Featured here is the work of four young photographers from Suffolk and Norfolk: Tom Allen of Kesgrave High School; Bilal Bounit from Suffolk One, Rose Gant from St Albans High School and Mya Fairweather from Sprowston Community Academy.
The four were selected for the PhotoEast 2018 Young Person’s Fellowship award from among more than 30 entries from students aged 16-19 studying art and photography in the region’s colleges and schools. Each of the students has been mentored by a professional photographer and produced work around the festival theme of belonging. As part of their award, they also have the opportunity of work experience at London photography agency Panos Pictures.
I wanted to explore issues of identity in both the content and presentation of my work. How much of our identity can be distinguished when the face is blurred? How much does body language and the clothes we wear signify who we are? I started with an original image and photographed a range of different people – ages, gender and behavioural characteristics – to create the final piece. The layout of the final presentation was randomly allocated through shuffling the photographs like a ‘pack of cards’, symbolising how everyone is different, everyone is unique in their own way. And that difference is something to cherish. – Mya Fairweather
The series ‘People & places’ takes its inspiration from James Mollison’s ‘Where Children Sleep’. I asked my friends to show me the place in their home where they spend most time. The resulting images give a small insight into their different personalities and the possessions they hold dear. Seen together, the triptychs emphasise the contrast between these individuals and the space they inhabit. Any wider interpretation about who they are will vary depending on the viewer, and their own values and assumptions. – Bilal Bounit
My project is centred around Oak Tree Farm in Rushmere. Oak Tree is a low carbon, sustainable farm, which is open to anyone, regardless of experience,to help work the land and then share the produce they had a part in growing. After reading about the farm I was immediately taken with this pure and natural connection with the landscape and with the community formed there. The portrait and landscape images I have created reflect this: they show the relationship the members of the farm have to the land they work and, more importantly, with the people they share it with. – Tom Allen
The concept for my piece is our connection to the places we come from, drawing on the heritage and origins of three of my friends. There are both physical and digital elements to my final outcome. I began by layering a photo of each person holding a mirror with the flag of their home country. In the mirror I layered a woven fragment of the portrait and the map of the corresponding country. The three physical pieces are presented as a triptych, reflecting the unity of the people in the photographs and how we all come together, no matter where we are from. – Rose Gant