Exhibition Review: Free Range 2013 – photography week two

In light of the recent photography graduate exhibitions at Free Range this year, our intern Mari went along to review the work on show…

I have always found group exhibitions difficult. It seems like I have difficulties concentrating on art for longer than 30 minutes or so. The Freerange show then is a bit of a nightmare for me. Extremely interesting and always inspiring, but how are you supposed to be able to see maybe 100 projects in one show? I need to see Freerange – there is something that draws me there, yet I dread entering the door.

I find the Truman Brewery an exceptionally good venue for exhibiting degree shows. Big halls, white walls, very high ceilings, waiting to be filled with creativity – there is room for photographs of all sizes plus multimedia displays as well. There is a map, so if you are looking for a specific university it is easy to find it. When entering you find attractive posters made by exhibitors wanting you to visit them. Quite many of the photographers are present, which is nice as it’s easy to ask questions.

As I will most likely exhibit here next year, it is useful for me to notice a few things. For example, many had business cards or postcards for the visitor to take with them, but far from all. Some seemed to have run out of cards, so I will need to remember to bring/print enough. It might pay off, for what if someone like me, who writes a blog, is visiting and would find cards useful in order to remember what I see? Exhibiting at Freerange is about showcasing your work and networking after all.

Inevitably I spend more time with projects I see in the beginning, and once I enter one of the big halls I already have difficulties deciding where to start. My strategy is to walk rather quick and only stay and find out more if the photographs stand out to me. This is highly personal – but fair? Probably not. As I am unfortunately not so interested in fashion (sorry) I pass all of them. So if you are a fashion photographer, and exhibited at Freerange photography week two, do not feel bad about not being mentioned. Also, in some spaces projects did not seem to be hung separate from others which sometimes didn’t help defining them. Some are showcasing just one photograph together with other students – this unfortunately creates a blur for me and I hurry on to the next wall.

So who did catch my eye? Irene Tonnessen’s Companions: portraits of people with their horses – beautiful large printed photographs. Miles Holder’s portraits in The Final Sitting about terminally ill people. Equally thought provoking is Georgie Mason’s project Death Row, about dogs on death row. Beautiful are also Bianca Tuckwell’s series The Growth That Is Our Own, still photographs of nests (not only bird’s nests) on a studio background. Mia Wilkes photographed the contents of a (her?) wardrobe. This is one large photograph with many small details. Although the concept is not new the photograph still proves her ability to produce a nice picture. In addition, the striking staged conceptual work of Lee Howell, which has this mesmerising painterly aesthetic.

© Lee Howell, Edinburgh College graduate 2013

Mae Kenny also impresses with the presentation of her Triple Goddess project: a series of portraits of women with flowers mixed with photographs of only flowers in old style frames. Presentation is key also in Hayley Green’s Sisters, a series printed on textile and hung on roll hangers. Emily Moya Addis’s project Be Still is eye catching – a series of shots of what seems life in a castle a long time ago. I am guessing large format film maybe using pinhole camera or a specific type of film.

Bobby Mills’s project The Road Not Taken is interesting: he followed the banks of the M25 on foot and crated a beautiful landscape series. Sophie Brocks has created a curious series of portraits of Sunday Girls: children (maybe sisters) dressed up for the day. One that has managed to use alternative photography methods successfully is Reece Woodhams, who in the series Ark captured animals in water through camera-less images.

Obviously the list of successful candidates in this show is long – but these were my favourites. And in case you wonder, no I didn’t make until the end.

Written by Mari Boman, intern