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 am interested in how photographers interpret the world around them. The work submitted from MA Graduates this year ranged from the cool objective documenting of evidence, the reappropriation of images, conceptual series, or an abstract stream of consciousness. Images resonate and can be read on many levels and I am drawn to them all. Every year there is a rich stream of talented photographers that emerge from various courses. MA programmes offer an important focused and framework for development, fostering a critical environment in which individuals can develop as artists with photography at the core of their practice. Fortunately the definition of photography is fluid, enabling the forms of image making to be reinvented with multiple identities. Photography's potency lies in its disregard for a fixed definition, as demonstrated by the recent graduates in this selection, be it digital, analogue, still, moving, staged or journalistic the photographic image continues to be explored through thoughtful and arresting work.
Selector's Comment: Drowning in a Sea of Infinite Meaning explores the sea's mercurial surface and the human interventions with it. The images are simultaneously abstract and poetic, while the trace of a human figure locates and grounds us in a recognisable landscape. The sea is a mythical site in poetry, literature and the cinematic, drawing from multiple references these images offer us an almost romantic notion of the sublime.
Selector's Comment: Tumbling Blocks is a photographic series and installation that refers to familiar subjects such as memory and loss. Following the death of his mother the artist started to document the connections between the elements that began to polarise and coalesce around the concrete blocks on a walk along the Suffolk cost and the pattern on a jumper knitted by his mother. The series is a personal yet relatable endeavour to represent the subtle signs that seem to appear and develop new meaning after a significant or traumatic event.
Selector's Comment: These layered images are created by bringing together two pairs of found Kodachrome slides. The resulting reappropriated landscapes play with our perception of truth within the photograph. Kodachrome has a seductive aesthetic and nostalgia that locates the images in our recent past. Despite the clear signs derived from merging two contradictory landscapes together we are able suspend disbelief and enjoy the surreal possibilities that they present.
Selector's Comment: Drawing on her fascinating experience of being a Scenes of Crime Officer in the Forensics team in the series and a display case the artist examines our inability to properly process an event both emotionally and psychologically. Here we bear witness to images that consistently feature a bed, which present us with evidences that offer and reveal details highlighted by special chemical treatments and lighting techniques to reveal hidden information. The title is a brilliant additional layer of reference to the spiritual release that comes with orgasm and to the period of transcendent melancholy as a result of an expended life force.
Selector's Comment: Union documents sites of organised power from Poland to Dublin, taken in the offices of various unions. These are important places to consider, loaded with latent action, although devoid of the individuals that instigate the action, they are heavily symbolic of the practical side of an ideology that persists in many different forms to represent the rights of workers around the world.
Selector's Comment: No Day or Night This work is a dark poetic documentation in the Japanese photographic tradition, focused on life in a town in the Midlands. Presented as an emotional response capturing the lives of fringe dwelling dark characters who appear locked in a tense stasis within an endless liminal zone between dusk and dawn, and the places they inhabit.
Selection by Anne Braybon ▸
Photographic Project Commissioner at The National Portrait Gallery.
Selection by Brian Dillon ▸
Writer on photography for The Guardian, New Statesman and Artforum.
Selection by John Duncan ▸
Editor, Source Photographic Review.
View Submission Guidelines ▸