Monthly Archives: June 2012

New College Stamford’s Photography Graduates Present ‘Tyro’

Participating students; Robert Jackson, Christopher Day, Jacquelyne Harris, Kat Burkinshaw, Ryan Overson and Nathan Ashurst with tutor Graham Wills.

The exhibition ‘Tyro’ hosts work by graduating students on the Photography degree course at New College Stamford.

Today New College Stamford is a developing institution with ambition. Students on the two-year foundation degree programme are offered a unique learning experience. The compact nature of the course provides a perfect platform for a distinctive approach to creative image making. Students select the programme because it provides intensive guidance and despite its rural location adopts an outward focused agenda.

The 2012 exhibition showcases the work of six Stamford degree students who are gradually establishing themselves as dedicated and skillful practitioners.

This year ‘Tyro’ presents a panel discussion on 21st June (2-4pm) comprising of renouned photographers Nigel Shafran, Venetia Dearden and Laura Pannack. The overall theme of the discussion centers around the significance of personal projects in the development of commercial practice.

THE STUDENTS

Christopher Day

This series of images explores the idea of cultural duality the concept of a nation’s customs and people being geographically transposed and influenced by an external culture. The work illustrates how Polish citizens have relocated to the United Kingdom, exploring how they have been able to maintain their own cultural identity and adapt. The project records the private lives of Polish citizens both here in the U.K and in Poland. It provides an external document illustrating a ‘new life’ and an intimate vision of the way people live within a disparate society.

Kat Burkinshaw

This series of images focuses on landscape as a genre and how we interact with nature, both directly and indirectly through the production of photographic imagery. Shot within one wooded area, the images look at how we traditionally identify with a physical landscape and also how we are inspired by its more sublime aspect. The chosen woodland itself is managed, so a lot of the work centres around looking for evidence of this within what appears to be a naturalistic environment. The images themselves question why we regard landscape that is seemingly natural as ‘beautiful’ when much of the landscape we come into contact with is manufactured. The series was shot on medium format analogue technology to keep both subject and process as intuitive as possible.

Nathan Ashurst

Through a process of visual communication we can communicate various aspects of portraiture to understand the reasons behind why we feel the need to photograph and document people’s lifestyles or their unique characteristics and features. This project aims to document pensioners who live independently in their own home. The theme represents a body of work, which expresses sympathetically the emotions associated with a person and their environment. It investigates a sense of vulnerability and stresses the fact that the majority of pensioners today are often removed from their original family environment and placed into care homes. The imagery produced also aims to illustrate to the ‘outsider’ the emotional loneliness of independent living, which often goes unseen.

Robert Jackson

The Reykjavik project visually explores the concept of identity focusing specifically on young adults that are socially linked together in this instance living within the confines of central Reykjavik. The series features both indigenous and foreign subjects, exploring what attracts them to a particular location and how this location contributes to a specific persona. The images represent an observed self-reflection on a specific location that holds significance to each subject.

Jacquelyn Harris

This collection of work focuses exclusively on young adolescent girls recording the miniscule changes rarely observed throughout the passage of time. Its approach utilizes the well-established deadpan aesthetic whilst subtly critiquing its rather dispassionate perspective. It attempts to disjoint the image from the everyday and questions the viewers’ contribution towards a formal understanding of the subtle truths within the image.

Ryan Overson

Conceptually my work is about exploring relationships between ourselves and how our social values affect the way we take photographs. Finding a visual language that can communicate these ideas is something I enjoy. My work explores being a non-tourist in a tourist situation and removing ones self from the equation in order to prevent prior knowledge to intervene with the context of the image. Individually, my work describes the connection we have to our home whilst collectively, describing the relationship that each person has to each other.

The show will run from the 18th – 24th June at the Strand Gallery.

SPOTLIGHT: Nicol Vizioli

Nicol Vizioli began as a painter and gradually her fascination of still images developed in the form of a strong passion for photography. Nicol’s work has a rare and natural intimacy; she uses photography as a means to disclose the multitude of physical feelings arising when drawing on a white canvas. Painting and photography are inseparable in her work, they influence each other, in a continuous, never-ending flow.

