Best Degree Show Work 2007: Photography
In the September issue of CR (out next week) we devote six pages to the best work from the recent college degree shows. But we're also going to feature some of the great work we saw, here on the blog. We have a large selection of graphic design, advertising, typography and illustration work to come but – first up – photography.
It can be a challenge to come up with something really original when photographing wildlife. Here, Martin McMillan of Salisbury College employed an interesting close-up perspective to capture the following exotic birds: a hornbill (above), a toucan and a scarlet macaw. A birds' eye view, you might say.
Rebecca Ayre's intruiging landscapes are made up of digital composites of a range of found photographs and postcards. The series, entitled Nostalgia, derives from Ayre's research into memory and recollection, both personal and collective, and the significance of imagination within this process. "I am very interested in how photography stimulates our ability to remember and also forget," she says. "I am concerned with how it is used, both personally and culturally, as a confirmation of a particular time and place; considering, particularly in a contemporary visual culture, we understand that photography can be a deceptive and an often inaccuarate medium. Because of the nature of the composite process, the images do not depict any one place, but many, representing a collective nostalgia we hold as a culture for our personal experiences."
Steve Poxson's Abnormal Beauty series combined repeated images of conventionally beautiful things (flowers, butterflies) juxtaposed with less typically attractive objects, including hearts and various other types of offal. The combined, strongly patterned effect, however, is quite striking.
Sveinung Skaalnes, a Norwegian student graduating from UCCA Farnham showed some great work at Free Range. Shown here are some images from Skaalnes' Pictures of Odd book which features a particularly dapper (and energetic) old guy.
Stefan Johnson, graduating Nottingham Trent University, showed a series of images from his Slavic Stories book project – shot in three cities in north east Europe: Lviv, Gdansk and Kaunas – at his degree show. "The book's three chapters, each of which represents a city, contain three short stories, that emerge from a narrative formed by one central character," says Johnson. "The stories, which are all based on true events are not relatively spectacular or extravagant; their purpose is not to sensationalise the life of the given character, but to assert the wealth of history amongst these peoples and places. The images, consisting predominantly of cityscapes, act seemingly as a direct illustration of the stories, photographically presenting areas in which they took place. However, the role of the images change significantly as the stories unfold. The aesthetics, which perhaps meet stereotypes of this region of Europe, are lost and the viewer can appreciate the history of these roads, buildings and characters."
And finally, a CR favourite: Ignacio Santa María's Diorama series of images from a reptile house. Santa Maria is a graduate of the new photography strand of Saint Martins' MA communication design course. "The Diorama series is a result from an ongoing photography project concerning artificial or man-made environments, which aims to show how a representation of reality can be re-represented," says Santa María.
Check out the forthcoming September issue of CR for more photography students as well as the best work from 2007's illustration, type, graphic design and advertising degree shows.
Over the next few weeks on the blog, we'll also feature a range of great projects from some of the illustration, advertising and graphic design graduates who really impressed us.
A CR favourite? - They've just taken photographs of the reptile house at London Zoo! I'm sorry, but the creative input of these photographs is nowhere near that of the others in this post. Furthermore, even the framing of the shots wasn't down to the photographer, it has been dictated by the square frame of the glass viewing window in the enclosure! And the description of the concept reaks of meaningless twoddle that was an afterthought in an attempt to give these photos some type of importance. A clear attempt to pull the wool over people's eyes.
I don't usually comment on here, but that really annoyed me.
On reflection, I think I was a little too harsh on the photographs, but, having said that, I can't apologise for my gut reaction to them.
I would tend to agree with your first reaction, Jon. These animal images are out of step with the others and frankly feel like a cop out. I could've imagined shooting these birds in some fairly interesting ways... for instance in extreme closeup to focus on textures or patterns that would scarcely look like something from the natural world. What was delivered here, feels rushed and it annoyed me as well.
On a more positive note,Rebecca's work is the clear standout in my opinion.
*I loved the birds actually.
The photos of the birds were quite striking, in my opinion, as well as those in the "Abnormal Beauty" series.
However I have to agree that those pictures taken of the reptile enclosures seem laughable to me. I can only notice a hint of effort in the last one, with the bottle and cigarettes present, trying to make some kind of statement... or maybe I'm trying to hard, and someone just left their garbage behind? XD
I agree that the reptile pics are unconventional even by the existing 'unconevntional standards'. But aren't they also beautifully reflective about the medium of Photography itself? A Diorama being compressed into 2D and enclosed further into a frame! It twice removes a situation from reality thus forcing you to evoke your notions about what is real,at a time when the same is being forced to evolve continously. I am not sure what the artist intended by this, but I feel it can't be something else.
Also please check out Debbie Carlos' beautiful series aptly titled 'Human Nature' at http://www.hellogirlfriend.com/
Just manged to track the artist.
Check out http://www.macd2007.com/author.asp?ID_Cont=18
A CR favourite? - They’ve just taken photographs of the reptile house at London Zoo! I’m sorry, but the creative input of these photographs is nowhere near that of the others in this post. Furthermore, even the framing of the shots wasn’t down to the photographer, it has been dictated by the square frame of the glass viewing window in the enclosure! And the description of the concept reaks of meaningless twoddle that was an afterthought in an attempt to give these photos some type of importance. A clear attempt to pull the wool over people’s eyes.
I don’t usually comment on here, but that really annoyed me.
- Completely agree.
Stefan and Steve's works are far stronger in my opinion. Stefan's are incredibly atmostpheric.
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