Photographing Northumbrian rural residents sharing their working space combines empirical research with a contemporary photographic practice. Building relationships with participants and gathering first-hand audio accounts of experiences develops realistic and genuine context for the photography. Previous research has led me to define two interdependent areas of interest. One is the idea of a genuine representation of the subject where narrative develops with the benefit of their direct input. The other is the role of the photographer in this representation, and the aligned responsibilities and ethics around aesthetics, dissemination and future archival interests of the work. The rural inhabitant is observed by the visitor to Northumberland who is often a ‘tourist of reality’ arriving with modern misperceptions of the rural as an idyllic, restorative place. Traditional representations of the rural depict an idyll which overlooks economic and social challenges exacerbated by geographic rurality. This work considers the working space of the rural as a working landscape, establishing a more realistic version of rural life bringing forward a series of complex interrelated issues in representing Northumbrian rural communities. It raises urgent social issues which have been given almost no voice in a world of globalised attitudes. The work combines the photographic image with other digital media and dissemination seeking to establish ways to develop a progressive, evolving collection of photographs and multimedia sequences representing modern day working life in rural Northumberland. This method of presentation shifts the emphasis from seeing the photographs as aestheticised illustrations or historical documents to being understood as a record of people. This work can go some way to bridge the gap between the rural inhabitant and the urb, the tourist and the host community and offer rural communities a sense of ownership over their heritage.
CV & Education
February 2013 – Mimeses North, The Shed, Haltwhistle Northumberland.
A collective exhibition 'Merge’
October 2013 – Mimeses North, The Design Centre, Sunderland
‘Merge’ A collective exhibitionof new work in partnership with North East Photography Network during their ‘The Social – Encountering Photography’
November 2012 – Mimeses North, Priestman Building, University of Sunderland
A collective MA Graduation exhibition with 9 contributors.
November 2011 – Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, ‘Civic’. An outdoor and indoor exhibition of billboard and poster art across 3 galleries and commercial billboard space, with over 260ft of original artwork on display.
October 2011 – Vardy Gallery, Sunderland, ‘Common Ground’ Collective exhibition with 10 photographers from all over the world.
August 2010 – Bellingham Heritage Centre, Northumberland. Solo exhibition ‘In Our Back Yard’ an exhibition of 16 images of forestry and foresters in the North Tyne Valley.
April 2010 – F-Stop Gallery, Newcastle. Solo exhibition ‘In our Back Yard’. An exhibition of 16 images , forestry and foresters in the North Tyne Valley
July 2009 – Mandela House, Newcastle College, FdA student final show, an exhibition of farriery in rural Northumberland.
Royal Photographic Society, Associate Membership.
2010 – 2012 MA Photography, (Distinction) University of Sunderland.
Practice led research photographing people in rural working communities in Northumberland observing the social effects of economic changes and the evolving conversation between the tourist and the host community.
2009 - 2010 BA (Hons) Creative Practice (2:1) (Newcastle College), Leeds Metropolitan University
Practice led research working with Northumbrian foresters observing the social impact of industrial changes and the growth of leisure activity in Northumbrian forested areas.
2007 – 2009 FdA Commercial Photographic Practice, (Newcastle College), Leeds Metropolitan University (Distinction)
Previous research has led me to define two interdependent areas of interest. One is the idea of a genuine representation of the subject where narrative develops with the benefit of their direct input. The other is the role of the photographer in this representation, and the aligned responsibilities and ethics around aesthetics, dissemination and future archival interests of the work.