After completing her degree in cinema she moved to London, where she has recently completed an MA in Fashion Photography at London College of Fashion. Her solo exhibition Shadows On Parade runs until the 29th June at the Arts Gallery, University of the Arts London, 272 High Holborn.

The images in this series appear as if snapshots from nightmares, they are dark and theatrical. Could you tell us a little about the concept behind the project?

Shadows On Parade is a project I completed a few months ago. It is a series of 22 portraits and it draws upon many different places such as mythology, literature, painting and the animal world: photography is therefore regarded as the convergence point, where all of them meet. Those images are small stories of pursuit, of travel and unfamiliar; small epiphanies caught in the dark magma from which they become alive inside of me. They are desires, declinations of my imagery, dreams and promises of the fantastical.

There is a specific idea of space in it: no scenario, the possible reality is a black box, antechamber of desire, abyss as amplifying device of our consciousness. There is no emptiness or total absence of life, but a summary of all the choices and possibilities, from which life’s forms and shapes come from. Due to the soft light figures appear like a revelation and the rest remains wrapped in the deep darkness, in the mystery. It is a sort of night fallen onto the whole world. And the human body is at the centre of it, as in my whole work.

When you scan your negatives, you leave the dust picked up during the scanning process visible. Most photographers would remove these in post production. What is the reasoning behind this distinctive choice?

I have a strange fascination for dust, powder or anything else that somehow interacts with the flesh.

The people who populate my imagery are always covered in dust, they often come with dirty nails and a quite specific look, as they have been caught in the middle of a journey, as if they came back from a distant place. That place could be physical or not, it doesn’t matter.

It is like witnessing the return of “the traveller”, having encountered the unknown and returning with a scratch.

The dust, the scratches on the negative I guess it is part of it, they become a metaphor of that journey: as well as the characters, the film itself wears the dust as a scar, as a memory of that distant place from where they all come from. Starting from this consideration, sometimes I let the dust becoming part of the picture because it makes sense in that way, other times it is an accident, and other times I get rid of it. However I am slowly going towards a different direction.

You studied MA Fashion Photography at London College of Fashion, how did you find the course and would you recommend it to others?

I had the opportunity to meet many people from all over the world, and that has been a very exciting part of the course. And being in London of course is challenging and very inspiring. I don’t know if I should recommend it to others or not, I don’t know if it makes sense. My experience was definitely positive, I personally had a lot of support and I am very grateful for that. But I guess it all depends on what you are really looking for. I was trying to reach something inside me, in my work, so I guess I used the whole experience – the course, being in London, getting lost – to get closer to that. If you know what you want to see, then you find and see, and it could happen anywhere.

Are you working on or planning any new projects? Please tell us about it/them?

I will exhibit at SCOPE Basel 2012, the international art fair held in June 12 -17 in Basel, Switzerland, it is a great opportunity and I am very excited about it.

Most of all I am working on a new body of work which will lead to another solo show I am going to have in October this year: it will be in Milan at Officine dell’Immagine, a gallery I am working with now. At the moment it is hard to say what exactly the whole project is going to be, but it will hopefully involve the moving image as well as photography… let’s see.

Meanwhile there are other side projects I am involved in, including a couple of fashion projects, a music one, a group show and all that will hopefully come.

Art In Reveiw – London Festival of Photography 2012

After their first attempt in 2011 was a huge success, the festival team have come up with this years festival curated around the theme Inside Out – Reflections on the Public and the Private.

Though only in it’s second year, the London Festival of Photography seems to have found a formula that will show the wider world that London accords photography a status other national cities such as Paris, New York and Berlin have done for years.

