CURRENT PROJECTS: GRAIN is working with a group of young people from the rural town of Whitchurch, Shropshire.

GRAIN is working with a group of young people from the rural town of Whitchurch, Shropshire. Jamie, Rowan, Kelsey, Robyn, Matthew, Noah and Dylan attend the youth group at Beechtree Community Centre in Whitchurch. They are working on the project to tell the stories of how they live their lives, what the town and community mean to them and to explore what its like to grow up in a rural town.

Whitchurch is a market town in northern Shropshire. It lies 2 miles east of the Welsh border, 20 miles north of the county town of Shrewsbury, 20 miles south of Chester, and 15 miles east of Wrexham. At the 2011 Census, the population of the town was 9,781.

You can stay up to date with the work being created by the young people by following the
@WittyPhotographers Instagram page.

The project is being led by Stephen Burke and in partnership with The Hive, Shrewsbury and supported by Labyrinth Photographic and Arts Council England.

Arenig is the name of the mountain to the north-west of Lake Bala, North Wales. This location is where artist Matthew Murray has producing a series of landscapes in response to the work of painters J. D. Innes and Augustus John who produced work at Arenig between 1911 and 1914. Murray’s approach is a personal representation. He depicts the landscape through what he feels rather than what he sees. Curator Roger Watson said of the work, ‘a series of dark mysterious landscapes that are cinematic, giving an emotional response as well as a sense of the solidity and earthbound sensation of the environment.’

The Arenig series, explores modern printing processes and early historical alternative printing techniques and how different printing approaches can give a different understanding and interpretation towards the final physical image. Photographing at Arenig and its surroundings locations, documenting diverse landscapes, surfaces and textures throughout; the different seasons allow Murray to experiment using a number of printmaking processes, each process giving a different result.

Murray is working collaboratively to explore new techniques and to reflect on the landscape. He is working with artists, emerging practitioners and communities looking at how people emotionally connect and respond to the landscape. This way of working will inform the work, harness strong ideas, show the exploration of place and identity, topical observation and the transformative moments within the landscape. Through research, collaboration, exhibition and publication, the intimate insight and obsessive study, will allow audiences to think about their own experience, memories and emotions when faced with landscape and nature.

“Photographs are about memory – or perhaps about the absence of memory, providing pictures to fill voids, illustrating and sometimes falsifying our collective memory (Lippard, 1998: 60)”

The new work will feature an engagement programme including workshops, masterclasses and a photo walk.

The work will be exhibited at Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum, Wiltshire in the summer of 2020. A new publication will accompany the exhibition.

Associated Events:

Photogravure Workshop with Jack Whitwell
9th and 10th November from 11am – 5pm
Hot Bed Press Studios,  First Floor, Casket Works Cow Lane, Salford M5 4NB
£45 (plus booking fee) for 2 days, 5 places, book your ticket here.

Learn copperplate photogravure in a two day workshop, taught by printmaker Jack Whitwell. You will learn how to expose, etch and print a 10×8 inch sized photograph of your choice. A high resolution image must be sent via email to jack.whitwellart@gmail.com,  at least 3 days ahead of the workshop. Some prior experience of etching and photography may help, however, it is not essential as full tuition will be provided.

What is Photogravure? The photogravure is an intaglio print, much like an etching, aquatint or mezzotint. The continuous tone of the original photographic negative are etched, in varying strengths of acids, onto a copper plate using a carbon printed gelatin resist and an aquatint halftone. Ink is then applied to the etched plate, wiped with a cheese cloth. Dampened cotton rag paper is laid on the plate and is then run through a roller press. The image in ink is then transferred from the plate to the paper. Photogravure is a true continuous-tone ink printing technique. Hand printed photogravures have an atmospheric and object quality that is unique to the process. The print will also last a millennia, without fading, if cared for.

Photo-Walk with Fleur Olby and Matthew Murray
14 November Lickey Hills
12.30 – 4pm, meet at Lickey Hills Visitor Centre & café
Lickey Hills Country Park, Warren Lane, Rednal, Birmingham B45 8ER
£3 (plus booking fee), book your ticket here.

Join Matthew Murray and photographic artist Fleur Olby at the Lickey Hills for a photowalk.  Matthew and Fleur will talk about their approach to the landscape, their methodology and how that informs their work. Fleur’s narrative is in visual poems, she works with plants and food, in gardens and landscapes. North Yorkshire based she has exhibited her work internationally and has been She has had one monograph published by Fuel publishing and self published her latest one –  which is in the V&A’s National Library of artists books and Aperture’s library and The Photographer’s Gallery bookshop.  It is also part of her forthcoming exhibition at the Garden Museum in 2020. She has also had her work featured in The Observer magazine, the Sunday Times and the Sunday Telegraph.

