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.
When presented with the option to trawl this extensive archive of material by either course or category I opted for the former. This approach offered a fascinating opportunity to track emerging photographic practice while giving particular consideration to the impact of geographic location, teaching and course programme on students' development and concerns. What I hadn't anticipated was the extent to which the critical exchange and mutual support offered through peer groups would shine through, in many cases tangibly influencing the quality and rigour of work produced. My own concerns with the social realities and relationships produced by globalisation have guided my recommendations here. Ultimately, however, this process of selection has reminded me just how difficult it is to produce good photographs. In my view, these graduates work with a strong awareness of both photographic history and contemporary contexts to take a fresh approach to established themes or to approach new subjects with clarity and verve. Their projects offer excellent starting points for forays into the rich selection of material contained here and their respective peers are a pretty good place to continue looking.
Selector's Comment: The economy's role in shaping lives and landscapes is thematised in these photographs. In documenting abandoned golf courses Grimes finds a thoroughly compelling visual symptom of economic collapse which avoids the usual tropes of 'poverty porn'.
Selector's Comment: A beautifully conceived project which traces an intimate link between landscape and genetics. The distinctive coolness often encountered in Nordic cinema is deployed here to build an intriguing narrative which offers a vertiginous perspective on human history, delving into the physical realities of generations of geographic isolation alongside the spectacular advances of contemporary science.
Selector's Comment: These ominous dystopian landscapes capture hidden locations that are usually cast far from the collective consciousness. McNally's topographies of landfill sites are imbued with a sci-fi aesthetic making them appear as spectres of potential futures rather than the concrete realities of actual presents. Powerful and rather unnerving.
Selector's Comment: Autobiographical accounts of everyday realities are a common theme explored by many of this year's graduates, but the energy and absurdist drive behind this submission marked it apart. The informal - even chaotic - mix of images of nights out, street protests, roadworks, smoking false teeth and scuffles in the Holy Land perfectly suits Caruth's chosen formats of self-published zines and tumblr websites.
Selector's Comment: These portraits offer a fresh approach to the well-worn theme of adolescence. Wade seeks to frame the complexity of the transition from childhood into adulthood against the instability wrought by the financial crisis. By working with Northern Ireland's first 'post-conflict' generation, the teenagers' lives encapsulate a shift from the traumas of more localised disputes around identity to those thrown up by the maelstrom of the global economic system.
Selection by James Hyman ▸
Director, James Hyman Photography, London.
Selection by Sean O'Hagan ▸
Writer on photography for The Guardian and The Observer.
Selection by John Duncan ▸
Editor, Source Photographic Review.
View Submission Guidelines ▸