Each year as part of Graduate Photography Online we ask three curators to review all the BA work submitted and to make some recommendations. These are published both in a supplement in the magazine and here on our website. We hope this makes an interesting introduction to the project as a whole.
Reviewing work from a range of institutions has given me a stronger sense of the huge breadth of themes, approaches to story telling and aesthetic trends that are emerging across the UK. Selecting just six projects was incredibly hard. Each of those I've chosen however grabbed and held my attention by virtue of incorporating a clear and simple concept carried out well, or because they portrayed a subject in a new or original way.
Ulster University - BA (Hons) Photography
Selector's Comment: In 'Entries', Chad Alexander explores the obscure back streets, dead-ends and confined spaces that constitute the underbelly of contemporary Belfast. Giving us a sense of the past, his moody and atmospheric landscapes and portraits enchant the viewer. His work invites us into a world of the hidden and hints at remnants of violence, as well as present and ongoing subjugation and suppression. The use of double exposures are a contemporary approach to giving the viewer a sense of the past and time overlapping. The use of natural light and shadows are ethereal and imply an inherent clandestine underworld which engages and intrigues.
University of Huddersfield - BA (Hons) Photography
Selector's Comment: Thomas Duffield's 'The Whole House is Shaking' is a deeply personal project about his father's past addiction to heroin in the midst of an outwardly facing idyllic rural upbringing. By using a series of poignant still lifes with beautiful naturally lit portraits of family members, Thomas conjures up a sense of past hurts and hints at residual emotions and events that are difficult to understand or recognize in childhood. The awkward image of the hanging of washing and the decaying fruit, give the viewer a feeling of unease and insinuate a concealed story within an outwardly normal fašade.
Griffith College Dublin - BA Photographic Media
Selector's Comment: 'Inis' by Julie Smyth documents the smallest of the Aran islands on the far reaches of Ireland's wild western coast. This remote and sparsely populated place has a personal connection for Smyth through her grandmother's birth and memories of childhood holidays. The blue and grey hues of the landscape, shot in a graphic style and in square format, are echoed in the 3D origami shapes. Archival photography and documents are used seamlessly with this modern aesthetic and the stark, cold and isolated atmosphere of the location.
Middlesex University London - BA (Hons) Photography
Selector's Comment: Mao Hashinokuchi's 'Something From Nothing' is a wonderfully playful documentation of every day, mundane, found domestic objects, placed in seemingly random configurations around the home. Graphic, bold and both coincidental and orchestrated, each frame has an instilled oddness and humour and compels the viewer to search for a deeper meaning. Beer bottles holding carnations, a half eaten melon next to an open washing machine, stems of grapes taped to the wall - these images are strange, curious and highly compelling.
Ulster University - BA (Hons) Photography
Selector's Comment: In 'The Oaks' Richard Hamilton's series of nude self portraits against the background of his family's farm portrays the meeting and jarring of two worlds. Each image shows the photographer as protagonist, central in the frame and nude within a stark British agricultural scene. The odd shapes made with the body highlight this juxtaposition. Exploring Hamilton's personal coming to terms with not following in his family's footsteps, the project nods to the wider general trend of new professions being taken up by younger generations.
Sheffield Hallam University - BA (Hons) Photography
Selector's Comment: 'Torr Dubh M˛r' by Louis William Clay is a series of beautiful landscape images of the Isle of Arran off the Scottish west coast. The largest of the islands in the Firth of Clyde, Clay's images show us Arran's wild vegetation, weather-beaten vistas and hints at the few humans that populate the area. Exploring loneliness and solitude through these panoramas, the green and brown palette and grey-blue wide open skies convey a pensiveness, drawing the viewer into the photographer's slow and meditative journey by foot across the island.
Selection by Marie-France Kittler »
Curator - Firstsite.
Selection by Salvatore Vitale »
Editor-in-chief - YET magazine.
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