Please dress sensibly for the conditions, and bring with you any refreshments you may require including, water, hot drinks and food.

Workshop with the Photocopy Club, In association with Matthew Murray
8th February | 10.30am – 5pm
The Shell, Birmingham City University
£25 (plus booking fee) 10 places only, book your tickets here.

The Photocopy club workshop gives you an insight into the history of zines, self publishing and street photography. You will get to shoot, curate and design as a group and you will have an introduction into Japanese book binding.

Participants need to bring a digital Camera (camera phone) Laptop and any cables to download images. No pre skills, but an interest in photography and self publishing.

The Photocopy Club is an open submission exhibition project which supports photographers and collectors through a series of xerox exhibitions, workshops, talks and events.  Since starting in 2011 TPC have curated over 30 group and solo exhibitions within the UK and abroad.   TPC has exhibited at the LAABF and the NYABF as well as OFFPRINT London and the Berlin Miss Read Book fair. They have worked with The Photographers Gallery, Magnum Photos, Photoworks, Woohoo Space, Joberg Photo School, Adidas, UCA, John Doe, Margret, Dr Martens, Doomed Gallery and a verity of photography festivals through the world.

www.photocopyclub.com

The work is supported by Arts Council England, GRAIN Projects and the University of Gloucestershire.

During September 2019 artist Nilupa Yasmin undertook a residency at Brixton Market to make new work based on her meetings and making with the market stall holders. During the residency she remarked on a very evident wave of energy she received from the space. This energy, colour and vibrancy is translated into the new images and woven work that she has made.  Weaving has become a sense of performance for Nilupa during this residency.  In the new work there is a character in each piece along with an injection of the excitement and surprise in what she’s making.

Photofusion members observed Nilupa making work on the Saturdays and were intrigued by the pattern making and how different images related to each of them.

Nilupa Yasmin’s work is primarily lens based, while taking a keen interest in the notion of culture, self-identity and anthropology. Combined with her love for handcraft and photographic explorations, the artist repeatedly draws upon her own South Asian culture and heritage. The practice of weaving, passed down through inheritance, has become an integral exploration in the development and expression of human value. Her research examines the principles of craft in art-based practice; becoming an evident methodology shown throughout her work whilst investigating ideals and traditions that are very close to home.

Her work is exhibited at Photofusion until 20th November 2019.

www.Nilupayasmin.com
www.photofusion.org

GRAIN in collaboration with The New Art Gallery Walsall presents an exhibition which brings together three photographers,  Arpita ShahMaryam Wahid and Nilupa Yasmin whose practices are rooted in the exploration of cultural identity.

Together they present new and existing work focused around portraiture, culture and female identity. Through making work both about and in collaboration with their families and communities, these artists celebrate the rich and varied roles of women in society.

This exhibition provides an opportunity to expand upon narratives around the Asian diaspora and in particular the roles and identities of women.

A selection of works from Shah’s series ‘Purdah – the Sacred Cloth’ will be shown; which presents contemporary women based in the UK from a variety of South Asian backgrounds who chose to practice traditions of head covering or veiling. West Midlands based Wahid and Yasmin will create new work. Wahid’s portraits of women encountered in Pakistan, aim to recognise and celebrate women’s contribution to the economy and society. Yasmin’s self-portraits, with their multi-layered and manipulated surfaces, will reflect upon femininity and cultural identity.

Exhibition Dates: 15th November 2019 – 19th April 2020.
Preview: Thursday 14 November, 6-8pm, all welcome.

In Conversation
Decolonising the Gaze;  Arpita Shah, Maryam Wahid and Nilupa Yasmin with Caroline Molloy.
Friday 27 March   2 – 5pm
Tickets £3.

GRAIN Projects & The New Art Gallery Walsall will host an afternoon of talks and a panel discussion with artists & photographers Arpita Shah, Maryam Wahid & Nilupa Yasmin. The panel will be chaired by artist, academic and writer Caroline Molloy and will be an opportunity for audiences to hear from the artists about their practices and shared themes such as identity, culture and heritage.

Ticketed event, booking required – more information coming soon.

Image Credit: (c) Arpita Shah, Purdah (Chunni), 2013.

