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.

Ben Harman

Ben Harman

Approaching these submissions, I was wondering what the impact of the last two years and the ways our lives have all been changed, might be on work produced through MA and MFA photography courses. Might there be a noticeable shift in ideas, subject matter or standards? What became clear is that world events have not stifled ambitions, ideas and developments in photography. If anything, the scope of interests seems broader than ever and it was heartening to view work addressing a range of pertinent subject matter such as race, identity, migration, care and illness. Where the effects of the pandemic have been directly addressed, it is with acute curiosity, often sharing the stories of our lives, rather than through cynical, remote observation. It has been difficult to have to choose just a few projects from this impressive selection of work. In choosing, my overall intention has been to find a balance in a variety of subject matter, approaches to photography and geographic scope.

Selected Photographers:

Jonjo Borrill

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Selector's Comment: Summerdale is an exploration of home through longing and dislocation but also adventure, closeness and love. It takes us on a poetic journey to the place in England where Borrill grew up and the place he now lives in Korea. I particularly liked that the pictures are not all of the artist’s hand but rather he has invited members of his immediate family to photograph their idea of home. This project taps into something universal in its questioning of where we belong and seems to conclude that home is not always a place.

Sofia Conti

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Selector's Comment: This project explores how crime has directly or indirectly effected the lives of people living in the East End of Glasgow. As well as being drawn to some of these stand-out portrait images, I like the strong sense of empathy, connection and storytelling in this work. Conti takes care to refer to the people in her pictures as ‘participants’ in a collaboration. She seems positioned to succeed in her intention to start conversations that lead to real change for people and communities touched by crime.

Liliana Zaharia

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Selector's Comment: How has pain been represented through photography? This is one of the questions that has stayed with me since looking at these pictures. At first glance these could be figure studies (devoid of any distracting colour), stills from a performance or illustrations from a manual for medical care. I was moved to discover that the (improvised) physical performance in this work relates to ‘non-conforming bodies’ and the artist’s own experience of suffering from chronic pain. I like the way that Zaharia uses photography as a tool to make pain visible in order to encourage greater empathy.

Alex Schneideman

Alex SchneidemanAlex SchneidemanAlex SchneidemanAlex SchneidemanAlex SchneidemanAlex SchneidemanAlex SchneidemanAlex Schneideman

Selector's Comment: I thought this was a very well-produced collaborative series about life during the pandemic, telling (also through film) the sad and uplifting stories of love, loss and community experienced by a group of individuals living in Kensal Green, London. What also stood out for me was the attention that Schneideman has paid to the way in which this series could be exhibited and the stories told: through an installation of ‘Corner’ sets, replicas of real domestic spaces decorated and designed by each subject.

Laura Chen

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Selector's Comment: I found this work compelling and enjoyed getting a bit lost in my imagination as I tried to decifer a story and navigate through this playful combination of fictional story and photographic ‘truth.’ Some of the evidence reminded me of those big flash pictures by Weegee. Other photographs are more ambiguous or more obviously constructed using collage. Chen makes a really interesting comparison that I hadn’t considered before in her stated aim: ‘ make visible the similarities between artistic practice and criminal investigation...’

Eddie Ryan

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Selector's Comment: I was intrigued by these pictures which, at first glance, looked to be studies of in-between and neglected spaces at the edges of an anonymous city. More pertinently, these images explore the lives of migrants, those who must emigrate, who we might use similar adjectives to describe. Whilst the human figure is absent, the attention to traces of human presence, such as improvised street furniture, suggests a place of assimilation and in-betweenness. Temporary walls, borders and barbed wire fences are a reminder of the way people seeking asylum and refuge are often treated and controlled.

Selection by Josh Lustig ▸
Deputy Editor of Photography, FT Weekend Magazine

Selection by Pelumi Odubanjo ▸
Independent Curator & Photography Writer

View Submission Guidelines  ▸


Falmouth University
MA Photography

UCA Farnham
MFA Photography

University of Gloucestershire
MA Photography

IADT Dún Laoghaire
MRes Photography

London College of Communication
MA Photography

London College of Communication
MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (Online)

Nottingham Trent University
MA Photography

University of Portsmouth
MA Photography

Royal College of Art
MA Photography

Ulster University
MFA Photography

University of Westminster
MA Photography Arts

University of Westminster
MA Documentary Photography & Photojournalism












Urban/Suburban Landscape