Jules’ vibrant work grabbed our attention with his project ‘Women in Action Sports,’ a feminist project that captures the situation for female athletes in a variety of extreme sports. Brands often seem to value sportswomen more for their looks than athletic talent, and female athletes can face many issues exclusive to their gender, such as being underpaid compared to men, social media pressure, and political restrictions that can limit their opportunities. Jules has travelled the work to document sports events and make corporate videos. Having focused on reporting sports for so long, he now feels compelled to simply document and tell stories of all kinds.
Becky’s project on display was ‘The Colonised Eye,’ which was accompanied by a quote from Ijeoma Umebinyuo, “You are not alive to please the aesthetic of the colonised eye.” The series was an exploration of her relationship to the role of photography within the politics of representation, using some of her early work, NGO imagery, and media sources to unpick the ethics of the representation of Africa within a post-colonial context. Becky’s aim is to create innovative art that is engaged with her community and helps to promote social change.
Faraz showcased the timely project ‘To Sea Again,’ which focuses on a disgruntled group of ex-fisherman from Grimsby, UK, whose trade was damaged by the decline of the fishing industry in the early 1980s. Faraz charts this as an example of the country’s devastating unemployment, deindustrialisation, increasing economic inequality, and dissatisfaction with the government that led to the vote to leave the EU in this year’s referendum. With the project, Faraz aims to raise awareness and shed light on the issues that manifested themselves with the Brexit campaign, while also looking at the loss of Grimsby’s individual identity.
Nicola has created another topical series with ‘In Brutal Presence,’ which explores Britain’s council estates and how they are disappearing, with their tenants being moved to the far corners of London, pushed out by privatisation, developers, and regeneration projects. The images capture Trellick Tower in North Kensington, which in an anomaly in that it has escaped this fate due to being Grade II listed. It remains 80% council housing, situated in affluent West London. Nicola offers the perspective of the residents who live there in an intimate look at their lives.
Paola’s ‘Until You Change’ was another striking project on display, exploring the Ecuadorian facilities that aim to ‘cure’ homosexual men and women. Their ‘patients’ are imprisoned against their will and are subject to emotional and physical torture. Paola explained, “If my family had not been accepting when I came out to them, I may have joined the young men and women whose families have them sent to these institutions.” Taking influence from this notion, she cast herself in her images, aiming to reveal the abuse that goes on these facilities and tackle this extreme homophobia.