Blog Archive

11 02 2020

Alannah Cooper

Alannah Cooper is a photographer inspired by capturing the wildness of tradition and the nature of craft. Photographer, writer, interviewer, and craftswoman herself, her portfolio has been built on her insatiable need to explore. As a fashion photographer, she dedicates her time to projects that bring her to people and places where fashion exists in different ways.

Originally from the Orkney islands, Scotland, her ideas alive from the materials of rural land and the lore she grew up around. It is not uncommon for her work to feature family members, home towns, and the small patterns and details that can remind the viewer of their own. Today, she continues to search for new interpretations of rural surroundings that enchant the everyday life of craftsmanship, explore the accessibility of creativity, and promote the sustainability of fashion.

Alannah Cooper has an MA in Fashion Communication from Central Saint Martins and before that she spent four years at Heriot-Watt University in the Scottish Borders. She was the first-ever recipient of the New Fashion Image Prize at Central Saint Martins, 2018 selected by Lou Stoppard and Simon Chilvers. 

Image Credit: by Alannah Cooper

11 02 2020

Emily Graham

Emily Graham is a photographer based in London. She gained her BA (Hons) in Photography at the University of Brighton, and has recently completed her MA in Photography at the University of West England.

Emily is interested in the intersection of the rural with industrial heritage and how the countryside can be hidden in our more urban boroughs and districts. She is exploring how people (particularly young people) interact with these green spaces and is working collaboratively with young people’s groups in Warwickshire.

She was one of the recipients of the Magenta Foundation Flash Forward award 2017, selected as a Commended winner of the Genesis Imaging Postgraduate Award 2018, shortlisted for the Brighton Photo Fringe Open Solo 18, awarded third prize in the British Journal of Photography’s International Photography Award 2019, and most recently, shortlisted for the Images Vevey Book Award. Her work has been exhibited nationally & internationally, including at Format Festival 2019 as part of their thematic Forever/Now, and most recently at Pingyao International Photography Festival, China and in Profound Movement group exhibit at Houston Centre for Photography.

Image Credit: The Blindest Man, by Emily Graham

11 02 2020

Guy Martin

Guy Martin (b.1983) graduated with a B.A(HONS) in DocumentaryPhotography from the University of Wales, Newport. He has been a member of Panos Pictures since 2011. From January 2011 he began to document the revolutions sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa. From 2012 he was been based inIstanbul Turkey, where he produced ‘The Parallel State’ his first book about the rise of Turkish soft power and the complex new identities in the Turkish Republic. The book was published in 2018 by GOST books and subsequently was listed as on of Time Magazine’s best photo books of the year.

Guy is interested in working with people who are experiencing homelessness in rural areas and is focusing his research and work on the town of Hereford where, like many smaller, rural towns, poverty and Covid 19 have affected large numbers of people who are now more reliant on food banks and shelter.

Guy’s work is concerned with the way our digital lives have overlapped into the political violence of the physical world. He continues to work for the world’s leading magazines  including The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Bloomberg Buisness Week, Time Magazine, National Geographic, Harpers, HUCK and Le Monde; while lecturing, teaching workshops and exhibiting his work worldwide.

His work has been recognised by Centre Santa Fe for the Project Launch Award, Sony World Photo Awards, BJP IPA award, ViewBook Transformations grant, St.Breiuc Festival Award, and The Observer David Hodge Award. In 2012 his work from the Arab revolutions was shown in Side Gallery, HOST Gallery Third Floor Gallery and The Polly. In 2017 The Parallel State had its first major installation at Les Rencontres de la photographie in Arles. In 2019, The Parallel State had its first solo show at Pattern gallery in Denver, Colorado.

Guy is an associate lecturer at the University of Falmouth and on the on the advisory board of the Rory Peck Trust, an organisation that represents and champions the safety and working practices of freelance photographers and journalists working in war and conflict zones.

Image Credit: A memorial garden on a hillsoden overlooking the town of Maerdy, in the Rhonda Valley, by Guy Martin

11 02 2020

Leah Gordon

Leah Gordon (born 1959 Ellesmere Port) is a photographer, film-maker, curator, collector and writer. In the 1980’s she wrote lyrics, sang and played for the feminist folk punk band, ‘The Doonicans’. Leah makes work on Modernism and architecture; the slave trade and industrialisation; and grassroots religious, class and folk histories. Gordon’s film and photographic work has been exhibited internationally including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; the Dak’art Biennale; the National Portrait Gallery, UK and the Norton Museum of Art, Florida. Her photography book ‘Kanaval: Vodou, Politics and Revolution on the Streets of Haiti’ was published in June 2010. She is the co-director of the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; was a curator for the Haitian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale; was the co-curator of ‘Kafou: Haiti, History & Art’ at Nottingham Contemporary, UK; on the curatorial team for ‘In Extremis: Death and Life in 21st Century Haitian Art’ at the Fowler Museum, UCLA and was the co-curator of ‘PÒTOPRENS: The Urban Artists of Port-au-Prince’ at Pioneer Works, NYC in 2018 and MOCA, Miami in 2019. In 2015 Leah Gordon was the recipient of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Travel Award for Central America and the Caribbean.