“Maintaining strong links to street photography, with its focus on the public realm, this theme allows us to explore the changing boundaries between the public and the private, both physically and metaphorically and the social consequences of these shifts.” – Grace Pattison, Festival Curator

The festival hub is located at Dog Eared Gallery, with the exhibition The Great British Public, a group show with works from photographers Martin Parr, Arnhel de Serra and Chris Steele-Perkins among others. Steele-Perkins’ series Centenarians, portraits of people who have lived over 100 years, is sensitive and sometimes surprising. Whilst de Serra’s series ‘Shows’, capturing moments at shows around the country, is witty and humorous. (Exhibition on show 1st – 24th June, entry £6.50)

Another key show is Beneath the Surface by Steve Bloom at the Guardian Gallery, black and white photographs from the mid 1970s which capture a critical moment in the history of South Africa. This year marks the 35th anniversary of Steve Biko’s death and likewise Bloom’s images, both of which provide a timely reminder of this troubled but important period in South Africa’s history. (Exhibition on show 1st – 28th June, free entry)

A great selection of contemporary London street photography is also on show at Kings Cross Station.

The festival is running a selection of workshops and events which can be booked through their website.

SPOTLIGHT: Paulina Surys

Please tell us a little about yourself and how you got in to photography?

My name is Paulina Otylie Surys and I am an art (and fashion) photographer. Before taking up photography I had been studying painting and graphic techniques at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland. In my fourth year I took up a screen print faculty and then took my first photograph to use as a main layer underneath painting and drawing. Afterwards I came out with a landscape project on hand coloured peel-apart Polaroids, I also did Polaroid transfers and emulsion manipulation (Polaroid 600). Afterwards the price of instant photography went up so much that I moved to negatives; I work both in a traditional black and white darkroom as well as in a colour one. I work with my photographs throughout their entire journey, from the concept for a project and the set design through to executing the idea: shooting and processing negatives (colour or black and white), hand printing in the darkroom and, finally, hand colouring the photographs (here my techniques as a painter are most important to create a successful hybrid of photography and painting. In the 19th century, the process of colouring was left to the miniature painters).


- The Four Horsmen of Apocalypse – DROME magazine Catastrophe Issue (Issue 20)

Why have you decided to work in such a traditional method and how has it affected your career as a photographer?

I decided to work with analogue techniques for many reasons. My background as a painter instilled in me an appreciation of craft, something that made analogue techniques naturally appealing. The traditional analogue processes have an organic feel to them and yet, more than this, there is a feeling of something alchemical, something magical occurring; you are bringing forth a creation from the mixing of vapours and liquids, metals and light. I have recently started working with very old techniques such as wet plate collodion which, along with other techniques such as duegerrotype or ambrotype, capture the presence of a subject in really magical and otherworldly ways.

When I first started some people would laugh at the non- glossy, old fashioned photographs; I started doubting, I tried digital, succeeded in a few shoots but never saw the results as anything that had any real connection to myself. They were detached and impersonal, sterile almost. So I went back to where I came from with an even greater appreciation for it. From this point photography started to become more personal, I began to shoot for myself only. Photography is a vital part of my life, I cannot see myself being departed from it, even if sometimes I swear I don’t want to continue; you cannot easily depart with your right hand or, rather, the mouth you speak with.


- La Jeune Fille et La Mort – SIMONE magazine, France

Do you feel pressure to join the digital age? How do you think this would affect your style?

No, not at all, especially after I gave it a little try. I greatly admire many digital photographers and their work, it just didn’t work for me. Also, I would miss the meditative nature of working in the darkroom…and of getting my hands dirty with paint. I cannot relate to computers whereas I do have attachments to objects and spaces.

Are you working on any personal projects at the moment? Tell us about it/them?

Yes, I have been working on my first book, a Monographic album which will be published by Paulsen in October 2012, a compilation of works (A2 hard cover, with one loose print which can be framed). I am also working on my exhibition projects.

There is another book project to come after the first album is published, a collaboration with the brilliant sculptor, Pascale Pollier. It will be a project about the worldwide and timeless act of mutilating or deforming the human body, of which countless methods have been devised over time, in the search for beauty. The project will be finalised with a series of photographs and, later, an installation and possibly a short video.


- Alcyone [The Brightest of The Pleiades for DEW magazine Eatern Issue]

What would you say is your biggest photographic aspiration/goal?

I would love to master several photographic techniques, but it’s rather like Don Quichotte’s dream. Once you realise the amount of work one has to put into it…