Tag Archives: Spotlight

SPOTLIGHT: Stephanie Bryan-Kinns

Today’s spotlight focuses on talented BA (Hons) Digital Communication Design graduate Stephanie Bryan-Kinns, who The Strand Gallery had the pleasure of exhibiting back in the May 2014 UCA Degree Show.


BA (Hons) DCD is a cutting-edge degree known for pushing boundaries through the creation of innovative works. They practice in exploring the impact of digital culture on graphic design, and Stephanie’s work investigates issue of transphobia through social design.

An avid designer and writer who hopes to develop an art direction career in advertising, Stephanie creates work that is thought provoking and powerful. She exhibited at The Strand Gallery an advertising based installation that challenges gender stereotyping and prejudice in today’s society.


Through directly targeting individuals in intimate spaces, Stephanie uses facial recognition and interactive advertising with the aim of helping society understand that transphobic language, actions, questions and comments are just as inappropriate towards cis-gendered individuals, as they are to trans* individuals.

For this project, Stephanie not only aims to raise awareness of transphobia, but also of gender variation. The shocking statements used in this campaign reflect inappropriate language, commonly directed towards trans* individuals, and offer a unique and inspiring way of using advertising as a way to combat prejudice. The project epitomises the quote “treat others how you wish to be treated”.

Check out Stephanie’s website to find out more information and to see more of her work.



Today’s spotlight focuses on Taiwanese photographer Hao Li, and his captivating series Le Mécanisme Répétitif (The Repetitive Mechanism).

Hao Li 1

Hao Li is based in France, and his ghostly series came an impressive second place in the Professional Conceptual category of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards, and it’s not hard to see why. Supported by the World Photography Organisation, the competition is recognised as the leading photographic awards programme in existence today.

His work reflects the sometimes repetitive routine of daily life, suggesting that we have lost ourselves within an immense system that emphasises both efficiency and productivity. Recognizing this system, Hao Li purposely placed himself amidst the repetitive rhythm, and returned every day at the exact same time to the various different locations, ranging from train stations to supermarkets.

Hao Li 2

With the same framing, Hao Li limited himself to one exposure per day on the same piece of film, and complied the shots together to create one single multi-exposure photograph. The result is astounding; offering a high-speed adaptation of the every day places we travel through and the people we pass as eerie, unidentifiable figures.

Hao Li 3

Check out the rest of the Sony World Photography Awards winners here to discover other amazing talent and to see some unforgettable photographs.

Winning and shortlisted images will be presented at Somerset House, London from 1-18 May as part of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition.

All images © Hao Li

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.


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.


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.


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.


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

All images are © Leanne Surfleet

SPOTLIGHT: Akira Isogawa

With London Fashion Week only a few weeks away, our Fashion Designer in Residence, Korlekie, is getting ready for her SS14 ‘Ophelia‘ show, on display here at The Strand Gallery in September.

To coincide with the exhibition, as well as this weekend’s Notting Hill Carnival, this next spotlight looks at fashion inspired by the multi-cultural world.

Fashion designer Akira Isogawa achieved international success through a unique aesthetic that blends together his Japanese heritage with the influence of the modernity of Sydney,  Australia. Such fusion has allowed for Isogawa to create delicate yet powerful clothing, standing out on the contemporary international runways.

Mercedez Benz Fashion Week Australia, SS12/13

Mercedez Benz Fashion Week Australia, SS12/13

Akira Isogawa was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1965 and had an appreciation for fashion from a young age. Yet,  it wasn’t until he emigrated to Australia at the age of 21, that his interest manifested into an experimentation of textile manipluation. Travelling back and forth between his native country and his new home, Isogawa used Japanese fabrics, familiar to him as a youngster, and applied them onto his Western designs. This preceded the characteristic style he would later unleash onto the fashion world.

Inspired by Japanese Kimonos, Geisha clogs and traditional woodblock printing, Isogawa’s designs encompass intricate Asian beauty and elegance. The creative mix of embroidery, origami folds and vibrant colours define his style and show the hand-worked delicacy of his collections. The designs are classic, simple forms, that are manifested into modern shapes to create a contemporary look.

2009 Spring Collection

Spring 2009 Collection

Since the 1993 opening of the designer’s first boutique in Sydney, success and appreciation for Isogawa has been plentiful. In 1999, he won the  Designer of the Year award and has since undertaken numerous projects in fashion and the arts. With his currently Spring 2013 collections on display internationally, and as multi-culural fashion becomes increasingly popular, Isogawa continues to cement his position at the forefront of Australian and international creativity.

