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.
The breadth of creativity in this year's MA/MFA Photography submissions is impressive and encouraging and it is exciting to see and be involved in. Overall, there are a wide variety of engaging sets of images which drew me in to want to know more - very important if you want people to care for your chosen subject and invest time and energy in, in order to get your message across. To only choose six bodies of work out of such a strong submission was a difficult task - there were other strong contenders too. I was encouraged by this, as it demonstrates the high standard of photography being produced and the continual power of photography to attract, communicate, and promote thinking whilst also eliciting emotion. I surprised myself with some of my selections as they went beyond my usual preference for editorial/documentary work which I think was a testament to the photographers' originality and skill. The work is interesting, thought-provoking and I encourage people to look at it all. Spending time with these images is time well spent.
Selector's Comment: Bekkie Graham's photographs documenting the subject of home education are clearly well researched. Her intimate documentary images draw us in to the world of home education through a strong use of light and composition and possess an immediate sense of intimacy where the photographer seems to be invisible to the subjects, and are well executed with good use of light and saturated warm colours drawing us in. By getting on to the subjects' level and capturing moments of concentration and questioning on the subjects' faces, as well as giving space to their surroundings, I felt a connection and wanted to learn more. A rich, interesting and confident set of images which drew me in straight away, yet also invited me to look further/deeper.
Selector's Comment: This set of images on the subject of victim blaming, is both direct and intriguing at the same time. By using and subverting the familiar police mugshot format, and faithfully using the photography techniques relating to the appropriate decade, together with text of a supposed 'crime', the photographs invite discussion and debate on how people see victims of sexual violence. A good example of how photography can be used to question and reflect on important issues of the day. Strong, powerful, emotive and technically well executed.
Selector's Comment: A very powerful, dream-like set of images, which evoked an immediate emotional response, I was interested in how Pennacchio successfully selects and links this set of family heirloom images with his own. These images are well curated and work on a visual level to elicit emotion and feeling, and work well without the need for words, apart from the introductory background information. I like the way he chose images which show his mother full of life - going about everyday activities – ie; bending towards the camera engaging with the viewer, splashing about in the water with child (presumably her son), holding a delicate colourful bouquet of flowers, bending over a wall to look at something or someone - and juxtaposes them with his own polaroid images showing the fragility and beauty of living things. You can almost hear the conversation, laughter and noises - Very cinematic.
Selector's Comment: I was immediately seduced by this exploration of fashion photography with its original expressive-impressionist style and striking use of colour, texture and movement. The bold style entices the viewer and holds your attention. There is a real sense of vitality about the images which gives them a vibrant depth. The painterly feel and soft subtle textures draws you further into the images and a dream-like state. The movement of the subject animates the photographs and brings them to life in a surprising and energetic manner. Strong and eye-catching work.
Selector's Comment: This mixture of portraits with still lives grabbed my attention and resonated with me on a personal level. There is an energy and passion about these bold, images which relate to the feelings and connections of identity through food. An interesting subject though not necessarily an easy one to interpret photographically, I feel the photographer has successfully captured the connection with who we are and our emotional investment in food in all its messiness, juiciness and sweetness and how we eat it, through a good technical use of light and a close collaboration with the various subjects.
Selector's Comment: Through these beautifully engaging, intimate portraits, we are invited to reflect upon and examine the subject of race and gender, in particular in relation to Issaka's experience of life as a black woman in a predominantly white, male society. I love the concept of claiming space, where she has quite literally invested herself in and onto the various photographic surfaces creating captivating, experimental artwork which invites us to contemplate the subject, demonstrated particularly well in the 'Black skin, White mask' images. A gently compelling and powerful body of work, which prompts further reflection and discussion.
Selection by Cindy Sissokho ▸
Curator, New Art Exchange
Selection by Emma Jones ▸
Curatorial Assistant - Tate
View Submission Guidelines ▸