unforgiving and abrasive.
Selector's Comment: Maria Gruzdeva has documented The Border Guard Service that patrols the perimeter of Russia; the longest national border in the world. As in Campbell and Tahvilzadeh's works, a transitional threshold, or ambiguous contemporary reality results, amplifying strength, yet also fragility and impermanence.
Selector's Comment: Kavin Supupramai's 'identity interiors' speak of the artist's initial displacement, isolation and a subsequent coming to terms with his new environment. This cultural duality and tension connects in a more personal manner with the previous three artists' work I have selected, this time within a contemporary UK context.
Selector's Comment: Continuing the UK context referred to in Supupramai's series, Robin Gardiner has examined a subject very close to home. His photographs of Central St Martins in Shadow Dancing present his art school's old premises in central London before its move to new headquarters in Kings Cross. One could see this action as examining the changing nature of the institution in a way that that frames the artist's education, as well as ideas around transition and impermanence through a form of abstraction grounded in the real.
Selector's Comment: Solmaz Tahvilzadeh's pictures of the Kadoosan Grand Hotel in the Iranian seaport of Anzali shows a similar form of displacement as Laurie Campbell's photographs of Soviet-era monuments. Built in the 1950s before the revolution, traces of the Shah of Iran's enterprise are still present in the building's interiors and faded architectural details.
Selector's Comment: Christopher Torry is the anomaly in my set of six. His work is informal, incidental, haphazard and contains no strong or identifiable subject matter. Yet somehow this series of photographs still works. There's something naturally disjunctive and just plain wrong about these images compared to anything else in Source's current bank of graduating photographers. For this, it should be celebrated.
Selection by Stefanie Braun ▸
Senior Curator, The Photographers' Gallery London.
Selection by John Duncan ▸
Editor, Source Photographic Review.
View Submission Guidelines ▸