Category Archives: Interview

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.

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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.

INTERVIEW: Tom Gifford

Today we are looking at Tom Gifford, an aspiring photographer and member of the London Independent Photography network. We asked him some questions to learn more about his work. Have a read!

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Tom Gifford

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

 I found LIP through their group on Flickr. Initially I was really taken with their events programme. The talks are fascinating and inspirational and they’ve featured a great range of high-calibre artists.

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

 I studied art originally, but never really got into photography at the time. Then back in 2009 I bought a vintage film camera  on impulse and it just felt right. Since then it’s grown into a bit of an obsession and I haven’t looked back.

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Tom Gifford

Who inspires you artistically?

I try and devour as much work as possible and I’m very influenced by what I see on Flickr. I’m also a big fan of Saul Leiter, Alex Webb, Josef Koudelka, Chris Killip, Tony Ray-Jones and loads of others ­ sadly I’m not sure any of this is apparent in my own efforts!

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

I think it would be over-egging it to say that my work has a theme as such. I basically go for a wander each lunchtime and explore the local area of Bermondsey and Southwark. I enjoy the challenge of finding and making new images in the same area each day. It fascinates me that you can walk the exact same streets every time again and again and yet still find elements that surprise. I enjoy heading out each time without any expectation of what I’ll find or an idea of what I’m looking for.

Tom Gifford

Do you have any future projects planned?

I’m not really thinking in terms of projects at the moment, I’m just trying to take as many photos as I can and hope I get lucky!

Tom’s work can be seen as part of the 24th Annual Exhibition by the London Independent Photography, until the 3rd of November.

For more information on this artist visit his website here.

All images © Tom Gifford

INTERVIEW: Manel Ortega

As the ‘Gayzed’ exhibition prepares to close the doors to the public, we are looking at one 0f the featuring photographers, Manel Ortega. We had a chat with him about his inspirations and work, have a look!

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Manel Ortega

Hello Manel! When did you become a member of the GPN and what drew you to the organisation?

I joined the Network two years ago when I was introduced to the group by a friend whose images were featuring in the GPN Annual Exhibition – at The Strand Gallery.

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Manel Ortega

Are there any particular subjects you are interested in and how do you explore them in your work?

I am interested in capturing raw emotion and true spirit and exploring these through all my portraiture.

Where does your inspiration derive from? Are there any photographers or artists that have particularly influenced your work?

I have a huge collection of art and photography – mainly accumulated when I lived and worked in Barcelona. There are many inspirational artists that have influenced my work but some of the key figures are Bruce Webber, Irving Penn and Cecil Beaton.

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Manel Ortega

Are there any specific techniques you use when photographing?

I love using natural light in both my digital and analogue work enhancing my personal style. My personal style is classical and the specific technique I use is patience.

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Manel Ortega

Have you got any future projects planned?

I have a number of projects in the pipeline. I am continuing the Black Portrait Series – one of which is included in the GPN Exhibition. I am also exploring a project to reflect the male form in classical poses and a book of my portraits.

Manel Ortega’s photographs can be seen as part of ‘Gayzed’ until the 20th of October.

If you are interested in Manel’s work visit his website here.

All images © Manel Ortega

INTERVIEW: Geoff Titley

‘Gayzed’ by the Gay Photographer’s Network is well underway, and today we bring you our interview with photographer Geoff Titley.

Geoff Titley

Geoff Titley

When did you become a member of the GPN and what drew you to the organisation?

It was early 2010. I had just returned from my first visit to South America and my interest in photography had been well and truly re-kindled after spending time in the breath-taking Andes. I looked around for a relaxed group to help me develop as a photographer. The GPN was the one I chose. It had a mix of experts and learners coming together in a social way.

Are there any particular subjects you are interested in and how do you explore them in your work?

The role of technology often informs my photographic practice, as it has the ability to change our social behavior. Echoing cultural theorist, Marshall McLuhan, my work discusses how technological advancements have impacted both cultural identity and the role  of photography in 2013. Working digitally allows myself to engage with new medias such as the Internet – in which the “network” becomes the artwork.

Geoff Titley

Geoff Titley

Where does your inspiration derive from? Are there any photographers or artists that have particularly influenced your work?

