Monthly Archives: October 2013

SPOTLIGHT: Leanne Surfleet

As the gallery starts to wind down its current exhibition from the team at London Independent Photography, we in the offices start to branch our creative net back out to the world. Today’s Spotlight feature falls on Leanne Surfleet, a UK based fine art photographer whose work challenges concepts of identity and memory in a confessional manner and approach.

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Leanne has received a National Diploma in Photography as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Lens Media and has recently exhibited in London and Milan. She has also been featured in magazines internationally and is the Photography Editor of the website No Culture Icons.

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Leanne mainly works with analog and instant cameras and her self-portraits uncover the vulnerability and innocence of her melancholic pictures. Her work is personal, adding to the authenticity of its conceptual and emotional weight, which is also seen in the familiarity and plurality that her diary-like pictures reflect.

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Time is represented by light in Leanne’s work as the impenetrable component of life and yet in contrast to the conception of photography as a memory, as time captured in a piece of paper. Furthermore, she experiments with mirrors that relate to her ongoing themes of the self and the individual as well as symbolises perception and identification.

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For more information on Leanne and her work, visit her website here.

All images are © Leanne Surfleet

INTERVIEW: Martin Dixon

Next in our series of interviews is Martin Dixon, whose work is part of London Independent Photography’s 25th Annual Exhibition, here at The Strand Gallery.

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Untitled © Martin Dixon

Hello Martin! When did you first come across London Independent Photography and what drew you to the organisation?

I first came across LIP in the spring of 2010 when I went along to a workshop run by Yoke Matze. She inspired us to persevere finding interesting photographs within our everyday lives.

Reflecting on your journey as a photographer, how did your interest develop?

In my late teens I began taking black and white photographs, walking in the city to find images and then disappearing into the magical world of the darkroom. More recently in 2010 I began studying BA Photography part time at Westminster University.

Who inspires you artistically?

I find that my inspiration comes from many people, writers as well as photographers and sometimes the two come together like with Moyra Davey, especially in her books. Stephen Gill’s working methods intrigue me and his books are also beautiful objects.

What themes and concepts do you like to explore and how is your work distinctive? Do you have any favourite locations or techniques?

For the last few years I’ve approached making work almost like a Zen practice, setting up structures and then working with them to see what might emerge; like taking the same photograph daily for a year or a month – 365 self portraits, 30 days of diptychs. Studying at Westminster has given me opportunities to experiment with a range of approaches and techniques and I’m still figuring what it is that might make my work distinctive – almost a question I’d want someone else to answer! I do like to make work wherever I happen to be with a camera – and if I do have a technique it’s often a matter of catching hold of an idea and then sticking with it doggedly until it runs its course.

Do you have any future projects planned?

Well finishing my BA in Photography is top of my list after which I’d like to spend time making new work. I’m interested to find ways of working collaboratively and I am open to include film, text and sound.

Martin’s work can be seen as part of London Independent Photography’s 25th Annual Exhibition until the 3rd of November.

To find out more about Martin, have a look at his website www.martindixon.org.uk/

INTERVIEW: Héloïse Bergman

The 25th Annual Exhibition by the London Independent Photography is here at the Strand Gallery for the second week and is constituted by a large exhibit of inspiring photographs. Héloïse Bergman is one of the displaying artists whose work features a series of portraits inspired by Tā Moko and the stories of people in New Zealand. Check out his interview!

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When did you first come across London Independent Photography and what drew you to the organisation?

I joined LIP just over a year ago. I was doing an MA in photography and I wanted to find a proactive community of photographers to join for fellowship and feedback. Photography can be a very solitary vocation, so its really great to have a group of people to discuss ideas and share and show work with. I go to a monthly satellite group in central London; the level of skills and areas of interest are very varied ensuring that I can both support and be supported by fellow members.

Reflecting on your journey as a photographer, how did your interest develop?

I was first interested in photography when I studied textile design in New Zealand but I didn’t really get into photography until I lived in Japan and started to travel around Asia. I saw pictures that Steve McCurry took in similar places to where I was and became interested in using the camera to bridge cultural divides. When I eventually moved to London, Martin Parr’s images of British life really fascinated me, as I’d often seen photographers shoot  the same type of images thematically, but usually when facing the ‘exotic other’. His bright colours rang a bell with my antipodean roots and his casual framing gave me permission to loosen up and explore a closer and more intuitive way of working.

Who inspires you artistically?

Nan Goldin and Richard Billingham also really spoke to me at that time and changed how I thought about photography.

What themes and concepts do you like to explore and how is your work distinctive? Do you have any favourite locations or techniques?

I am still drawn to making portraits, more recently the work of people such as Charles Fréger, Shirin Neshat and Rineke Dijkstra. I tend to use staged documentary or environmental portraits to explore the individual identities of people within social groups, thus questioning how like their group identity they are as individuals.