 

29 08 2019

SIXTEEN

‘What’s it like to be sixteen years old now?’ This is the central thread running through the ambitious touring exhibition SIXTEEN. Photographer Craig Easton conceived this work following his engagement with first-time voters in 2014. Unlike the rest of the country, sixteen year olds in Scotland were given their suffrage for the first, and as yet only time, in the UK.

Later Craig invited award-winning fellow photographers Robert C Brady, Linda Brownlee, Lottie Davies, Jillian Edelstein, Stuart Freedman, Sophie Gerrard, Kalpesh Lathigra, Roy Mehta, Christopher Nunn, Kate Peters, Michelle Sank, Abbie Trayler-Smith, Simon Roberts and MFA candidate David Copeland to join forces with him to develop the project.

Together they collaborated with more than one hundred and seventy young people from diverse communities across the country to explore their hopes, fears and dreams. Each photographer selected a theme and a location. These span large conurbations such as London and Manchester, and include Wales, Northern Ireland, the north and south west of England, and the Scottish Islands.

Sixteen is an age of transition. At a time of increasing national and international anxiety, these young people are shifting from adolescence to become the adults who will live in a politically reshaped country, divorced from the European Union. It is an issue they had no say in. Working with photography, film, social media, audio recordings and writing, Craig and his colleagues give voice to those rarely heard.

The incisive portraits and the young people’s candid testimonies reveal whom and what they really care about and reflect the trust engendered between the sixteen year olds and the photographers. This gives the project significant potency, and highlights how social background, gender, ethnicity and location influence a teenager’s life and ambition.

A bespoke series of work from the broader SIXTEEN portfolio has been selected for this public realm exhibition, which is produced and commissioned in partnership with GRAIN, Birmingham City University, Millennium Point Trust and Arts Council England. It includes finely wrought portraits of local sixteen year olds by the internationally acclaimed photographer Kate Peters who grew up in the Midlands.

Sixteen Launch:
Join us for the exhibition launch after The State of Photography III symposium, from 5.30pm – 7.30pm at the Parkside Building, Birmingham City University.

More information via:
www.craigeaston.com
www.sixteen_touring.co.uk

Image Credit: (c) Kate Peters, Anthony, 2018

Symposium
Friday 11th October 2019
9:30 am – 17:30 pm
Birmingham City University, The Parkside Building, B4 7BE

The State of Photography will consider, explore, debate and review how photographers and photography practice develops and responds in this political moment. How do we look at our world today, how do we collaborate and work with communities and what does the world look like to photographers?

We invite acclaimed and outstanding photographers, artists, writers and curators who work collaboratively and in the fields of community photography and socially engaged photography to join us, to give important historical context, to debate contemporary approaches and to talk about their practice at this time of political uncertainty, international crisis and creeping right wing ideologies. Each have different approaches to making their work, to engaging with individuals and communities and to telling stories. They have been artist, story teller, observer, collaborator, explorer and researcher.

Some collaborate closely with community members, marginalised groups and those with little or no opportunity to speak out, others offer a more external perspectives on social issues and situations. Does one offer a better more ethical way? Is it important to come from a community or do you become too involved? Is objectivity important? How do we ensure the engagement is sincere and does not exploit? And where does the artist and author feature in the work?

The role of photography is changing, particularly as work is commissioned and made for exhibition and gallery settings. Photography can impart the greatest truth of our times and sheds light on injustices, inequality and other aspects of our society. It has been and remains one of the strongest vehicles for change as photographers explore polities, gender, society, sexuality, diversity, economics and environment. It seems today – a time of political unrest, flux and crisis – more essential than ever to explore the role that photography can play.

During the Symposium we will hear from the perspective of the photographer, curator and academic. They share our concerns about the present and offer a diverse range of practices, experiences and stories that document the state of humanity and the world today.

The State of Photography Symposium aims to present new bodies of work, question and challenge ideas, as well as offering advice and talking about positive approaches to influence change, provoke, prompt and give a voice. We will hear from and celebrate those that create self-initiated projects and commissioned bodies of work and see a range of photographic practices that are at the cutting edge of photography now.

Speakers Include:

Prices:

  • Concession: £18
  • Standard: £25
    *Please note prices include tea/coffee at registration but do not include lunch.Book your tickets here

Image Credit: (c) Daniel Meadows. Portrait from the Free Photographic Omnibus. Barrow-in-Furness, November 1974.

FORMAT, QUAD (Derby) and GRAIN Projects (Birmingham) are delighted to announce a new collaborative project that will provide fifteen emerging artists and photographers with a professional development opportunity. This is the third East Meets West collaboration and follows two very successful previous editions.

