Friday, 15 June 2012

University of Westminster BA Photography degree show

Last night was the private view of University of Westminster’s BA Photography degree show at Free Range in the Truman’s Brewery on Brick Lane. I worked on the bar for the first hour, realising a long held intrigue with being behind the bar rather than in front of it. I came back to see the show again in the quiet of the morning, along with shows from other colleges in the galleries next door. The Westminster show always feels a weighty affair and this year lightness was in short supply. A preponderance of work showcasing family illness, death and disease. A few more laughs would have been welcome - ironic ones even. It's a big show but missing some of previous year's prints of epic scale and quality, but still there’s much to intrigue, and as with music, some take time to grow into awareness. 
Three works that stuck with me. Edward Shaw’s topological portraits of trees in London parks shot on infra red film - the one big print on the wall alongside large, landscape format book. It’s quaintly old fashioned and yet satisfying in the circular scope of its remit. Council housing is an attractive proposition to photograph and flickr is a good starting point, take a look at and The Heygate estate at the Elephant and Castle has been done by every Tom, Dick and Harry – but Brendon Fraser’s work has a light touch both in composition and display, and yet I want it to say more – for it to be THE defining epic statement on photographing the Heygate. Having said that I think it might have been done (although in a different sense and for the whole Elephant and Castle) in Home from Home by Eva Sajovic in 2010. Ultimately it’s probably the fact that I didn’t have a go at it myself – though I do have some old snaps from when I used to visit my mate Steve on the 7th floor of Kingshill… 
But the piece that stays is Children have to go to school… adults go wherever they want by Lauren Lees, humble on the wall it makes most sense as a book. Lauren works collaboratively with children shooting a disposable film a week with minimum directorial input – it really feels, as the photographer steps out of the way, like it’s uncovering something vitally interesting through the images and texts of life lived at the age of ten. Other works to enjoy are Aredi Lambrechts urban landscapes, Sunhil Shah’s Uganda Stories, Veronika Abrandt and Katherina Dressel’s Robinson-esque journey down the river Lea and Sherry Cutler’s Traumascapes using authentic crime scene photographs. This year more than ever before I can actually imagine showing some of my work at the degree show in 2014 – in fact I’m almost looking forward to it!

No comments:

Post a Comment