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 submissions from MA/ MFA photography graduates were an exciting and invigorating mix of photographic work. A broad range of themes and approaches were on show utilising a wide variety of story-telling methods, from the traditional to the highly experimental. Alongside a high level of technical expertise, I was really impressed by the desire the students showed to push at the boundaries of contemporary photographic practice. Although the themes were varied, I was struck by how many projects focused on the question of identity, home and belonging. Something that I think speaks to the increasingly fractured and siloed nature of our lives. I could have chosen twice the amount of work that I’ve selected here; such was the quality of the submissions. Primarily I chose work where the images themselves drew me in, made me look closer, and then ultimately lead to me having an emotional response. The talent and variety of approach on display was inspiring.
Selector's Comment: Memories of home and belonging are central to Jonjo’s Summerdale project, highlighting photography’s power as a means of communication and connection, as he grappled with a home life far from where he grew up. I enjoyed the mix of older, vernacular family photographs, the simplicity of Jonjo’s composition and subject, and the sense of yearning that was evoked.
Selector's Comment: Photography has the power to give a voice to those who often go unheard and unseen. Sadly, most countries treat a proportion of their population as second-class citizens and Poras’s work shines a light on a nation where this is highly prevalent. The mix of prose poetry with studio ID photographs, alongside his own lyrical photographs, made for a successful project that highlighted the power dynamics often at play when it comes to image-making and representation.
Selector's Comment: Intriguing and humorous, I really enjoyed the playful way in which Roz went about making the images for this project. Looking beyond the apparent simplicity of the images, each photograph contains its own mini narrative that really left me wanting to know and explore more. The mix of formats was a brave choice but one that really emphasised how each image was its own world.
Selector's Comment: I was immediately struck by the tenderness of Andy’s photographs. He explores an emotive and fraught theme with a light touch and a clear, technically evocative, aesthetic. I was pulled into the work, finding more and more to look at the longer I spent with the images.
Selector's Comment: The layers of history, both natural and manmade, emanate from Nicholas’s stunning images of a Welsh slate mine. You can feel them and smell them, so rich are they in detail and atmosphere. By choosing to look at a very specific place with a very specific industrial history, Nicholas manages to speak about the uniqueness of Northwest Wales whilst also hinting at how human beings have left their mark the world-over, in every corner of the planet.
Selector's Comment: 100% Julie is a deeply visceral yet gentle portrait of one older trans woman’s journey to personal acceptance. It shows the strength photography holds to empower and embolden. It is clearly a work of collaboration, showing real trust and compassion between photographer and photographed. It is brave, unflinching, and ultimately uplifting.
Selection by Ben Harman ▸
Director at Stills, Edinburgh
Selection by Pelumi Odubanjo ▸
Independent Curator & Photography Writer
View Submission Guidelines ▸