Scholarship photography exemplars - 2017

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Outstanding Scholarship

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Panel 1 (JPG, 1006KB)

Panel 2 (JPG, 1005KB)

Panel 3 (JPG, 864KB)

Entire Folio (JPG, 2.7MB)

Sample Workbook pages

Sample page 1 (JPG, 4.9MB)

Sample page 2 (JPG, 5.1MB)

Sample page 3 (JPG, 4.6MB)

Sample page 4 (JPG, 5.4MB)

Sample page 5 (JPG, 5.4MB)

Sample page 6 (JPG, 5.2MB)

Sample page 7 (JPG, 5.3MB)

Sample page 8 (JPG, 5.4MB)

This Photography Outstanding Scholarship submission presents a thoughtful and rigorous enquiry underpinned by ‘two pivotal events’ that the candidate identifies as the starting point for what is a rich and lateral photographic journey – that being their introduction to the philosophy of existentialism and the concurrent passing of their Grandma. Together, these form the central contexts for the practice and position the project focus: the notion of time and how it determines (our) existence.

The overarching proposition operates on a dual platform; philosophical and personal linked to subject matter, concept and context. It all stems from a comprehensive essay that the candidate himself wrote about existentialism, along with the experience of witnessing his Grandma’s passing, further positioning the ephemeral as the means to explore time, life and death.

The visual research (through practice) is outstanding and strongly locates a sense of ownership and enquiry from the outset. Using themselves as the figure in the work in various states of ‘being’ is an important symbolic framing (postured, sleeping, transforming, holding, lifting, walking). The figure plays a performative role in unpacking the candidate’s thoughts into a series of profound sequences and mesmerising imagery.

Sequencing occurs as passages of time and is methodically employed throughout to advance the conceptual; short filmic-like narratives depict the durational aspect of time passing. The staging of these studies is calculated and highlights the critically thoughtful way that this candidate goes about making artwork. For example, the 5-figure self-portrait ("symbolic of our own ephemerality”) and the 5 daffodils ("physical transformation over time”) successfully operate as a dual narrative time sequence, and potentially could be one work.

Subject matter is treated materially through the durational aspects of the making – the artworks often utilise lengthy photographic chemical processes or are recorded over time, e.g. photographs taken every six hours within a 24-hr cycle. This is clever conceptualisation using process as a present component in the work. A variety of cameras and photographic processes have been applied to specifically address the core concepts of ephemera and time. These include working between different formats: black and white 35mm and 120mm film photography, sandwiched negatives, multiple exposures, pinhole long exposures, sequencing, chemical staining (darkroom experimentation). The aesthetics these processes bring, reflect the emotive tone of the photographs; being there and not being there (existing and not existing) like in the folio panel 3 sequence where the boulder remains permanent in the frame and the figure transient.

Technical aspects in support of the conceptual are also reinforced by compositional devices and strategies that are essentially performative in nature, such as the stretched to bent figure, where flowers transform from a live state to dead, where the clock and television reflect light onto each other’s surface until the TV becomes black and the clock illuminated, in the vertical strip sequence where the actual clock hands are removed and the human hands slowly become the clock hands, and within the single image as the iterative figure enters the ocean and literally merges into the ocean (and in the candidate’s words, where he accepts his own and others existence).

The continual layered and lateral play is indicative of a complex and focused photographic project that relentlessly seeks out answers to questions that engage in ‘big' concepts and sophisticated territory at this level.

(click icon images to see a large version in a new window)

Panel 1 (JPG, 1MB)

Panel 2 (JPG, 1.1MB)

Panel 3 (JPG, 1004KB)

Entire Folio (JPG, 3MB)


This Photography Scholarship submission presents a concept-led enquiry that explores a future dystopia and its effects upon humanity. The candidate does this by creating a storyline based in a futuristic urban environment, setting the scene with images of interior and exterior human-built structures that are monumental in nature (and which appear to be thriving). The folio work is ultimately a journey of destruction, where the environmental effects upon the world and human beings have taken hold – this plot is communicated through a series of ‘cause and effect’ and aftermath scenarios.

The workbook demonstrates wide-ranging research – from personal experience, artistic and filmic references (Doomsday clock), air pollution in places like London (the ‘Big Smoke’) and Beijing. This research is used as the backdrop for creating imagery which is direct and monumental, evidencing strong clarity of purpose and level of ownership on the part of the candidate. The workbook affirms the reading of the work on the folio – the colour scheme, city environment and experiential aspects of dystopia are all discussed in relation to the picture making strategies employed.

The enquiry follows a linear narrative – this is well-considered and controlled via sequencing, compositional shifts between urban landscape and figure field relationships, portrait and still-life (Vanitas), panoramic and wide shots. A range of image making processes are explored alongside these photographic conventions; street photography, studio photography, double exposure, Photoshop manipulation. The candidate moves fluidly between all of these approaches to embed a palpable enactment of the effects of environmental degradation (dystopian affect).

The limited colour palette of predominantly black and white and the (saturated) red effectively positions the drama and trauma of the proposed scenario. Colour is treated as an active symbolic device to signify various states of trauma, such as the red overlay on the smog, cellophane suffocating the figure with mask, the silhouette defending itself in the urban environment. ‘Red’ in this instance is representative of a changing life energy and of trying to survive pollutants; red is the colour of blood, smoke, atmosphere, emotion, fear and loss.

Sequencing is well-used to set up the effects of dystopia. Short action sequences depict a figure caught in a number of controlled and reactionary states – expressed through well-staged emotive gestures and movements. A sense of drama is captured through scale interplay, close-ups versus portraits, cityscape versus objects and the use of fading, emergence, silhouette and studio tableaux. The shift between subject and ‘feeling’ is well-handled throughout the folio with repetitive devices such as the monolithic form (building, figure, body) acting as a constant motif and signifier of the helplessness of the dystopian state.Overall, this is a solid conceptual photographic engagement that is both inventive and thoughtfully realised.* Note; there are no photographs of the workbook for 38712. 

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