Best Degree Show Work 2007: Photography

Hornbill by Martin McMillan (Salisbury College)
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, typography and illustration work to come but – first up – photography.

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Hornbill by Martin McMillan (Salisbury College)

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.

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Toucan by Martin McMillan (Salisbury College)

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Scarlet macaw by Martin McMillan (Salisbury College)

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.”

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Mountains by Rebecca Ayre (Nottingham Trent University)

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Stream by Rebecca Ayre (Nottingham Trent University)

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Bridge by Rebecca Ayre (Nottingham Trent University)

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.

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From Abnormal Beauty series by Steve Poxson (Nottingham Trent University)

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Detail from from Abnormal Beauty series by Steve Poxson (Nottingham Trent University)

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From Abnormal Beauty series by Steve Poxson (Nottingham Trent University)

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.

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From Pictures of Odd by Sveinung Skaalnes (UCCA Farnham)

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From Pictures of Odd by Sveinung Skaalnes (UCCA Farnham)

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From Pictures of Odd by Sveinung Skaalnes (UCCA Farnham)

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.”

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Hrebinky Street by Stefan Johnson (Nottingham Trent University)

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Shashkevycha Square by Stefan Johnson (Nottingham Trent University)

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Vyautas Church by Stefan Johnson (Nottingham Trent University)

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.

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From the Diorama series by Ignacio Santa María (Central Saint Martins)

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From the Diorama series by Ignacio Santa María (Central Saint Martins)

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From the Diorama series by Ignacio Santa María (Central Saint Martins)

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.

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