It can be tough breaking into an industry known for its dog-eat-dog reputation, but a good attitude goes a long way – as long as its accompanied by talent. Based between Exeter and London, 22-year-old photographer Harry Cooke is taking on the fashion world with an open spirit, a sharp eye, and a pinch of salt. “The fashion industry is a weird one – I am always hearing stories of bad experiences,” says the Arts University Bournemouth graduate. “But I always think the concepts, teams and shoots that I put together are relaxed and fun. Taking life too seriously is a dangerous thing, and that’s what I aim to bring to the world of fashion. Goodbye seriousness!”
The 22 year-old has shot Poundbury and Milton Keynes, among others, to pick out how we shape the environment – and how it then shapes us. “I quickly realised the importance of human presence within these urban environments; how we change them over time and how the environment changes us.”
“The work that I make tends to comment on contemporary issues that disproportionately affect young people,” says Ollie Ma’, whose big projects to date were inspired by Grand Theft Auto and Adam Curtis
From vacant parking lots to intimate street portraits via expansive stretches of the Mojave Desert, the Las Vegas of Jack Minto’s project, Maryland Parkway, is somewhat unfamiliar. Bypassing the glitzy lights, flamboyant buildings and raging commerce that characterise the famous Strip, the 21-year-old photographer turns his lens on a nondescript parallel road, two miles east of the action and home to many “misplaced” local residents, in a bid to expose the harsh reality of a city divided by economic inequality.
The September issue brings the otherwise invisible into sharp focus. Invisible World explores forgotten conflicts, intimate retreats, abused landscapes and remote islands to uncover the hidden realities and unknown societies behind ordinary backdrops. “As social beings, we all demand to be seen,” says Hoda Afshar, whose latest series, Behold, takes us to an exclusive male-only bathhouse. Her point resonates with all the photoseries explored in this issue: how do we negotiate our surroundings, how do we see our societies, how do we interpret our world? We need to first see the invisible to answer these ever salient questions.
For over four decades, the documentary photography course has forged a reputation as one of the UK’s leading photography teaching destinations. In fact, the very first photography class can be dated back even further to 1912, when it was introduced by the head of the school of art at Newport Technical Institute. The course, however, was set up in 1973 by Magnum photographer David Hurn as a 12-month Training Opportunities Scheme to ‘re-skill’ miners and steelworkers.
In the Middle Ages, it was widely believed that pandemics, such as plague and cholera, were caused by breathing in impure air, poisoned by decaying matter. Now, Polish-born Gosia Cwiech has decided to resuscitate the obsolete hypothesis in a series which explores the contemporary, post-truth framework.
The classic British butterfly house acts as the backdrop to Alexander Mourant’s Aurelian, an evocative study of the passing of time and the slippery nature of memory. “These hot, artificial environments are used through the work to probe the nature of experience, such as an assembly point, or an artist’s studio, as an envisioned idea where time is not absolute but continuously contained and all-encompassing,” says the 23-year-old, who recently graduated from Falmouth University.
From the dimly-lit back alleys of Belfast, right into the interiors of its inhabitants’ homes, Chad Alexander’s graduation project Entries takes us on a reflective journey through the streets where he grew up. The 27-year-old first picked up a camera after seeing an exhibition that combined scenes of the Northern Ireland conflict with vignettes of daily life; he has since been developing his own take on documentary in this series. “It was work that I had always wanted to make, but until that point I wasn’t exactly sure how to approach it,” he explains.
“I try to use photography to investigate the aspects of my family life that have been deliberately set aside,” says Thomas Duffield. His final-year project, The whole house is shaking, pays tribute to an idyllic childhood on a small farm on the outskirts of Leeds, while simultaneously confronting a darker enclave of family history. Composed from small details of everyday life and portraits of his mother, sister and grandfather, the project also dwells on his father’s clandestine heroin addiction, hidden from the children while they were growing up.