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.
Photography is a medium in flux. We are confronted not just with technological changes in the immediacy of the image, but also changes in its value and the resulting discursive pathways that enable communication with photographs themselves. With this flux and the collapse of the image's traditional market, new forms are sought and new pathways evolved by which the economy of the photograph may be distributed. The most engaging place in which to witness the emergence of these new visions, is within the frame of the universities in which students are compelled to govern a new interaction with the photographic image. It is this very platform which I am here honored to engage with.
Selector's Comment: Charlotte Bond's work We Were Never There is a thorough and contemplative investigation of self-image, but also of the saccharine potential for photography, via family albums, to elicit an often times unnatural proximity to sentimental behavior. Sentimentality is often viewed as an unwanted crutch when examining archival material for re-purposing. Instead of shying away from the topic, Bond actually challenges it, and her own familial genesis, by engaging in the act of erasure and negation to remove herself from the concept of sentimentality. In doing so she proposes in successful manner, like Roland Barthes' Winter Garden, what photography means to human emotion.
Selector's Comment: At first glance Millie Elliot's work appears random and though this sentiment is not incorrect, the strength of the images, not unlike those of Wolfgang Tillmans, is a strategy for how we 'read' photographic language and its ability to trigger personal metaphor. Composed of disparate images, the work triggers the deceitful nature of constructed narratives to instead consider how images relate to one another through their potential for analogy, but more so for their compunction to be read as separate intentions. When crafting her images, the exceptional factor to the work is that although they do not 'read' easily in linear form, the photographs are strongly tethered to one vision.
Selector's Comment: Charlotte Fisher's Unsolved offers an examination of both the potential and the inability of the photographic document to transmit evidence. The work is deeply dark and in some ways fantastic - in the sense of her ability to act on the fantasy of re-construction within her photographs. The fascination of modeling the tableaux of murder scenes, or scenes of trauma, is to actively engage in the distribution of images in which intent must be considered from the perspective of art. Though the subject matter leaves many questions about ethics and photography, these elements are directly employed for a successful inquiry.
Selector's Comment: Egle Kisieliute's images of brutalist architecture serve as a formal strategy which deals directly, not only with material and economic value, but also with history. Brutalist architecture is by its nature a difficult subject to embrace. There have been projects related to everything from bus stops to spas. What Kisieliute manages to make new in her body of work Concrete Evidence, is to distance those clichés by concentrating on a formal process. The perspective and stark monochromatic images offer more than a simple re-direction to document.
Selector's Comment: Leissle and Sharkey's portraits are psychologically charged and intimate fragments, in which the images collude to distort and condition the possibility of open-ended narratives with the use of the male form. The success of their collaboration is largely due to the enigmatic use of the body and the ability of this subject to draw out these possibilities of narrative, blending the cinematic with the historical - namely Greek classical antiquity. The work is reminiscent of Derek Jarman's contribution to film, but also of the work of masters such as Clarence John Laughlin, McDermott & McGouff and James Herbert. The work exceeds in its effortless weight and its ability to ask questions over dictating answers.
Selector's Comment: Daniel Winslade's There is No Sun Without Shadow is a deeply moving and profound series of images that really struck me, not only for their subject matter - the abuse of his mother by his father - but also for the way in which the artist has infused the work with his own interest in male aggression - in the form of MMA fighting. The artist employs blurred, distorted, stretched and pixelated images to harness the documentary approach with painterly deftness, yet remains unashamed to include more straight-forward photographs of his mother and her domestic environment. Striking in how it broadcasts a very difficult personal trauma while also examining his own manhood as it pertains to violent sport. This is the beginning of what could be a very important body of work. Certainly the perspective and voice are bordering on the unique.
Selection by Phil Coomes ▸
Picture Editor, BBC
Selection by Anna Dannemann ▸
Curator, The Photographers' Gallery
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