Initially I used medium and large format cameras, then when I traveled I made the breakthrough of using a 35mm camera to be more spontaneous in responding to my environment. Working as a travel photographer for Time Out and multiple magazines, I moved into 35mm transparency for clarity and punch. When editors went digital I was quick to make the switch to digital before most photographers. I am a firm believer in the right camera for the job, keeping it simple and continually exploring new technology and adapt, adapt adapt!

What are you currently working on?

My current work, Tā Moko – Modern Māori Warriors is a series of staged portraits documenting the revival of Tā Moko, or facial tattoos within the Māori community. I have been travelling throughout New Zealand photographing people in a pop up studio and recording their stories.

All Images © Héloïse Bergman

Bergman’s collection can be seen as part of the 25th Annual Exhibition by LIP until the 3rd of November.

INTERVIEW: Sarah Peters

Focusing on Sarah Peters, a featuring artist for the LIP 25th Annual Exhibition, we found out a little bit about her photographic themes and future plans…

When did you first come across London Independent Photography and what drew you to the organisation?

I first came across the organisation three years ago when I went to London Independent Photography’s Annual Exhibition – I thought that joining the group would encourage and inspire me to explore photography further.

Reflecting on your journey as a photographer, how did your interest develop?

My dad gave me his old analogue camera when I was about ten – I was instantly hooked and would bore everyone I knew with pack after pack of holiday snaps.  I only started taking photography seriously a few years ago when I got a full-frame DSLR and undertook a few short courses in photography. Now I’m studying for an MA in Photographic Studies, trying my hand at video and revisiting analogue photography.

Who inspires you artistically?

Stephen Shore, Tony Ray-Jones, Sophie Calle, among many. An eclectic mix!

What themes and concepts do you like to explore and how is your work distinctive? Do you have any favourite locations or techniques?

I like to explore the relationship between text and image, the frailty and fickleness of memory, and the notion of ‘photographic truth’. I’m also interested in psycho-geography – I particularly enjoy photographing urban landscapes.

 Do you have any future projects planned?

I’m planning a photo book combining text and images, which will ‘document’ and represent memories and feelings provoked by a huge loss in my life. I’m also looking forward to experimenting with my new pinhole camera.

Sarah’s work can be seen as part of the 25th Annual Exhibition by London Independent Photography until the 3rd of November.

For more information on Sarah visit her website here.

All Images are © Sarah Peters

INTERVIEW: Gareth Gardner

As the 25th Annual Exhibition by London Independent Photography continues we bring you an interview with photographer Gareth Gardner…

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When did you first come across London Independent Photography and what drew you to the organisation?

I have been an on-off member for several years. I think its ability to deliver magazines and exhibitions is truly remarkable.

Reflecting on your journey as a photographer, how did your interest develop?

For as long as I can remember, I have always been primarily interested in the urban environment. I studied civil engineering at university and worked as a construction and architectural journalist for nearly a decade before switching to a career in photography.

Who inspires you artistically?

So many things inspire me artistically! From contemporary photography to renaissance painting. I’m particularly keen on the photographic work of the Dusseldorf School – the Bechers, Struth, Gursky, Höfer and so on – and 17th century Dutch landscape painting.

What themes and concepts do you like to explore and how is your work distinctive? Do you have any favourite locations or techniques?

I work as an architectural photographer, so the focus of my professional life is very much on the perfection of finished buildings and interiors. For my own projects, I’m much more interested in looking at the constant change taking place in our cities. In London in particular, new spaces and vistas are constantly opening up.

 Do you have any future projects planned?

 I am working on a long-term project in South Wales photographing different mining towns. My father is from this area, so there a personal connection with these often remote and deprived places.

Gareth’s work can be seen as part of the 25th Annual Exhibition by the London Independent Photography until the 3rd of November.

For more information on this artist visit his website here: www.garethgardner.com

All Images © Gareth Gardner

INTERVIEW: Simon Hadleigh-Sparks

In today’s Artist Interview, we talk to surrealist architectural photographer, and London Independent Photography member, Simon Hadleigh-Sparks and explore his experimental works.

When did you first come across London Independent Photography and what drew you to the organisation?

 I have only been into photography as an amateur for a few years and this was a means to get work shown by entering a competition not really expecting to actually get chosen for the exhibition. But since I have found it a good source of inspiration by seeing what others do.

The Face Of The City 'Android'- London. Simon Hadleigh-Sparks

The Face Of The City ‘Android’- London
© Simon Hadleigh-Sparks

Reflecting on your journey as a photographer, how did your interest develop?

 I am an amateur that has been taken over by the love of photography. It has taken over my life, well most of it, apart from work, wife and daughter, oh as well as TV and internet. Photography has become a major part of myself. Basically my photography life is played out of flickr and that is where I live – people seem to like some of what I do, the constant positive comments, so this is a major incentive to continue and develop.