Leah is working in Shropshire and is researching land ownership and histories to gain a deeper
understanding of the enclosures act, the impact of the industrial revolution and in parallel the
American and Caribbean plantation system. This historical past is vital to having a critical
understanding of the systems and politics of now. A multi-media project which will use constructed
portraiture and the landscape with an imaginative use of archives and the poetry of John Clare to
intertwine the traces of history, Empire and land use and ownership today. The portraits will be
inspired by John Thomas Smith’s 18 th century book illustrations. During the project local myths,
legends and oral histories will be collected. The final instalment will create a reflection on the state of
the land, its institutionalisation, modernity and discontent.

Image Credit: Vagabondaj Mawon: Sitadel, 2019, by Leah Gordon.

11 02 2020

Matthew Broadhead

Matthew Broadhead is a British photographer based in Southwest England (b.1994). In 2016, he graduated from the BA (Hons) Photography program at the University of Brighton and gained sustained recognition for his body of work A Space for Humans: The Moon on Earth. A Space for Humans was featured in The British Journal of Photography, Wallpaper*, The Exposed Issue 2 and Fisheye Vol 1.

Matthew has also been selected as a winner for awards from Magnum, Photoworks and Organ Vida. In late 2019, he graduated from the new MA Photography course at UWE Bristol with a new body of work titled The Sleeping Photographer.

Matthew’s practice is an engagement with photography as a critical medium and explores
conjunctions between different subjects, notably geology; anthropology; history; folklore and
mythology. Operating at the intersection between documentary and conceptual art, he is a storyteller
who uses factual source material. His third great-grandfather Frederick William Broadhead was an
artist and photographer based in Leicester during the late 19th century, and this is where Matthew will
make new work, in the ancient Charnwood Forest. His great-grand-father captured the romantic
landscape including Bradgate Park, Ulverscroft Priory ruin and the slate quarry in Swithland Wood,
and these features of the landscape still exist today. Using large format camera equipment,
Matthew will record the wider landscape of Charnwood Forest and will reference the geology, fossils,
landscape, wildlife, human activity, human influence, social history, stories and folklore of the
landscape. He will also photograph people that participate in the landscape to focus on its use
today, their understanding of place and history and their motivation for using the land.

Broadhead is also a collector and dealer of nineteenth-century photography and conducts a great amount of research on this topic. In particular, he specialises in the life and work of his third great-grandfather Frederick William Broadhead.

Image Credit: by Matthew Broadhead

11 02 2020

Murray Ballard

Murray Ballard (b.1983) is a British photographer born and based in Brighton, UK.  He graduated from the University of Brighton in 2007 with a first-class degree in Photography.  The following year he was selected for Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed 08 – the annual showcase of work by ‘the most promising recent graduates’ at The Photographers’ Gallery, London. From 2008 he assisted Magnum photographer Mark Power for several years whilst continuing to work on his own commissions and self-initiated projects. Most notably his long-term investigation of cryonics – the practice of freezing the dead in the hope that future science and technology will be able to bring them back to life.

In 2011 the British Journal of Photography recognised him as ‘an emerging photographer of note’, following his debut solo show The Prospect of Immortality at Impressions Gallery, Bradford. The exhibition went on to tour both nationally and internationally. Venues include: Side Gallery, Newcastle; Format Festival, Derby; Breda Photo Festival, Netherlands, SI Fest, Italy and DongGang International Photography Festival, South Korea. In 2016 GOST Books published an extensive monograph of the work, which was shortlisted for the Paris Photo Aperture First Book Award.

Murray is working in Boston, Lincolnshire, the rural town that had voted with the largest
majority to leave the EU during the referendum. Visiting the town post Brexit to photograph
the post Brexit community and their future hopes and concerns he found a community
affected by Covid during 2020 and the impact the pandemic has had on agriculture and food
production. Boston’s local economy and much of its identity is built around agriculture, with
Lincolnshire producing one eighth of the UK’s food. The surrounding landscape is dominated
by fields of barley, wheat and oilseed rape; alongside more specialist crops such as:
potatoes, cauliflowers, cabbages, carrots, beetroot, onions, lettuce, spring onions and
tomatoes. These crops require more labour to grow and harvest, which has led to a large
influx of Eastern-European agricultural workers in the area.

The resulting images are the beginning of a contemporary portrait of Boston and perhaps go
some way to highlighting some of the things that led people to vote to leave the EU in such
significant numbers.

His photographs have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers including: Esquire, FT Weekend, GEO, GQ, The Guardian The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times and Wired.  As well as the photography journals: 6 Mois, British Journal of Photography, HotShoe and Professional Photography.

Image Credit: Closed down Poundstretcher, Boston, April 2017, by Murray Ballard.