During the Masterclass sessions industry and art form leaders will share their knowledge and practical advice on developing a successful career, self-initiated marketing, self-publishing, methods and applying for and obtaining funding.  The sessions will also include guidance on portfolio development, production techniques, editing and sequencing for publications, expanding ideas and research, writing exhibition interpretation and project statements, exhibition layout and curation. The programme will also offer group portfolio review sessions where reviewers will provide feedback regarding work and current projects.

The Masterclass programme aims to offer guidance in a supportive collaborative learning environment in order to allow photographers to build confidence in their practice and network with fellow practitioners. The programme will offer a platform for participants to receive personal guidance and participate in career focussed discussions that will make a difference to their work and contribute to their professional development.

Masterclass participants will be given a chance to share their work at a dedicated FORMAT PhotoForum event. There will also be a production budget provided for participants to work as a collective to create a self-directed joint outcome of their choosing, such as a newspaper, publication, event or exhibition.

This opportunity is aimed at emerging photographers wishing to broaden their perspectives and push the boundaries of their personal development. We welcome diverse and innovative submissions.

Masterclass events, speakers, portfolio reviewers and workshop leaders include: Peta Murphy (Arts Council England), Mahtab Hussain (Artist), Abbas Zahedi (Artist), Natasha Caruana (Artist), Colin Pantall (Writer & Photographer), The Photocopy Club (Photographer, Curator & Publisher), Nicola Shipley (GRAIN), and Louise Fedotov-Clements (FORMAT & QUAD).

The cost for the Masterclass programme is £200 and will be payable once accepted onto the programme. We have two bursary places available at £150, for participants who live in either the West or East Midlands.

Due to expected high numbers of applications for this programme we are asking people to apply with your CV, a letter of interest explaining why you would like to apply for the programme and how you think it would benefit you, as well as a link to your website or a PDF of a selection of images. If you are based in the West or East Midlands please note on your application if you would like to be considered for both the bursary price and standard price.

Deadline for applications: Midnight 22nd September 
Please send your applications to Stephen.burke@grainphotographyhub.co.uk

Dates For Masterclass Programme:

Friday 11th October 2019, 9.30am – 5pm, Birmingham City University
State of Photography Symposium

Saturday 30th November 2019, 9.30am – 5pm, New Art Gallery Walsall
Theme: Funding, Development, Survival Skills and Portfolios

Saturday 25th January 2020, 9.30am – 5pm, Birmingham City University
Theme: Writing & Photography, Picture Editing & Sequencing

Saturday 15th February 2020, 9:00 – 17:30, QUAD, Derby
Theme: Exhibitions, Audiences, Interpretation, Portfolios and Participation

Saturday 11th April 2020, 9:00 – 18:00, QUAD, Derby
The Photocopy Club Photo-Zine Making Full-day Workshop

Thursday 30th April 2020, 18:30 – 20:00, QUAD, Derby
East Meets West Masterclass FORMAT PhotoForum

Image Credit: (c) Tristan Poyser

01 08 2019

Marco Kesseler

We are excited to be working with photographer Marco Kesseler on a new commission which will see him create new work about the hidden landscape where our food is produced and the seasonal staff that work tirelessly to harvest it.

The photographer is interested in the fact that these spaces often seem so far removed from the sterile environment of the supermarkets where the produce is on sale.  He is interested in exploring how we are becoming increasingly disconnected from the process of growing crops and the hidden landscapes they inhabit – a microcosm full of life both above and below the surface.

As we approach Brexit and with 99% of seasonal farm workers coming from the EU (just 0.6% from the UK) there has been a significant shortfall in workers.  Recent statistics show farms are understaffed by approximately 20% which asks the questions:  How will agriculture be affected and who will pick our food after Brexit?

Kesseler will collaborate with communities across the agricultural industry in the Midlands, in Worcestershire and Herefordshire, which include a major supermarket supplier.    His research will include the wider diverse Midlands landscape which provides opportunities for a wide range of production – from hops to wine, potatoes to asparagus and many varieties of fruit.

Marco Kesseler is a photographer based in the UK, with an interest in the role of narrative, studying both fact and fiction, as a reference point in representing contemporary social stories.  Working with communities over an extended period of time, previous works have documented the socio-political effects of the Ukrainian revolution; living in hiding with Albanian families persecuted in the age old traditions of blood feuds, as well as celebratory traditions in Greece.