 Who inspires you artistically?

 I am completely self taught and constantly learning. For a major part of my style I am inspired by the ‘New London’ that I see constantly growing around me. Also my piers on flickr are always an inspiration. Some of my abstract images develop as I work on them in post but most ideas grow from experimentation and what I see while walking about the city. But as most things it started when making a mistake and seeing what I could do with a mediocre image.

The Face Of The City 'Organic'- London. Simon Hadleigh-Sparks

The Face Of The City ‘Organic’- London.
© Simon Hadleigh-Sparks

What themes and concepts do you like to explore and how is your work distinctive? Do you have any favourite locations or techniques?

I have been told many times that I am eclectic with many styles but the work shown at this exhibition is a small part of a series I developed called ‘The Face Of The City – London’, where I take an image of a building, always modern, and distort it into a striking image that makes people think. Good or bad, I always feel that if someone just looks for a few moments it has done it’s job.

I love creating abstract images from the reality around my city. I try and tamper as little as possible and with some minimal post work I attempt to create something visually stimulating. Some of my other images also have a 3D feel or some have said they are like visual illusions.

My work has become fairly distinctive but maybe I am lucky just to have found a niche of Architecture & Abstract that are not mainstream photography.

The Face Of The City 'Origins'- London. Simon Hadleigh-Sparks

The Face Of The City ‘Origins’- London.
© Simon Hadleigh-Sparks

Do you have any future projects planned?

I will continue to do what people like and every so often throw in a new idea. It’s my ambition to get better all the time and prove myself as a ‘not bad’ photographer with a ‘not ordinary’ style.

All images © Simon Hadleigh-Sparks.

Simon is one of the artist featuring in the 25th Annual Exhibition by the London Independent Photography, which will be on display until the 3rd of November.

If you are interested in Simon’s work, visit his flickr website here.

INTERVIEW: Gerry McCulloch

LIP’s 25th Annual Exhibition has been a huge success so far, generating some great responses from the public. Have a read of another interview we did with one of the memebers of the organisation, Gerry McCulloch.

When did you first come across London Independent Photography and what drew you to the organisation?

I heard about London Independent Photography only a few months ago from an artist friend and was drawn to LIP because of the impressively diverse range of work being produced by participants.

Reflecting on your journey as a photographer, how did your interest develop?

I came relatively late to photography. I became hooked at the age of 25 and found work almost straight away. However, all my ensuing career opportunities were in cinematography and film. In the last 5 years I have returned home to stills.

Gerry McCulloch

Gerry McCulloch

Who inspires you artistically?

Duane Michals, Harry Gruyeart, Saul Leiter, Mattheu Ricard, Odillon Redon.

What themes and concepts do you like to explore and how is your work distinctive? Do you have any favourite locations or techniques?

My current project is called Isolates of Valid Perception. The project explores subjective relationships between consciousness and its appearing objects.

Within the context of the project, an isolate is loosely posited as a pictorial or sequential element. However, entire picture systems and indeed collections of pictures can function as isolates. Each isolate is encoded with subliminal sensory cues. Mundane isolates mirror transcendent isolates and vice-versa.

Isolates ripen individually and collectively in the mindstream, but only if a trace of the isolate endures – uncontaminated by discursive elaboration in the perceptual continuum.

The sequence of . . .
a. Meeting the isolate in open presence
and
b. Sustaining the primacy of perceptual contact while c. Suspending the desire to conceptualise as clarity persists . . . is important, because the isolate dissolves when discernment is attempted through the lens of a pre-configured paradigm.

Gerry McCulloch

Gerry McCulloch

Do you have any future projects planned?

My current project will take 5 years to complete. It culminates in an exhibition in Bhutan in 2018.

Gerry McCulloch

Gerry McCulloch

All images © Gerry McCulloch.

Gerry’s work can be seen as part of LIP’s Annual Exhibition here at The Strand Gallery until November 3rd.

INTERVIEW: Colin Cafferty

Next in our series of interviews from the London Independent Photography Network is Colin Cafferty. Colin’s photography is concerned with environmental issues through his stunning images of urban landscapes and buildings.

© 2013 Colin Cafferty

When did you first come across London Independent Photography and what drew you to the organization?

I felt the need to connect with other photographers in London and so I googled the words ‘London’ and ‘Photography’ and up came LIP in the search results. I saw it as a good opportunity to promote my work through an established organization and to learn from others who are at a more advanced stage with their photography.

Reflecting on your journey as a photographer, how did your interest develop?

I worked in the banking world for 10 years and eventually came to the conclusion that there must be something more satisfying out there that appeals to my personal values. So I quit my job, bought myself a proper camera and caught a plane to the US Southwest to photograph some of the amazing landscape in the National Parks.