Stay tuned for our upcoming show ‘Ophelia‘ by Korlekie, who will showcase her Afro-Inspired designs in the SS14 collection, showing at The Strand Gallery from 11th – 15th September.

All images copyright © of Akira Isogawa.

Written by Alexandra Hale.

SPOTLIGHT: Ambroise Tézenas

As this summer brings several degree shows through the doors of The Strand Gallery, we focus on the work of emerging artists and photographers. In keeping with this theme, we will be releasing some special features over the next few weeks, on a few creatives that have caught our eye.

This week’s spotlight falls upon French photographer Ambroise Tézenas, whose mesmerising imagery has already brought praise from international audiences and critics alike.

Kowloon, Hong Kong

The Money Pit: Kowloon, Hong Kong

Born in Paris in 1972, Tézenas studied photography at the Applied Arts School of Vevey, Switzerland. Upon graduating, he began his career as a promising photojournalist, documenting complex cultural and political subjects from the start. Now Tézenas holds an extensive portfolio of successful exhibitions, showcasing his natural talents in documentary and travel photography.

His recent project Dark Tourism, investigates the rising trend of ‘macabre travel’- when holiday-makers visit sites of death and destruction out of pure morbid curiosity.  Tézenas’ own travel experiences to Sri Lanka during the 2004 tsunami planted the seed for this exploration. He explains; ‘Paradoxically, while the modern man denies the reality of his own death, he enjoys the virtual confrontation to it’.

Dark Tourism

Dark Tourism: Sichuan, China

Such topics are characteristic to Tézenas’ work, as he depicts distant locations in an atmospherically raw manner. His 2006 exhibition Beijing, Theatre of the People, juxtaposed traditional China with its modernising cityscape of the 2008 Olympics. This exhibition culminated in a book publication of the same title, earning Tézenas the Leica European Publishing Award for Photography 2006.

Beijing, Theatre of the People

Beijing, Theatre of the People:  Beijing, China

Mumbai, India

Mumbai: Mumbai, India

Other elusive locations documented in his work include Mumbai, Cuba and Turkmenistan. These capture the unique cultural realities of these places, whilst constantly maintaining their often over-looked beauty. Such work has led to a plethora of awards, as well as commissions from  publications such as The New York Times and TIME magazine.

While Tézenas ventures to more locations, he continues to capture single moments in time of our rapidly changing global landscape. Through this work and its recognition, Tézenas further cements his growing reputation as a notable modern photographer and visionary.

For more information on his work and news on up-coming exhibitions, visit Ambroise Tézenas.

All images copyright © of Ambroise Tézenas.

Written by Alexandra Hale

SPOTLIGHT: An Interview with Lalo Borja

To coincide with our current series of university photography degree shows here at The Strand Gallery, we talk to established photographer Lalo Borja on his roots, his style, and what teaching photography to budding enthusiasts means to him.

How long has photography been a part of your life? How did it turn in to a career?

Photography has been a big part of my life for nearly forty years, starting in Toronto, Canada, in early 1973.It became a career when I was lucky enough to find a job working as a reporter/photographer for a Spanish newspaper in 1975.

You are originally from Cali, Colombia, what brought you to the UK?

I married an English woman in Colombia, in 2000, having gone back to my hometown in 1995. She wanted to get back home to England in order to get her Diploma in Education, and I tagged along!

Has your photographic style changed much over the years or has it remained consistent? What is your favourite subject to photograph and why?

My style has changed very little in the past thirty or so years. I still enjoy doing street photography to this day. My favourite subject remains portraiture because it offers me the opportunity to explore expressions unique to human beings.

Your career has led you to become an A level photography teacher in Kent, do you feel that your students learn a lot from you and your experience as a professional photographer? Do you enjoy passing on your knowledge and skills to them?

Teaching young students is an enjoyable and sometimes difficult proposition. I do hope to continue influencing some of them to carry on this honourable profession. I feel a small number of them every year are inspired by the benefits and beauty it offers. That, in itself, is very rewarding.

What has been the highlight of your photographic career so far?

I would say that it had taken me a long time to find that the very early personal work, shot around 1975, still endures and remains of high quality to this day. That, for me, is a highlight and it makes me a great believer in intuition.

More of Lalo’s photographic work can be seen here.

Our current photography degree show, Peer can be seen at The Strand Gallery between the 25th and 29th of June.

SPOTLIGHT: Rebecca Foster

Tell us a little about yourself Rebecca?

I am a fine artist with an MA in Drawing from Wimbledon School of Art.

