Student-led online graduation show features work by students from the school’s BA Photography course.
The Photography Show 2020 features the work of fourteen graduating students from the Photography BA course at the University’s School of Art, Architecture and Design.
The Photography Show 2020, which the students have organized and put online themselves with curatorial support and advice from their tutors, features projects which display a diversity of creative interpretations and subject matter. The work promotes different avenues of photography, extending from still life, to landscapes and portraiture. Most importantly the projects are informed by the critical perspectives that the students are most passionate about, such as race, culture, masculinity, nature, and social issues.
The exhibition was designed before the name of Sir John Cass was removed from the title of the School of Art, Architecture and Design due to his links with the slave trade. The students reacted swiftly to this change, striking through the words ‘Cass’ and ‘Sir John Cass’ on their pre-existing promotional materials and on the landing page adding their own statement to the words of the Vice Chancellor, ‘Many of us were unaware of the nature of the brutal and inhumane source of John Cass’s wealth and his role in developing the Trans Atlantic slave trade. As a group of students we support and applaud the University’s decision.’
Introduction to the Photography Show by Course leader James Cant
This exciting collection shows the fantastic range of critical perspectives and creative photographic practices being adopted by this new generation of image makers graduating from the BA Photography course here at London Met’s School of Art, Architecture and Design. From a series that blurs documentary and fiction to re-examine the Essex Witch Trials to another that considers masculinity and gender stereotypes through dance, the exhibition reflects the diversity in approaches, outcomes and backgrounds that is such a strength of our course.
Many students’ work demonstrates how the personal and political can collide, whether through, considerations of a personal relationships with Christianity and Punk Rock or self-portraits that engage with environmental and social issues to the politics and beauty of hair as part of an Afro Caribbean diasporic identity and highly personal work that uses water and reflection as a metaphor for geographic and cultural displacement and gender identity.
A series that draws on a relationship stretching back to childhood to explore one family’s experience of post-Soviet era rural Latvian life is complemented by another considering the values of Romanian bucolic existence and international rural to urban migration and the sense of disillusionment that can result. This relationship between the rural and urban is also a central feature to work that explores our experiences of the beauty of sunsets while the city as a changing and evolving entity is highlighted through a documentation of the disappearing traditional English pub architecture and culture in the East End of London using both archival and contemporary images.
There are portraits that touch upon the aesthetic of the uncanny and the surreal to question a surveillance society, and images displaying beauty and fragility seen through representations of flowers. The theme of mental health is addressed using constructed self-portraits in which the artist encounters and ultimately engages with her personal demons as well as work that ponders the connection between crystals and our bodies and highlights our individual needs for mindfulness.
I would not only like to congratulate this graduating cohort on their work and their ability to express themselves on subjects of such importance both personally and to others, but also for the great fortitude, good humour and resilience they have shown as they complete their 3 year degree course under the shadow of Coronavirus.
We have all enjoyed working with them and wish them the very best as they set out on the next stages of their creative lives.
Image from Living The Dream (Detail), 2020 by Ania Sto
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