Artists such as Thomson and Craighead, Theo Watson, Aram Bartholl and Owen Kydd similarly explore the theme of technology. However, I am equally inspired by the “staged construction” genre within photography such as Jeff Wall, Tom Hunter and Philip-Lorca diCorcia.

Are there any specific techniques you use when photographing? How would you describe your personal style?

Each part of the process interests me – hunting for locations, finding actors and working on the edit.  I’ll often focus on the composition of an image in order to heighten the performativity surrounding the “staged construction.”

Have you got any future projects planned?

I intend to expand my series For the Moment by pushing it further into new directions that challenge the relationship between photography and multi-media.

Geoff Titley

Geoff Titley

Geoff’s work can be seen as part of ‘Gayzed’ here at The Strand Gallery until October 20th.

Further examples of Geoff’s work can be seen here.

INTERVIEW: Adam Heasman

Our current exhibition, ‘Gayzed’, has generated some fantastic online content from some incredibly talented photographers. Today we get a deeper insight into one of the exhibited artists and his process through another Q&A session. Todays subject is photographer Adam Heasman.

Adam Heasman

Adam Heasman

Hi Adam! Firstly, when did you become a member of the GPN and what drew you to the organisation?

I joined about a year ago, I can’t remember exactly how I found the Facebook group but I liked the images being shown and wanted to find out more about them. I went along to their monthly meeting and was very impressed at the level of passion shown and the great levels of variations in work. Alot of the local groups I would go along to were very set in their ways, didn’t like anything they hadn’t seen before, which for me was no good. I want to be part of a group that are striving for something different, and the great thing about this group of guys is that they are all still individuals who get together to get feedback rather than just trying to out do or impress each other.

Are there any particular subjects you are interested in, and how do you explore them in your work?

I am very into movies so when I go to shoot anything I think of it trying to capture a still from a film as opposed to being a single frame. I am also very influenced by horror and the macabre so my work will often be quite a dark representation of what I consider reality. I want people to find the beauty that I see in the shadows.

Adam Heasman

Adam Heasman

Where does your inspiration derive from? Are there any photographers or artists that have particularly influenced your work?

I guess Alfred Hitchcock and Tim Burton are going to be my two biggest influences. Each of them being extremely able to express their own POV’s in such a way that their styles are now synonymous with their names. As for photographers there is of course alot of work I like, but I am mostly influenced by the  people I meet in real life. I aspire to be as well received as fellow GPN member Manel Ortega whose work always leaves me in awe.

Are there any specific techniques you use when photographing? How would you describe your personal style?

My style is, as I’ve already said, quite dark and brooding. I don’t want to just be another photographer of pretty things that spends all his time with perfect models making images for the cover of magazines. Don’t get me wrong, I would relish the opportunity to show what I can do on a large scale but I feel my work would always look best on the walls of a gallery where the story can be told in a much cleaner and personal environment.

Adam Heasman

Adam Heasman

Have you got any future projects planned?

I want to go back to doing portraits as I have been busy doing other projects so my next big project which I have titled “The Skin I Own” will be looking at body modification and self harming in a series of photos which will hopefully express the idea that for some of us to be comfortable in our own skin, we have to change it.

Adam Heasman

Adam Heasman

All images © Adam Heasman.

Adam’s work can be seen as part of ‘Gayzed’ here at The Strand Gallery until October 20th.

Keep updated with Adam’s artistic ventures through his Twitter @tooapenny and his Facebook.

INTERVIEW: John Drennan

As part of the current Gay Photographers Network exhibition, ‘Gayzed‘, we thought it would be a good idea to find out a little more from a few of the artists. First up is John Drennan, a fine art photographer intrigued by themes within landscape, transport, architecture and textures. We asked him a few questions to learn a little more about his work.

John Drennan

John Drennan

Hi John! First off, when did you become a member of the GPN and what drew you to the organisation?

I’ve been a member of the GPN for over five years now. I initially joined as it was a group that allowed me to bring together several different aspects of my life, but I stayed for the cameraderie and lasting friendships that developed, as well as the skills-sharing and opportunities that we can create for ourselves as a group.

Are there any particular subjects you are interested in and how do you explore them in your work?