11 02 2020

Navi Kaur

Navi Kaur (b. 1993) is an artist and educator based in Birmingham, UK.

Navi often makes work commenting on the migrant experience, specifically around journeys, environment, storytelling and documentary. Inspired by an archive of family photographs found in her grandparents’ home, she produces work in response to the lives they have built here in the U.K, encompassing their Sikh faith and daily regimes, working predominantly through the processes of digital photography, film and installation.

Navi works closely with her Budimom, Surinder, and Baba Ji, Karamjit (paternal grandparents), to better understand her own heritage and culture through feelings of displacement in organised environments and highlights the importance of celebrating cultural diversity through cross collaboration.

Image Credit: by Navi Kaur

The Anthology of Rural Life is an ongoing photographic project by Oliver Udy and Colin Robins. A photographic project whose intentions are to produce an archive of material that reveals and documents continuities and shifts in patterns of rural life.

Oliver and Colin are creating new work in the village and civic parish of Meriden, Warwickshire, recognised geographically as the centre of England. The places they visit and the people they meet who live within the rural community represent aspects of contemporary rural society where the economic, social and cultural changes to the nature of work mean that traditional ways of life in the countryside are slowly evolving. The duo are making a new series of images in the West Midlands to add to previous studies made across different areas of Europe. This will extend the body of work in terms of location, but also offer a chance to engage with particular aspects of the region, including the contemporary representation of the rural idyll in a contemporary multi-cultural, digital society. The project is centred on the production of a photographic document of individuals, social groups and their rural contexts. The work will reflect differing facets of rural life and take account of both its traditional and contemporary aspects.

The project as a whole explores a sense of individual and collective experience set within shifting economic, social and cultural conditions. The people and the places in the images represent contemporary rural societies, where, for example, changes to the nature of work, and the increasing economic importance of leisure, culture and the arts mean that traditional ways of life are slowly evolving.

Image Credit: The Anthology Of Rural Life, by Oliver Udy & Colin Robins.

11 02 2020

Polly Braden

Polly Braden is a documentary photographer whose work features an ongoing conversation between the people she photographs and the environment in which they find themselves. Highlighting the small, often unconscious gestures of her subjects, Polly particularly enjoys long-term, in depth collaborations that in turn lends her photographs a unique, quiet intimacy. Polly has produced a large body of work that includes not only solo exhibitions and magazine features, but most recently four books: Adventures in the Lea Valley (Hoxton Mini Press, 2016), Great Interactions: Life with Learning Disabilities and Autism (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2016), Out of the Shadows: The Untold Story of People with Autism or Learning Disabilities (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2018) alongside writer Sally Williams, and London’s Square Mile: A Secret City (Hoxton Mini Press, 2019.)

Polly is making new work in Shropshire and Warwickshire in collaboration with single mothers. Through photographs and interviews she will highlight the actual lived experience of austerity and particularly universal credit, on single mothers, working in low paid jobs whilst bringing up children. Her work is based on collaboration and representation and will advocate for other women. Polly’s research looks at the economic impact of government policy that has created hardship and injustices. The women she works with will be shown as hero’s not victims. They are photographed full of life, with their children, using small gestures and intricacies to highlight bonds and female strength.

Caption: Lindsey. From the book Out of the Shadows: the Untold Story of People with Autism or Learning Disabilities. By Polly Braden

07 02 2020

Sam Laughlin

Sam Laughlin is a British visual artist whose recent practice is primarily concerned with intricate natural processes. Mainly utilising large format black and white photography, his work is characterised by its slowness, taking the form of long term projects intended primarily for exhibition.

Laughlin’s work has most recently been exhibited at Jerwood Space, Impressions Gallery, John Hansard Gallery and Towner Art Gallery. In 2015 Laughlin was commissioned by John Hansard Gallery to create work over a 4 year period. In 2017 he received the Jerwood/Photoworks Award.

Sam will walk the length of the West Midlands region in one trip, starting in the Wye Valley and Herefordshire and walking north to the Staffordshire Moorlands and Peak District. He will make work that explores the conflicting political, economic and social influences behind rural land management in the west midlands area, focussing on the ways in which these influences are manifested in the physical landscape, and the resulting effect on biodiversity.

Habitat loss, whether due to intensive farming practices, forestry, or housing development, is one of the most significant factors driving the global mass extinction event which is currently underway. A recently published report from the WWF revealed that humans have caused the loss of 60% of wild animals globally since 1970. This number was 50% just four years ago. These startling figures represent a global trend, but one with local causes rooted in our expectations of individual landscapes; what they should provide for us and where we view their value in an age of expanding consumption.

This is not a traditional approach to landscape but a visual language which embraces abstraction and ambiguity to engage viewers in questioning around the processes by which landscapes are shaped and altered. The works will be produced using medium format black and white film.

Image Credit: Deer browse-line (various species) from the series A Certain Movement, by Sam Laughlin

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