Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to be selected for feature in the very first downloadable zine released by Photograd.
‘Photograd is an online platform documenting the journey of photography
graduates from UK based courses. Photograd’s aim is to showcase,
support, and encourage both older and more recent graduates, and provide
an incentive to continue making work which we feel can become lost post
university.’ - taken from the Photograd website.
Alongside 13 other photographers, my series A Farmer & His Dogs and the other works were selected by Photograd due to their relation to the topic of Brexit. Assisting Melissa Belton (Manager and Founder of Photograd) with selections, curation and interviews was an excellent team consisting of Joanne Coates, Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz, Tom Coleman, Chloe Juno, and Brendan Barry.
The work encompasses many of the issues surrounding the topic of Brexit, demonstrating personal, observational and conceptual accounts of it’s expectedly international effects. With a widespread focus on various subjects, both specific and more generalised; many of the photographers have felt or witnessed the ripples throughout society that merely discussions have caused - the actuality of Brexit and it’s denotations are yet to unfold.
There are plans to release a second edition of this downloadable zine, with a printed edition possibly set to be released further down the line.
This project focuses on one farmer’s relationship with his land, and how he is able to make a living from it. Today, British farming is more strained than ever due to mounting pressures in the face of a competing global economy. With the possibility of economic instability onthe horizon, and the uncertainty delivered by the prolonged Brexit discussions, agriculture as an industry (within the UK) will almost certainly have to adapt to a new socio-political environment.
The work portrays this farmer’s struggles to maintain a livelihood within that radically changing industry. Required to negotiate a sea of DEFRA regulations and subsidisation opportunities, he must constantly assess and change his practice to merely survive. Torn between preserving his identity as a fourth-generation sheep farmer in Lancashire - and being forced to develop innovative new income streams just to make ends meet - he must constantly diversify.
Consequently, he has become more an entrepreneur than the traditional notion of a farmer. He works as a sheepdog breeder and trainer and an auctioneer, whilst maintaining a small caravan site that also produces clean energy. Diversification at this point, has become necessary. Tracing the contradictions and dilemmas produced by the complexity of his position, this series documents those aspects of his work that help him to survive. The camera furtively avoids identifying this particular farmer, reflecting that his situation is not inherently unique to himself, but is now a position recognisable across the country.
Referring to the old adage ‘A farmer and his dog’, the title for this work is a
play on the traditions of agriculture and farming, alluding to the ways in
which this farmer has adapted his practice. As this diversification process becomes more
widespread, and tradition begins to lose its hold in an increasingly modernised
industry; it seemed fitting to adapt the old saying into the title for this ‘pilot’ series.
I am currently working to expand this series into a larger, broader work covering more issues within the agricultral industry as a whole - keep your eyes peeled for more or get in touch if you think you can help!
As part of our final module during our third year at university, we were given the opportunity to get involved in the Source Graduate Online portfolio.
The platform is run by Source Photographic Review, hosting work from graduates across the country. It provides a space for emerging photographers to showcase their work under the name of a reputable organisation straight out of university, levelling the playing field in terms of displaying work.
Work is shown uniformly across the site, separated into collections per university and then into each project, with links to the photographer’s relevant social media platforms or website included included. The submission process involves the appointment of a single course representative, who deals with gathering information and work from all applicants before the deadline. From my experience, this encourages positive pressure between peers to get work ready for submission, or at least to a presentable state. Submitting to the Graduate Online portfolio also forces applicants to be selective with their work, enforcing a maximum number of images where they may be required to omit pictures from work that belongs to a wider series.