The winners of British Journal of Photography's International Photography Award 2016 on how the award has helped them become two of the most talked-about photographers of their generation on the European photography scene.
After graduating from a BA course in photography from the London College of Communication, Juno Calypso wanted to find a way to put her ideas into practice.
“I wanted to step it up and do an adult series,” she says.
“I realised I was interested in celebrating the cliches of femininity. Instead of saying that women are stupid for valuing weddings and honeymoons, and dismissing the idea they’re going to be happy ever after, I wanted to look at the rituals and aesthetics of it. I wanted to have my own honeymoon.”
Searching online, Calypso found an American honeymoon hotel in rural Pennsylvania. She posed as a travel writer, convincing the hotel to let her have free range of each suite. The hotel had a heart-shaped bath surrounded by mirrors, and a circular bed under an expansive skylight. Calypso saved up, booked the flights and went, with a suitcase of wigs and wedding lingerie, for a week.
The resulting series helped Calypso come to the attention of Bruno Ceschel, founder of Self Publish, Be Happy, the independent publishing company based out of Dalston, the district in Hackney where Calypso was raised.
Ceschel was a judge on The British Journal of Photography’s International Photography Award, which awarded its top prize to Calypso. The award resulted in a exhibition at the respected TJ Boulting gallery in Fitzrovia, London.
Few series, particularly a series made by a recent graduate still in her mid-twenties, has been shared as far and wide as Juno’s honeymoon work. It made the cover of Foam magazine’s prestigious talent issue and The Financial Times magazine during Photo London, was exhibited at Flowers Gallery, New York and gained her representation by a major London gallery.
The show has given Juno the opportunity to create a second chapter to the series. Juno has recently completed a second trip to Pennsylvania, combined with self-portraits taken in her bedroom in her mother’s house in Dalston – the room in which she was born, in 1989.
“I developed a really good relationship with Hannah Watson” – the curator of TJ Blouting – “throughout the process of working on the exhibition together,” Calypso says. “She went the extra mile to make exhibition more than just pictures on the wall. She gave me the opportunity to run free with it.”
“I’ve been busy since winning the IPA. I haven’t had to reach out to anyone. Everything I’m doing now has flown directly from the exposure I got from winning that exhibition. I got given so many business cards that evening, and suddenly curators and journalists and exhibitors have been getting in touch with me. I’m sure it came from the IPA.”
Felicity Hammond graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2014, with a developing series focusing on the changing architecture of London – how the buildings, new and old, express a fundamental change in the very fabric of the city, and how the purpose of such structures shifts the psycho-geographic identity of a place.
Working somewhere between photography and sculpture, Hammond photographs digitally-manipulated images of property developers’ materials, printing them directly onto mouldable acrylic sheets, which become, in a process of alchemy, large scale, sculptural objects.
After Hammond won the IPA single image, she gained a series of articles in prestigious arts publications. AnOther magazine wrote of Felicity: “The work is a comment on simulated imagery, construction and capitalist development in cities around the world.”
While the art and design website It’s Nice That wrote of her: “Taking the eerie two-dimensional faux-utopias and making them physical and warped.”
Felicity Hammond says of her career: “Since winning the IPA award, I have been nominated for the ING Unseen Talent Award, and also Foam Talent in Amsterdam. These nominations came from being able to gain a huge amount of exposure for my work through the award.
“I have also since worked with Self Publish be Happy on a performance work at Tate Modern, and had a commission from Photoworks UK for House Festival Brighton. Upcoming, I have a group show in Berlin, and a solo show at Space in Between, London.”
For more information and to enter the award, visit here.
The closing date for entries is Sunday 20th November 2016.