My current artistic practice involves the appropriation of pre-existing and original images, transforming them into a new whole. I work in drawing, painting, photography and film and these media often overlap in my work. I am interested in the beauty of the everyday, unexpected juxtapositions of images and repetition of form.

Alongside working as an artist my background is in producing, art directing, graphic design and prop making on a number of feature films, commercials and TV productions for the BBC, Channel 4 and independent film companies.

I studied at Central St Martins and Wimbledon School of art and my work has been exhibited internationally. I was BAFTA nominated for my work on the Children’s BBC art show ‘SMart’ and received full funding for my MA from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

What inspires your work?

My work is inspired by the sheer amount of images and messages we are bombarded with everyday. I like seeing connections between images I find and working out ways of making these images relate to each other. I am inspired by everything I see and hear!! I truly believe everything I experience goes into my art.

You juxtapose contrasting images on one canvas in your series of oil paintings, what is the idea behind this?

Initially I began the process of juxtaposing images when I started working with mirrors. I created an installation inspired by a Rilke Poem – You Who Never Arrived, when I documented this work I began taking photos through the mirrors. I liked these results and experimented more with mirrors: juxtaposing 2 views within the same image (Urban Beauty Spots – Red) . This then developed into combining found objects and images which I then painted.

Are you working on any projects at the moment?

At the moment I am working on a series of work I’m making with my scanner which I will later paint.

What does the future have in store for you?

I am working hard at trying to get my work into gallery exhibitions and taking on portrait commissions as this is something I really love to do!

More of Rebecca’s work can be found here

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.

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…

SPOTLIGHT: Jure Kastelic

Tell us a bit about yourself and your photography?

I am a 19-year-old student of photography here in Brighton. I really wanted to study photography abroad and then suddenly my wish came true. In 2010, I printed the ‘Honeymoon’ book that is one of the most successful things that I’ve ever done. The book was presented last year at Paris Photo and then sold into numerous collections in London, Tokyo, somewhere in Colorado… After that I was sure that I don’t want to do anything else than photography. In Slovenia, where I am from, we only have smaller photography courses mostly commercially oriented. So I applied to 5 different courses in the UK and sent them pictures from the book. I was accepted on all five so I picked Brighton and moved.

Your series ‘Honeymoon’ is made up of photographs where individuals have been cut out of the images, leaving a white space in their place. What is this series about?

Initially, this project started as, I thought, a charming gesture for my parents. This was the first time that my family had been on a substantial trip abroad; my parents had not even had a honeymoon. With this in mind I decided to give them one. I used my father’s film camera, which he would have probably used if he had been on his real honeymoon trip. I cut myself and my brother out of the photographs, as we would not have been born yet.

The series hopefully becomes a simulation that questions the medium itself and also the basic function of the photographic camera that is to eternalize a memory. Digital photography is now cheaper than ever. Everything is worth documenting. In the flood of imagery memories are more fragile; it became harder to pertain a certain memory to an image of an event. But on the other hand, film stills have the same power of representing something nostalgic, even if it didn’t happen. They are something known and common, but white silhouettes suggest that the whole project is simulated.

How would you describe your style of photography?

I would say that so far I have not developed a photographic style and I am not planning to in the near future either. In the last three projects I was more interested in fiction. But still, with every series of photographs I have a different idea and a different approach. Maybe that can be my photographic style?
I like to think that the most important thing in photography is a unique idea or a concept. I modify and choose my medium of making (it can be an old film camera, a webcam or some found images) with the concept in my mind. Before I have an idea in my head or on paper I will never even touch my camera. It is weird because most of my friends work the other way around (pictures first and then the idea). I tried to work like that too, but everything was so pretentious and sadly average.

Are you working on any projects at the moment?

At the moment I am in a thinking process for a new project that questions our perception of religion, nudity and other heavy themes. I have a few funny ideas about cultural relativism for now but I have to figure out how to make things work together as a project. I am planning to use a medium format camera and found imagery but I am still seeking for ways to be original. Other than that, I plan to expand my projects that I made for my course and give them more time to grow. We have to submit four projects in eight months for the university, which is sometimes hard to do. I am also planning to collaborate with two of my coursemates, just to be ‘photography fit’ through the summer and maybe something bigger comes out later. I am also in discussions about printing my latest project as a ‘zine’.

What is your biggest photographic aspiration/goal?

In a few years I would like to make a decent living from what I am doing now. I would like to continue with my projects, make books, have exhibitions, read about photography, maybe do some assignments, sell a few prints, etc. I would like to continue with that, but in a bigger scale, more constant, and I hope some day, more financially successful.

More of Jure’s work can be found here