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.
Having a chance to select work from this year’s MA/MFA Photography graduates was a great privilege. The works were incredibly rich and diverse not only in subject, but technique. I was greatly impressed by the experimental narratives and processes undertaken by the earlycareer photographers, and their commitments to creating strong series which tie together innovative ways of making, and creating in both new ways and and old. With my final six choices, I was especially interested in how the photographers created images that best experimented with new methods and narrative structures, as well as those which for me, personally enlightened new stories both of individuals and communities, as well as struck me visually. The selection was difficult, but my final six graduates truly sought to elevate such approaches, and as a result, created ambitious, thoughtful works.
Selector's Comment: Aisling’s work was a great example of collaboration in photography. Chronicling women who are part of the Irish community in London having migrated there, you can feel the relationship, and levels of comfort and openness between subject and photographer. The combination of using both object and person and their centrepiece throughout the series is a touching and fitting approach to telling stories of memory and playing with ideas of time and memory.
Selector's Comment: Julia Neal’s series ‘33 minutes’ intrigued me through its attention to detail in the narrative, and the effective implementation of techniques to elevate the story. Exploring ‘dystopian themes of surveillance, censorship and disinformation’, the digitally manipulated images take you through the photographer’s journey; not all of it, but enough to allow you to best see a specific event through their eyes. The work is eclectic and an innovative way to present personal and traumatic experiences.
Selector's Comment: There is a clever playfulness and ambiguity in Elissa’s work which unravels itself through a series of print-like images. The technique is very much in tune with the photographer, subject, and the landscapes. The images intelligently hark back to methods similar, but not exclusive to early explorations of motion, such as Muybridge’s exploration of animals, humans, and their movements. Through the technique, Elissa both starkly and subtly enters a realm of the supernatural not cemented by time, but through land and body. I found myself fixated on the images, shapes, and shadows she created and was enthralled by the uniqueness of the work within the selection.
Selector's Comment: Noa Klagsbald’s works were not only technically incredibly strong, but through the surreallike humour and stage setting, the work stood out to me in its conviction of subject matter. Branching into the world of sports, and fashion, the series is created by staged imagery, witty use of objects, and collaboration with a community. Noa creates a uniquely shaped composition to tell narratives of masculinity and how it is presented to the world. In bringing imagined behindclosed- door images to our attention, the images are whimsical and even manic in a best-imagined way. Noa’s images are certainly one of the best-composed images of this year’s selection.
Selector's Comment: This project stood out to me for the fantastic way that the photographer has curated and composed their image for the selection, and ultimately their MA/MFA work. Not only are the images themselves brilliantly composed in a visual sense, but the project truly excels in regards to how to tie a narrative together through its ordering, sizing, and acute numbering. The subject of maternity is very engaging and told in a way that touches on performance and staged imagery. The models are intriguing in their positioning and movement, and together they work with Ou to create three compositions that are presented very differently in terms of how it is visually shaped, but albeit tied together through Ou’s unique eye and shaping of an image.
Selector's Comment: Jesus’ innovative approach to photographic techniques and its relevance to the topic was a breath of fresh air, and something which I find is integral to creating work at an MA/MFA level. ‘Lost memoirs’ is a series about patients and their battles with dementia, and Jesus explores memories, both in terms of their loss and remembrance. The technique of using Photoshop and a broken printer to produce lines of cyan, magenta, and yellow, creates new images out of already new images and thus create a layer of imagination often entangled with our human perceptions of memory.
Selection by Ben Harman ▸
Director at Stills, Edinburgh
Selection by Josh Lustig ▸
Deputy Editor of Photography, FT Weekend Magazine
View Submission Guidelines ▸