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.
This year's graduates are tackling a wide variety of subject-matter in diverse ways. However there were certain themes which ran throughout several of the projects – grief and loss, environmental concerns and sexuality, to name a few. Unsurprisingly the pandemic was a subject matter explored by many of the graduates. It’s always fascinating to see early creative responses to this critical moment– in one sense I can understand how the pandemic must feel the most obvious and urgent subject but, in another sense, one has to do extra legwork to ensure a compelling angle or mode of expression. Among my choices are projects I felt were well conceptualised, executed and edited. I wish all the graduates the very best. I look forward to seeing what comes next for them all.
Selector's Comment: I found this project visually exciting. Many of the images were enigmatic and asked more questions than they answered. I loved the sculptural approach to image making as well as the sense of play. On a whole the series offers a fresh means to explore the tension between humans and their surroundings.
Selector's Comment: In this series the ordinary is made to feel less ordinary. The different guises that light emerges in whether through harsh flash, daylight or fairy lights act as a thread of continuity throughout. The project is an excellent example of how offbeat poetic images are some of the most powerful when tackling the common subject of death or human fragility.
Selector's Comment: The built environment as a metaphor for identity construction is an interesting angle. I also feel that the artist is thinking very carefully about sequencing and scale and how this builds narrative. The images show a good range from classic portrait to diaristic snapshot giving the series a wonderful texture.
Selector's Comment: The abstract and process driven approach was a refreshing route into exploring the subject of environmental crisis. I love the fact that the images are both diary of a place and physically point to destruction and decay; the colours and textures draws you in to then be repelled by the reality of their construction.
Selector's Comment: Maucci is undoubtedly a talented portrait photographer. The artist has managed to capture the personality, nuance and ultimately tell the story of each sitter by careful attention to setting. The sitters appear disarmed which gives the images a wonderful intimacy. It is clear the artist is also thinking very carefully about how colour and light coalesce to create a compelling image.
Selector's Comment: I was intrigued by the manner in which Romans tackled Covid-19. His approach seems to skirt the edges of fiction and reality. The images themselves are psychologically charged but I would be curious to know if text will play any role in future presentations of this project whether in exhibition or book form. The critique of Covid-19’s media imagery and tropes and the apparent broader probe into the genre of documentary itself are strong lines of enquiry.
Selection by Kirstin Kidd ▸
Picture Editor, The Economist
Selection by Elizabeth Renstrom ▸
Senior Photo Editor, The New Yorker
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