Having finally finished my three year Photography degree, I had just started to wind down and forget about the pressure of projects and deadlines, only to receive an email from the course leaders two weeks later. The email informed me and some other students that we had been selected to exhibit our degree show work again, this time at Free Range in London. Soon after the email had been received Facebook was bombarded with eager questions about the show and what was expected from us, as the newest generation of photographers. We were all thrown straight back into work mode as we prepared to show our work at the biggest and best student show in the UK.
The day of the opening night came around so quickly and typically of art students, the walls were still being painted and work being hung just 20 minutes before the doors opened, but come 6pm everything was done and the buzz of proud and apprehensive students (and tutors) filled the gallery. Just minutes later, family, friends and public filled the space, enjoying the work, atmosphere and of course, the wine.
Every day of the show the invigilating students reported the days events to the rest of us, never failing to be proud and excited to how many people had turned up to view our work. The end soon came and we all met to take down our work and clear the space ready for the next students, the public were still trying to squeeze a last viewing even as the last work was being packed up, it seems people really couldn’t get enough.
Having studied Art for years, I have been to my fair share of exhibitions, however regrettably, never to a student show at the same scale or quality as Free Range. Walking round the gallery I was struck by the ambition and diversity of the work, this generation of art students have pushed so hard to create something fresh and unique that the show was truly captivating, even to those (my family) with less interest and knowledge of the art world.
Free Range and of course the students, left me feeling more inspired than ever before, I will be returning each year to soak up the ambition, creativity and motivation clearly seen through the work.
Words: Jessica O’Shaughnessy