Loupe’s first exhibition launches this Wednesday, sharing the work of 11 emerging photographers selected from our open call by a panel of industry professionals, and curated by our own Sarah Goad. Through the generous support of both Creative Hub and Brick Lane Gallery, we were able to launch the open call and resulting exhibition entirely free of charge, meaning that students and recent grads could enter without restriction. The quality and quantity of work submitted was overwhelming, and the final selection is outstanding. Information about the opening night can be found here.
I had a quick chat with 2 of the winners, to hear more about the work they’re presenting at Another Graduate Show. First up is Megan Winstone, who had an image selected from her series Lily of the Valley.
Interview by Harry Flook –
Harry Flook: What was the motivation for shooting Gina Tonic in The Lily of the Valley?
Megan Winstone: I love Gina’s writing and what she represents regarding body positivity. Gina and I are from similar villages in the South Wales Valleys and we’re both big girls. We have similar stories of what it’s like being fat and Welsh, so we put this in motion in creating Lily of the Valley, representing Valleys life and it’s thriving community.
HF: The work is a kind of collaboration between you, Gina and the stylists. Can you talk about how collaborating changed your approach and style?
MW: It takes a village! For a shoot this special, collaboration is key. I’ve been working with stylist, Charlotte Wilcock, for a while and we were dying to do a shoot in the Valleys, so Charlotte sourced specific looks from designers who make plus size clothing and styled Gina in looks that relate to the narrative and the location, whether that be a bedroom or my grans’ garden. Also in my team was Paisley Thompson-Bailey, whose an insanely talented make up artist and assistants Bella Ross & Yushy, who were incredibly helpful by doing tasks that I wouldn’t think of doing, offering ideas, taking BTS shots and an endless supply of coffee. Location sourcing was a collaborative effort as it was all shot in my village, Abercynon, so with the community it took a lot of asking around if we could use their shop windows, going to my hairdressers and shooting in the Fish Bar whilst getting lunch for the team.
HF: There seem to be so many great young photographers coming out of Wales, and a lot of work about Wales, at the moment. I’ve noticed a few collectives pop up, and the Uni’s are making a lot of noise. I’m interested to hear your take on it?
MW: Wales has always had a strong documentary alumni with it’s popular course at University of South Wales, taught by Paul Reas, Lisa Barnard and overseen by David Hurn. There are a number of collectives in Cardiff, I’m an Advisory Board member for PHRAME, which is a new collective focusing on supporting active and emerging diverse photographers in South Wales, set up by Celia Rose Jackson and Lisa Edgar, both powerful photo theorists working in Cardiff. I’m very happy that these opportunities are coming about as historically it’s been difficult to work in Wales due to lack of access to arts workshops and diverse artist groups. There is currently a lot of change in the city centre where spaces are being uprooted and pop ups are encouraged, however we need more permanent fixtures within the Welsh arts scene.
HF: What are you working on now?
MW: I will be finishing my Masters with a project I can’t reveal just yet, but I promise to show it you when it’s finished. Continuing working with Charlotte on more shoots with exciting narratives in Wales.
HF: Of the other winners of Another Graduate show , whose work is your favourite?
MW: I love Anna Perger’s portrait, it’s so dreamy and dark.
HF: Thanks for your time and insight, and well done on getting selected, we’re really excited to share the work!
Harry Flook is a photographer, writer, and educator working at Hereford College of Arts, alongside writing and editing for Loupe magazine. You can follow his work and words at www.harryflook.com