Past exhibited works have been included in The Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize, Paris Photo, PhotoIreland Festival, The Renaissance Photography Prize and The Sony World Photography Awards and clients include The FT Weekend Magazine, The New York Times, TIME and The British Journal of Photography.

www.marcokesseler.com

We are delighted to announce that the book WHAT PHOTOGRAPHY & INCARCERATION HAVE IN COMMON WITH AN EMPTY VASE by Edgar Martins is now available to order.

Commissioned by GRAIN, this multifaceted body of work was developed, over a period of 2 years, with HMP Birmingham (the largest, category B prison in the Midlands, UK), and in particular its inmates, their families as well as a myriad of other individuals and organisations (such as charities, colleges, universities and youth centres.)

Martins’ work uses the social context of incarceration to explore the philosophical concept of absence and address a broader consideration of the status of the photograph when questions of visibility, ethics, aesthetics and documentation intersect. By giving a voice to inmates and their families and address prison as a set of social relations, rather than a mere physical space, Martins proposes to rethink and counter the sort of imagery normally associated with incarceration.

His project, thus, wilfully circumvents images whose sole purpose, he argues, is to confirm the already help opinions within dominant ideology about crime and punishment: violence, drugs, criminality race – an approach that only serves to reinforce the act of photographing and photography itself as apotropaic devices.

Composed of three distinct segments, encompassing archive/new photography, text and sound, Martins’ work shifts between image and information, between fiction and evidence, strategically deploying visual and textual details in tandem so that the viewer becomes aware of what exists outside the confines of the frame.

This ambitious and thought-provoking project is now published as a beautiful, two-book publication, that includes a facsimile copy of an inmate’s journal, produced especially for this context, and carefully edited and appropriated by the artist.

In an excerpt from the journal, observed details accumulate to form a powerful way of figuring the dehumanising and life-denying force of the prison: ‘Sometimes all there is to do when you’re stuck on the wing is to lean on the thin high rails and watch what’s going on around you. That’s when I noticed thick grey fluff on a step. And more on another step. Then I noticed it at the edges of the floor and above me on the piping. It was on the top of the nuts and bolts and on top of the wires that made up the netting. It was everywhere and I had never noticed it before. The grey fluff had blended in with the grey clothing of the grey people that cast grey shadows on the grey walls. I suppose the ideal prisoner should be grey, dull and dismal in nature. THEY’VE CREATED THE PERFECT GREY SPACE HERE.’

WHAT PHOTOGRAPHY & INCARCERATION HAVE IN COMMON WITH AN EMPTY VASE contains over 500 pages, 130 photographs and documents and is supplied in a genuine prison bag, along with a surprise element.

This publication will support exhibitions of the work at Galeria Filomena Soares (Lisbon), Catharine Clark Gallery (San Francisco), the Macau Museum of Art (Macau, China), the Museum of National and Contemporary Art (Lisbon), the Geneva Photography Centre (Geneva), amongst others.

Order the book here.

01 07 2019

Arpita Shah

GRAIN are delighted to be working with photographer Arpita Shah on a new
commission which will see the photographer work with South Asian women
across Birmingham and the West Midlands.

Shah’s project ‘Modern Muse’ will explore, represent and celebrate South Asian
female identity across the city and region. The series will visually and
conceptually explore the ever-shifting identities of South Asian women in
contemporary Britain and give an insight into the perspectives of what it means
to be a young British and Asian woman.

Shah would like to invite young South Asian women aged between 16-30 based
in Birmingham and the Midlands to be involved in the project, so if you’re
interested in getting more info please contact Arpita at: arpita@arpitashah.com

Arpita Shah is a photographic artist and educator based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
She works between photography and film, exploring the fields where culture and
identity meet. As an India-born artist, Shah spent an earlier part of her life living
between India, Ireland and the Middle East before settling in the UK. This
migratory experience is reflected in her practice, which often focuses on the notion
of home, belonging and shifting cultural identities. Shah’s work tends to draw from
Asian and Eastern mythology, using it both visually and conceptually to explore the
issues of cultural displacement in the Asian Diaspora.

Arpita’s work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Detroit Center of
Contemporary Photography (2013); Tramway in Glasgow (2014); Focus Festival in
Mumbai, India (2015); Chobi Mela IX in Dhaka, Bangladesh (2017); Autograph APB
in London (2018) and Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow (2019). She is also the
recipient of the 2019 Light Work + Autograph ABP Artist-in-Residence programme
which she will undertake in NY in September of 2019.

www.arpitashah.com

Image Credit – ‘Haseebah’ Modern Muse © Arpita Shah


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