Controversial themes from photography undergrads in art gallery exhibition

Controversial themes from photography undergrads in art gallery exhibition

Higher education photography students have organised an exhibition exploring feminism, gender norms, poverty, grief, animals and nature.

‘SK Ascension’ runs at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery on Wellington Road South from 24 June to 10 July, during the opening hours of 10am to 5pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

It showcases several different experimental techniques studied at The University Centre Stockport College, including flash and natural lighting in the onsite studio as well as photography on shot on film and digital and depicts some controversial themes.

Graduating photographer Ellie O’Brien pushes boundaries with her series, ‘Yoni’ about sex and sexuality. She said: “I'm really grateful for the opportunity to put my work up at the gallery which is all thanks to Caroline, who got in contact with the gallery and liaised with them to put all of this together. I’m excited to exhibit a project that has pushed me to step out of my comfort zone, as I have decided to exhibit photos with content that is seen by many as 'inappropriate'.”

Second year student Leanne Forrest has shot the series of gender norms. She shot the series of gender norms with photographs of young girls in a clash of tutus and football boots.

Leanne said: “Girls can’t play football’ plays a big part of society, just like ‘boys can’t do ballet’ however none of this is true, which is why I’ve created photographs which, I feel, expresses my feelings towards gender norms.

“It’s not about what you do or how you present yourself within your gender norms, it’s about your happiness.”

Graduating student Caroline Wallbank explores the issue of grief and loss, and how a sense of place can trigger memories of a lost loved one.

Caroline said: “I had lots of plans for my final major project but, after losing my grandma, I knew if I didn’t focus my work around my sense of loss, I would completely lose my direction.

“The series, though solemn and at times haunting, is a nod to all the special people, now passed, that have left behind family and friends who miss them every day.”

Second year photography Joanne Bourke worked with a local food bank to gain an insight into the parcels that vulnerable people were given as an adequate portion to live off for a week. Bourke then went ahead and lived off these meals, photographing them beforehand, creating the series ‘Nine Square Meals’.

Four of the photographers are progressing onto the next year of their degree, Caroline has enrolled on a PGCE to teach the subject while accepting freelance work for weddings, events and portraits through her website and Ellie is looking for photography jobs with her keen interest in fashion and medical photography.

Examples of the higher education students work can also be seen here: