I had a really rewarding day at Plymouth College of Art at the end of April. I was invited to give a talk about my work in the morning and then in the afternoon I had the opportunity to sit down with the 3rd year BA students and discuss their work. I was really impressed with the quality of their projects and enjoyed chatting to the students about their plans, hopes and aspirations. They were a really lovely group and it was great to see how close they all seemed. I look forward to seeing how they progress once they leave the education bubble!
The French Magazine Fisheye have produced a Photobook compiled from Photographers they have showcased over the last couple of years. They have kindly included some of my work in this first edition and I am looking forward to seeing the physical book and all the talented photographers included in it! I think it’s a super idea as I like the notion of buying a book where you have the opportunity to discover lots of different photographers. These compilation books are quite common in other artistic disciplines like Illustration, but not so prevalent within photography, so lets hope that changes. You can buy the book from their website.
Just before Easter I had the pleasure of delivering a lecture to the BA Photography students at Bath University. It always seems quite daunting beforehand trying to fill an hour, but in reality I always end up running out of time! The students were lovely, really engaged and asked lots of questions. In the Afternoon I sat down with several final year students to look at their work and offer some advice. It was a super opportunity to see the different work they were making and their strong personal motivations for the projects.
The final speaker in the New Contemporaries series was Freya Najade. Freya published not one but two books last year, so I was really interested to hear Freya talk about her experience of publishing. Freya gave a super talk and like all the speakers in this series she tailored the lecture perfectly to the audience. I wanted this series to also give the students an insight into the realities of earning a living and working as a photographer. This is something that very rarely gets mentioned in talks, photographers preferring instead to focus on their artistic practices and personal work. It was really interesting to learn that Freya also set up a photography company with her partner Marcela Spadaro, Naaro, which specifically deals with architectural photography. As a recent graduate myself I found the lecture really thought provoking and insightful. It has been a real pleasure to curate this series of talks and that all the speakers delivered such interesting and inspirational lectures was wonderful!
Images © Freya Najade
The fourth speaker in the New Contemporaries series was Lewis Bush. I was slightly sad like many others that Lewis had recently decided to stop writing his Disphotic Blog, but really excited to meet him and hear his talk. Lewis delivered an excellent lecture using his practice to help illustrate the different directions you can take as a photographer. He discussed all the various roles that form his practice, photographer, writer, curator and teacher, highlighting the importance of this diversification. I was particularly interested in his series Shadows of the State which examines the phenomenon of listening stations, originally used during the cold war to broadcast information to spies. It was slightly haunting listening to some of the messages that always contained a string of numbers spoken by a sampled voice. I admired the amount of research and investigation that had gone into discovering the locations of these stations and it rekindled memories of when I was fascinated by similar subject matter.
Images © Lewis Bush from Shadows of the State
The third speaker in the New Contemporaries series was Tereza Zelenkova. I have admired Tereza’s work for some time so it was a pleasure to be able to invite her to talk at Plymouth University. Tereza works predominantly in black and white and her images are often concerned with mythologies around people or places. There are also obvious elements of fiction and storytelling within her work which is a device that I use as part of my own practice. Tereza gave a really interesting and informative talk, discussing several of her projects and the motivations behind her work. It was also a privilege to see several new images from her current series and I look forward to seeing how it develops over the coming years.
A few Sundays ago Jes and I went for a wander near West Bay, Dorset before visiting my parents. Obviously these cliffs are now more widely known due to the ITV series Broadchurch. Though before televisual fame they had been beautifully captured by Jem Southam in his Rockfall series. Jes and I both spent a few happy hours seeing and capturing the same images, apart from the dogs, I got there first!
I invited Max Ferguson the founder editor of Splash & Grab magazine to come and talk to the students as part of the New Contemporaries series. Max gave a really inspiring talk, initially discussing his last major body of photographic work, the poignant‘ WE ARE RWANDAN ‘, which examined the lasting effects of the genocide in 1994. After which he explained how over the last few years his focus had been on publishing, initiating Splash & Grab Magazine with a collective of former UWE students. He discussed the difficulties of publishing, the importance of social media and how creating Splash & Grab had opened up lots of opportunities for him, including working at the FT magazine. His talk was thoughtful, considered and inspiring and hopefully it has left a lasting impression on the students.
David Chandler asked me to curate a series of talks for Plymouth University to run on consecutive Wednesdays in March. The First talk on Wednesday was by Lola Paprocka. Lola set up and runs Palm Studios which showcases photographers and artists through creative projects, online features, exhibitions, events and has its own publishing house and distribution called Palm. Lola gave an open and honest talk to the students about her photographic work, setting up Palm and working with the Independent Photography Festival. She discussed the importance of being proactive and how collaboration with groups and individuals can be really productive. One of my aims for the series was to invite some speakers that the younger students would be able to relate too. So it was great to get some feedback from a student that she really engaged with Lola’s talk because she could relate to her experiences and she also found it helpful that Lola explained how she made work.
Oli Udy, Myself & Lola
I was extremely honoured to talk alongside Swiss photographer Anne Golaz as part of a dialogue day, ‘Rural Deep’ at Plymouth University. It was interesting to see the similarities in our practices and also the distinctions between our methods of working.
‘Rural Deep will feature presentations by two photographic artists whose recent work is concerned with the evolving relationships between people and rural environments in very distinctive, localised contexts in Europe. Combining and juxtaposing different photographic registers in their work, both artists disrupt conventional documentary models to construct new ways of seeing and imagining rural experience. Their rural scenes shift between dark mystery and sunlit pastoral, between the sublime and the banal. Tradition and modernity are often awkwardly aligned, and quotidian reality is undercut by elements of fictional narrative, ambiguity and the absurd. In their different ways, Anne Golaz and Robert Darch present multi-textural visions of rural life, in which age-old rhythms and rituals have taken on new and often surprising meanings and associations.’ David Chandler
It has been a busy couple of weeks for my series, ‘The White Whale’. Now published by Dodho Magazine.
Cargo featured several images from my series Durlescombe.
I spend a lot of time exploring Devon, mainly by car, but also walking and cycling as well. Each mode of transport has their benefits but all allow me the time to think and look.
Devon is a sizeable county and although I have lived here for 9 years now I am still discovering villages, hamlets and corners that provide fresh inspiration. Durlescombe, the series I am currently working on is heavily layered and so often the photographic decisions I make are led by instinct rather than considered thought. The time for consideration is when the work is being edited, it’s at this point that the selection of images is integral in creating the desired narrative and atmosphere I want for Durlescombe. With this series I realise that there is a fine line between stereotyping a place, or wallowing too much in nostalgia. What defines Devon? This a complicated question, as it would be to try and define any region, place, city or country. I am not trying to determine the definitive Devon, in fact the Devon that is portrayed in Durlescombe is just as much a figment of my imagination and a response to childhood memories than a statement of fact or a definition of any real place. However, there are certain constants within the landscape that I believe help define Devon, and when I stumbled across this landscape last weekend it managed to illustrate those elements perfectly. The hills, valley, farmhouse, thatched roof, fields, livestock, river, woods, and the country lane are all aspects that signify Devon for me and to be able to contain them all within a singular frame felt special.
Macula have been working on a series of images in Heavitree Park, Exeter. We had a very atmospheric night a few weeks ago when the park was covered in a thick blanket of fog. I couldn’t resist taking this photo, unashamedly referencing the horror films of my youth.