© 2012 Colin Cafferty

© 2013 Colin Cafferty

Who inspires you artistically?

 I’m inspired by the urban landscapes and industrial architecture of Edward Burtynsky and Mitch Epstein, many of the photographers that exhibit as part of the annual Prix Pictet, poets such as Seamus Heaney, and artists such as Matisse.

What themes and concepts do you like to explore and how is your work distinctive? Do you have any favourite locations or techniques?

I’m passionate about raising awareness and inspiring action on climate change and sustainability through photography. My work documents urban and rural landscapes for the most part and seeks to explore the tension between progress and loss from a more sustainable and holistic perspective. My work is distinctive only insofar as the projects I undertake have a high degree of personal significance and hopefully have more depth as a result.

Reflections in Central Park, New York

© 2013 Colin Cafferty

The US southwest is a landscape photographer’s paradise but you don’t need to travel quite so far. I recently discovered a strong connection to the wild landscape of County Mayo, which I always dismissed as I was growing up. In London, anywhere along the Thames inspires me. The industrial landscapes and gritty neighbourhoods that are fast disappearing are rich in visual potential. Technique is a means to an end for me – I don’t allow this to influence my work as much as some other photographers.

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© 2013 Colin Cafferty

Do you have any future projects planned?

 I want to restart a project that explores notions of community and identity by comparing two very different places that both happen to be called Dalston – an inner city neighbourhood in London where I live and a rural village in Cumbria. Another project that has a lot of personal significance takes a look at the conflict between developing energy resource and conserving landscape in my home county in the West of Ireland. I’m never short of ideas – if only I had the motivation to execute them!

Colin’s work can be seen as part of the 25th Annual Exhibition by London Independent Photography, until the 3rd of November.

For more information on this artist visit his website here.

All images © 2013 Colin Cafferty

REVIEW: Dayanita Singh, Go Away Closer

Dayanita Singh, Zeiss Ikon 1996, 2013, Courtesy of the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London  © The Artist 2013

Dayanita Singh

Internationally celebrated photographer, Dayanita Singh, opens her first UK retrospective this month at the Hayward Gallery. ‘Go Away Closer’ explores the duality between image and narrative through refuting against conventional methods of curation.

Breaking away from the print-on-the-wall tradition, Dayanita Singh employs various ‘portable museums’ that showcase between 70 to 140 photographs in large wooden structures. This presentational device introduces a strong sense of interactivity with her audience, as it invites the viewer to create their own sequential interpretations.

The visual stories that she depicts, often touch upon social oppositions such as westernization versus the loss of cultural values in modern India.  This concept is echoed in the exhibition title itself ‘Go Away Closer’, which perhaps suggests the artist’s own uneasy relationship with advancements in technology and its impact upon the role of the photographer.

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Dayanita Singh, Zeiss Ikon 1996, 2013, Courtesy of the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London © The Artist 2013

Dayanita Singh’s retrospective also highlights her passion for book-making, often described as ‘novels without words’, her publications on display explore how layout manipulation can stimulate ambiguous photo-fictions. Experimenting with diptychs, scale and negative space – Dayanita Singh’s hand crafted constructions create a feeling of intimacy for the viewer, as their fragile aesthetic reminds us on how we have become accustomed to mass-produced art books that currently saturate today’s high-street.

Dayanita Singh’s exhibition ‘Go Away Closer’ can be seen at the Hayward Gallery between Tuesday 8th October – Sunday 15th December 2013.

All images © Dayanita Singh.

INTERVIEW: Mike Cookson

London Independent Photography’s exhibition is officially open! To get more of a personal insight into the organisation here’s another Q&A with one of their photographers, Mike Cookson.

When did you first come across London Independent Photography and what drew you to the organisation?

I first came across many many years ago during an organised photo walk along the Thames.  This was in the days before digital and photo walks were not as common as they are now!  I was attracted to the independent nature of the group – people committed to their vision and not slavishly following received ‘rules’ for good photographs.

Reflecting on your journey as a photographer, how did your interest develop?

I started in the school darkroom aged 11 and have been photographing ever since. Various courses both in the UK and overseas have helped me develop artistically.

Mike Cookson

Mike Cookson

Who inspires you artistically?

Robert Adams and John Davies to name two quite different photographers!

What themes and concepts do you like to explore and how is your work distinctive? Do you have any favourite locations or techniques?

I like to explore places in a state of transition – often those that have been abandoned and left to steadily decay.  My favoured locations are Greenwich and Dungeness in Kent.

Mike Cookson

Mike Cookson

Do you have any future projects planned?

I’m working on a project exploring the decline and redevelopment of the Greenwich Peninsula.

Mike Cookson

Mike Cookson

All images © Mike Cookson.

Mike’s work can be seen as part of LIP’s Annual Exhibition here at The Strand Gallery until November 3rd.