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.
Firstly let me say it has been a real pleasure to look through all of the entries, and how tough it has been to select just six, there were many contenders. My final selection was led by the images, those that grabbed my attention and worked well as a set, but the text did at times alter my reading of the work and offer new understanding. Some of those that didn't make the cut had one or two very strong pictures, but others that detracted from the power of the work rather than enhance it. All of those I have chosen ask questions of the viewer and in some cases make for uncomfortable viewing, which in a world saturated with images is no bad thing. Long may the still image reign.
Selector's Comment: Alice's pictures of fathers with their sons are shot with great sensitivity. Each pair is seated on a sofa, the son resting his head on the father's shoulder. The title of the work, Empty Nest, alludes to the notion that they will soon be parted. There is warmth in every shot, though in some there is also a slight sense of unease, possibly from the very act of being pictured, but perhaps from the impending separation. The images, seemingly so simple to read, are full of ambiguity. Two lives about to take a new turn.
Selector's Comment: This is one set that just jumped out of the screen at me. Serena not only took the pictures but she also designed the clothes, challenging the appropriation of streetwear by the fashion industry. These beautiful urban portraits were taken in typical London settings. Radiating real life, they would feel at home in any of the many fashion magazines.
Selector's Comment: Alexander's Teen Buzz takes its title from an electronic device called the Sonic Teenager Deterrent which aims to move young people away from trouble spots by emitting a pulse of noise that is only heard by those under 25 or so. The project is very well sequenced. Opening on a strong picture is very important and this does not disappoint. Each frame works so well, remove one and the series begins to crumble, echoing the importance of those 'teenagers' the 'buzz' was trying to deter. I want to know more about the lives of those growing up in Merthyr.
Selector's Comment: Perhaps it's the old school feel to these pictures that drew me in, or maybe it is that unease Audrey talks about. Whatever it is, Relax, love puts the viewer in an uncomfortable position, taking the act of looking into the realm of voyeurism. Yet these are innocent pictures, taken as though from times long since passed. The streaks of light down a number of the frames add to that feeling of intrusion, yet all photographers take something from their subject, willingly or not, and these pictures ask us to address that balance of power inherent in all photography, artist, subject and viewer. Here, the first two are one and the same and we are the intruders.
Selector's Comment: The title of Bea's work is All you have to do is wake up. As titles go that's a powerful one: I was hooked instantly. The set comprises Polaroid pictures of Milford Common where Bea says she had thought about taking her own life some years ago. The pictures were taken recently when she returned to the area for the first time since then. These are very personal pictures, yet here they are for all to see in the public gaze. Photographs can reveal so much about those who took them, yet it is the viewer who will ultimately decide what they mean.
Selector's Comment: Recording peoples' lives through objects is not a new idea, but this caught my attention straight away. Jana has photographed the objects beautifully; the subtle use of open cable ducts on the desk top to signify the office environment is a lovely touch. It's interesting to note the way practical items mingle with those that are there for personal reasons and I find myself trying to work out the job of those pictured. With so many of us hot-desking, the ability to personalise our work space is becoming a thing of the past.
Selection by Anna Dannemann ▸
Curator, The Photographers' Gallery
Selection by Brad Feuerhelm ▸
Editor and Partner, ASX
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