Online MA photographers' work on show
Combining a career with study can be a tough balancing act, and for many photographers the idea of pursuing a further qualification is just a pipe dream.
One solution is to take an online course, and some of the latest graduates from the online MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography course at the London College of Communications are currently showing their work at the Hotshoe Gallery.
The show, Here and Now: Recent Recordings, includes projects set on an island in the Indian Ocean, Haiti and a village in the south of England. The 10 exhibitors are based around the globe, drawn together by the online course, through which they have found their own voice and successfully used the medium of photography to pursue stories and compose lyrical bodies of work.
The course itself is conducted online over two years and aims to help professionals and those hoping to enter the profession push their work to a new level. Weekly seminars are held online by the course tutors and other leading photographers and academics and the group also make use of social media, blogs and Skype to stay in touch.
Among those showing there work are Alice Smeets, Unicef Photographer of the Year, James Morgan runner up Travel Photographer of the year (whose project on sea nomads you can see in a previous BBC article) and Claudius Schulze a nominee of the World Press Photo Joop Masterclass.
Here's a small selection of the work on show:
Ivy Lahon: The country over my shoulder
Ivy's work is a series of portraits presented as diptychs that explore ethnic identity within a community of South Asian teenagers living in London. She said: "It is a personal exploration of how feelings of belonging and collective notions of home may be passed from generation to generation". The online course allowed Ivy to work whilst developing her photography to MA level, something that otherwise she would not have been able to do.
Amelia Shepherd: Peacehaven in III Parts
Amelia's work portrays the town of Peacehaven, in East Sussex, on the south coast of England and combines new, archive and donated photographs to explore narratives of past and present creating a compelling social document. In relation to the online nature of the course Amelia said: "Interacting with a diverse community of photographers around the world informed and developed my practice greatly."
Daniel Cuthbert: Disappearing cultures and tradition: The Bushmen
Daniels series on the Bushmen of South Africa is typical of his style and was published by us earlier this year. I asked him about the online nature of the course, he said: "Overall the online concept worked out well. I've worked on similar projects, where collaboration was done with people I've never met and it didn't go as smoothly as this did. Maybe it's down to the maturity of those involved and the excellent support from Paul Lowe and John Easterby (the tutors), but I really did feel it allowed me to be located anywhere and still receive feedback on where I was going wrong and how to make my stories better.
"The course won't automatically mean you have loads of offers of work when you finish, what it does is polish your style. You have exposure to amazing photographers and those involved in the industry and the name does open doors."
Alice Smeets: Haiti Stories; Look, listen and feel the heartbeat of Haiti
Alice's pictures from Haiti are fairly well known and though she acknowledges the harsh realities of life there her work captures what she says is "the dignity and pride of the everyday lives of Haitians." The pictures were taken over three years and draws you in. Her working method involves intense study of the subject and you can see the influence of her one time mentor Philip Jones-Griffths in her and desire to use the camera to bring about change.
Claudius Schulze: Socotra - The idea of an island
Claudius' photographs explore the island of Socotra which is set in the middle of the Indian Ocean and is he says: "one of the most bizarre, remote, magic and fascinating islands in the world."
Greg Laychak: Fading voices
Greg Laychak's project depicts the lives of some of the remaining victims of South Korea's time as a Japanese colony.
Yolanda Crisp: Ringway
Yolanda's pictures were taken whilst exploring London's North and South Circular roads. The series entitled Ringway explores the environment on the periphery and the psychological effect of the road on the surrounding terrain. She said: "One of the attractions of the part-time online course was the freedom of not having to be tied to one particular location."
Here and Now: Recent Recordings can be seen at the Hotshoe Gallery in London until 24 May 2011.