Squeezed up together on a living room sofa, I meet up with young photographers Ida Blom, Jordan Anderson, Catty McCready and Thomas Hofer. They are all final year students from Edinburgh Napier University that are about to graduate after four years studying Photography. I am here to talk to them about their two exciting exhibitions coming up.
FM: Hi guys! Tell me, who is this group of young photographers that I’m about to get to know?
IB: We are a photo collective called The Napier Photo Collective. We have our eyes open for exhibitions and promote each other’s work.
TH: It’s something we inherited from the people who graduated last year. It’s basically a collection of art and craft from people who have graduated from the Napier Photography course and something that we will pass on to the students in the year below us.
FM: How has it been working together for so long? Four years is a long time.
IB: I think we all appreciate it. We are all very creative people and since we are very competitive we always push each other.
JA: Which is a good thing! It keeps us going.
FM: Will you miss working together after graduation?
CM: I will miss the atmosphere we have built up together.
TH: I think you get very used to the environment, you don’t notice how much you interact with the people around you and all the feedback you get. There is always someone around that I can talk to that knows my work and me.
CM: Yeah, I think that is something we all will miss.
FM: How long have you worked on these two upcoming exhibitions?
JA: For about 6-7 months. It feels so exciting to see it all being put together. Finally.
FM: You have your graduation show here in Edinburgh, but then you will also exhibit your work on the Free Range in London. Is there a difference between the two shows?
TH: Well yes, the degree show is something that our University is putting together while the Free Range is something we are organising ourselves because it’s something we want to do. Although the two exhibitions will show the same work, from a psychological aspect the Free Range will feel so much different for us.
FM: Different in what way?
CM: The Free Range in London will be more about getting your name known and your work seen. It feels like a better opportunity for us since London is the centre of Photography here in the UK.
JA: We also have so much more freedom in our London exhibition in terms of how we can view our work and who we would like to come to the exhibition. Because of the limited space we have in our degree show, the Free Range will offer more room for our creativity.
TH: It has been a lot of work behind it. The other Universities who are showing there are getting it organised by their Uni while we had to apply for funding and we put it all together ourselves.
FM: It sounds like you have put a lot of effort and time in to this project. What can we expect and what will we be able to see at your show?
IB: Our group is very diverse when it comes to our art and work. We have been taught so many different ways of taking photos – In our fourth and last year everyone has found their own niche.
JA: You will be able to see everything from portrait, documentary, landscape photography, fashion photography and so on.
CM: At the Free Range we will be one of few groups that come from Scotland. In the first week we will be the only Scottish University showing there, which gives us a slightly different perspective on things compared to the rest of the photographers exhibiting there.
FM: Finally, graduating in a couple of months, are you confidant coming out as fresh meat in the very competitive industry of photography? Do you feel like you have something to contribute as a new artist?
JA: Yes! Experienced photographers tend to pay attention to the new ones to see what themes are rising and what new trends are on the up.
IB: Exactly. But even though we have a lot of people working within the same field our art looks very different from each other’s. We all have very clear styles.
TH: Yeah, I think what’s interesting here is what we have seen from last years graduates and before then, is that a lot of the work that has been picked up and featured has been very constructed and abstract, like colour backgrounds or objects. On some level it has been more about the performance of the object rather than the actual photo. I think what The Napier Photo Collective has is something very different. We have a lot of documentary, a lot of people investigating places and investigating people and themes. This might be something that sets us apart from the rest.
Find the exhibitions here:
Edinburgh 23 May-1 June at Edinburgh Napier University, Merchiston Campus.
London 12- 18 of June at The Old Truman Brewery.
This may be the only time that this diverse and unique group exhibits together, so come along and have a look what the future of photography has to offer.
Written By Freja Malmstedt