I’m naturally drawn to textures, particularly stone and metal. But also dereliction in general. I always feel there’s a residual ‘energy’ in objects that have been abandoned, and whilst their original function is finished, there’s very often a second story to be told. My work involves finding that story, and portraying it in a way that’s accessible for people.

John Drennan

John Drennan

Where does your inspiration derive from? Are there any photographers or artists that have particularly influenced your work?

The photographer who influenced me most directly was landscape photographer Dan Warsinger. It was eye opening to see how he sought out things like fallen trees and rocks, just as part of the foreground for the main object of the shot, but made them part of the visual dialogue.

Are there any specific techniques you use when photographing? How would you describe your personal style?

I think the best technique I ever learned was ‘wait’. Sometimes you have to ignore your first impressions of a subject, and wait for the second and third impressions to emerge. Very often that’s just being close to the object you want to capture, trying to distill the thoughts it creates, and then waiting for that ‘there it is moment’ when you understand what’s pulled you towards that object.

John Drennan

John Drennan

Have you got any future projects planned?

The most important future step now is finding some gallery representation. I’ve really been exploring producing work on aluminium and brushed metal surfaces, and it’s time to showcase that work.

John Drennan

John Drennan

All images © John Drennan.

‘Gayzed’ will be on show at The Strand Gallery from 15th – 20th October.

Further examples of John’s work can be viewed at www.boardinginfive.co.uk and on Twitter by following @JohnDrennanArt

INTERVIEW: XXXIX-Maja Vrzina

Focusing on this week’s exhibiting artist Maja Vrzina, we had a chat with her to find out a bit more about her inspiration and influences as well as her future plans. Her exhibition XXXIX will be on display until Sunday, 29th September.

The Lovers by Maja Vrzina

The Lovers by Maja Vrzina

What is your main source of inspiration for the XXXIX exhibition?  My main source of inspiration is my life, all 39 years so far, starting from early childhood, through the civil war in Yugoslavia to moving to London, in which I have experienced pain and ecstasy, hope and despair, love and great loss.

How do your paintings narrate your personal stories and struggles?  My life has always been about extremes, an emotional and psychological roller coaster, in other words no shades of grey. Everything that I feel is black or white. This translates into my paintings which start out as large white canvases before I apply the black ink or acrylic, slowly revealing my subject matter; be it capturing the essence of a love affair, trying to understand the violence I was subjected to in my home country, imagining a life that might have been or celebrating the inner strength I see in women.

What is the  role of gold in your work and how does it strengthens your paintings? Gold has always been used, since the time of Ancient Egyptians, to adorn those things we hold precious. The gold leaf frames have both a symbolic role and an aesthetic role in my work. I use gold leaf frames by way of celebrating and glorifying the subject matter and giving my paintings an emotional and visual depth.

Which artists inspire you the most and how do they influence your work? The artists that inspire me are not necessarily painters or sculptors but people in whom I see great strength, honesty, independence and energy and who are courageous and passionate about how they see the world and what they stand for, for example Patti Smith and The Clash.

Tell us about your ideas for your next project. Do you intend on keeping the same artistic character or would you like to explore different qualities in your artworks?  In my next body of work I’d like to move from the autobiographical to the biographical and explore the lives and struggles of others who have inspired me. The relationship between frame and painting is also something I am looking to explore further by blurring the lines between the two. From a technical point of view I want to experiment with gilding and discover how I can use this in the most powerful way possible to express myself.

INTERVIEW: KORLEKIE – Beatrice Newman

As promised, here is our interview with our fashion designer in residence Beatrice Newman aka KORLEKIE, who’s SS14 collection Ophelia is  now on show here at The Strand Gallery until 15th September.

Ophelia SS14 by Korlekie

Ophelia (SS14) by Korlekie

Tell us a little about yourself; where did your interest in fashion stem from?

It began at home ,  I was brought up in an African culture. It introduced me to a diversity of rich textiles and colour, which I then translated into unique modern clothing. My need to learn about fashion and different textiles also sparked a passion for knitwear and other types of hand-weaving techniques such macramé and crocheting. However, I believe my general love for fashion, as well as my flair in creating fabrics, has allowed for me to begin challenging preconceived notions in fashion.

What were the prominent inspirations when designing your collection Ophelia?

I am very much inspired by the regal heritage of monarchs such as the Tsars, and the gothic illustrious work of Edmund Dulac, Harry Clarke and Arthur Rackham, to name a few. The colour palette and other intricacies are always referenced in my work. Through the continuous development of my brand, I have noticed that much of my style in designs do stem from a broad catalogue of inspirations from C14th- C19th paintings and buildings.

What is the story and ideas behind Ophelia?

I am significantly inspired by Pre-Raphaelite art at the moment, in particular the painting ‘Ophelia’ by Millais. While it is a beautiful artwork, it has been a great way for my brand to realise colour in a gothic and romantic way. ‘Ophelia’, to me, represents the bittersweet of life- something of great influence to my designs and outlook. I try to find beauty in objects and notions people would not expect. ‘Ophelia’ is also a reflection of femininity; its fragility and power through seduction and beauty. Like a rose, it is delicate and bewitching but its thorns will make you bleed.

Ophelia (SS14) by Korlekie

Ophelia (SS14) by Korlekie

Ophelia by British artist Sir John Everett Millais, completed in 1851/1952

Ophelia by British artist Sir John Everett Millais, completed in 1852. The influence of the painting’s whimsical beauty is clear throughout Beatrice’s current collection.

How does this collection stand out from your previous others?

The SS14 collection is definitely a slight step away from the dark luxurious long knitted gowns that haunted the runway for AW13. It expresses another side of Korlekie that is softer, delicate and feminine. It stands out from the previous collection because it is more unique, yet ofcourse it is still part of the brand’s DNA. It simply signifies a change in direction in the way I am inspired and how I create.

You’ve had lots of success in your career, what has been your proudest moment?

I am grateful for the success but I believe the brand has still a way to go. I feel my success has been measured by goals. On my journey to achieving these goals, I’ve picked up “points/awards”, but ultimately the real success is still a way to go. I don’t really have a proudest moment, as I find  having the opportunity to wake up and design  is a proud moment to surpass all others.

What does the future hold for Korlekie?

As long as I have the grace to continue what I love doing, Korlekie will continue to strive, and hopefully one day conquer!

For more information about the show, contact info@kayflawless.com // 0207 205 2217

ARTIST PROFILE: Oliver Prowse

As we wrap up our final Graduate Show, let us present Oliver Prowse, our fourth and final photographer, in the series of Artist Profiles for ‘Brink’. We asked him some questions about his techniques and inspirations for his mesmerising and intriguing photographs.

The Body as Landscape

The Body as Landscape

Where did this project begin? Where were your ideas born?

My ideas began when experimenting in the studio. I work with the human figure in various ways, yet I am particularly fascinated with how light can transform elements of the body. I’m interested in what makes the body recognisably human, how we can challenge this and make people reevaluate cemented stereotypes of beauty.

Some elements of surrealist photography can be traced in your style of work. Who inspired this style? Is there anyone you are particularly influenced by?

The style of my images was a result of a very free process of experimentation. However, a strong influence came from the sculptures of Henry Moore. Although I would be wary of directly associating my work with surrealism, it did have a significant impact on Moore. Therefore, I cannot entirely dismiss surrealist links. However, I focused more upon Moore’s visual correlation between the figure and landscapes. My interest in this link is what drove my work and saw me attempting to create a modern, yet timeless series of images that embody landscapes of the figure.

What photographic technique did you employ to achieve the desired effect?

With this series, I looked to make  a set-up as simple as possible. Working with only one light source, I stripped the process of photographing the body back to its rawest form. This enabled me to have  precise control over the way the light fell upon the body, allowing an exact view of the highlighted lines, shapes and contours of figure. The abstract nature of the images was largely achieved varying the camera’s viewpoint relative to the subject. I experimented with figure positioning in order to produce unique perspectives, not instantly  indicative of their original subject.

Is there any particular message you wish to convey in your work?

As opposed to my work conveying a defined message, it is simply a means of making audiences reevaluate their perceptions of the human body and traditional ideas of beauty. I’m also bringing to light what can be achieved in a studio to create new kind of figurative imagery and challenge audience’s visual beliefs.

Oliver’s photography can be seen as part of Brink, showing at The Strand Gallery between until August 10th.

For more of Oliver Prowse’s individual photography, visit his website here.