PEER FORUM archive at The Photographers’ Gallery

Current project 2016 2017

The Photographers’ Gallery hosted a peer mentoring group established by Thom Bridge who worked with artists Andrew Bruce, Emma Bäcklund, Philipp Dorl, Kim Jakobsen To, Maria Kapajeva, Laura Hensser, Julie Hill, Helen McGhie, Ryan Moule, Anja Olofgörs, Martin Seeds and Monica Takvam.

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Thom Bridge is a half British half Swedish photographer and artist working from London. Educated in both Britain and Sweden, at the University for the Creative Arts at Farnham and Valand Academy respectively, Bridge is currently a sessional lecturer in Photography at Canterbury Christ Church University. Bridge’s photographic practice is characterised by his continued investigation into the dualities found between photographic language, his mother tongue (English) and his recently learned mother’s tongue (Swedish). It is within these dualities that his practice operates—never one or the other, English or Swedish, analogue or digital, one twin or the other, but in fact always both. Bridge’s work has been published and exhibited internationally—between 18 August and 9 September he will be exhibiting at Elysium Gallery in Swansea, UK, as one of the three shortlisted artists for the ESPY Photography Award. 

Andrew Bruce b.1989 is an artist working primarily with photography. He graduated from the MA Photography course at the Royal College of Art in 2013. Bruce’s practice deals with animals position within the natural world and within representation. The techniques he employs in the production of his work range from staged tableaux-like photographs made using a 10×8” view camera to snapshots triggered by an infrared sensor. Bruce works on a number of collaborative projects with other artists, museums and within arts and photography education. His work is held in the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery, London and recently his work was exhibited at Format photography festival looking at the theme of ‘Habitat’.

Emma Ingeborg Bäcklund is a Swedish artist based in London graduating from the MA in Photography at Royal College of Art. Her work concerns interests in restraint related to the body and cultural structures. Ideas of obstruction aim to question how forms and bodies adapt to change, environment and ideals. She investigates what it means to place something within an image which further explore self-image and relations to the other. What is an image-body? Working in a process of re-contextualising objects or bodies they become detached from initial milieu to become dysfunctional because of this shift. There are slippages between using and seeing. With a background in dance, interests in the body and spatiality continue to influence her ideas with focus on balance and distribution of weight. The physical relationship to images are essential in her process of making. Printing images in the darkroom is a large part of her practice as well as using elements of sculpture and performance.

Philipp Dorl (1978, Berlin) studied at the Royal College of Art with a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) studentship. His work is informed by his interest in mythology and psychology with a special interest in the hero’s journey, rites of passage and their reverberations in contemporary culture. In recent years his work developed into a complex mesh of techniques– overlapping figurative and minimalist elements. Mostly formal and stringent appearing, his work is often interrupted by sudden gestures and notions of decay. For his recent range of works he uses pigmented concrete, as well as elements of laser cut perspex, spray paint and layered acrylic paint. He recently had solo shows in project spaces in Berlin and London. His work has been presented in exhibitions in institutions such as the Photographers Gallery London, the Museum Kulturspeicher Würzburg (GER) and the Fotomuseum Winterthur (CH), where his work is part of the museum’s collection.

Kim Jakobsen To is a Norwegian photographer based in in London. Since graduating with a BA under Anna Fox and Jason Evans at UCA, Farnham, he has been working primarily with portraits. Coming from a performance background, he is investigating the performance of identity. His main interest lies in the documentation of time, and the personae the subject takes on through the act of photography. Collaborating at times with stylists the portraits explore how outside elements can add to the performance of self – while also looking at communities which add their own defined elements such as historical re-enactors and other sub-cultures. He has exhibited in Norway, UK, India, Japan & Hong Kong and been published internationally

Maria Kapajeva is an artist from Estonia who works and lives in London. Her multicultural background drives her practice to mine a diverse spectrum of cultural identity and gender issues within historical and contemporary contexts. She works with stories and histories that grow out of her collection of vernacular photography that she finds in archives, old family albums, on the internet or in flea markets. Kapajeva deals with political and social issues of the past and question how they resonate in people’s contemporary lives. She looks for stories that have been forgotten and are about to disappear. Using photography as a starting point, Maria works with video, installation and object based art. She embeds found objects and images into unique pieces using various printing and stitching techniques.  Currently Maria is working on her new solo exhibition, which opens in September at Narva Arts Residency (Estonia) and on a publication of her book ‘You can call him another man’.

Laura Hensser currently holds an MA in Curating from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London; and a BA in Photography from UCA, Farnham. Laura is currently the Deputy Director of Gasworks and Triangle Network. Prior to this, Laura worked at Matt’s Gallery and the Tate Modern where she supported the Tanks 2012 live performance and film programme, as well as supporting the development of the new Tate Modern capital project. Laura’s curatorial practice explores the materiality of the photograph. She has curated exhibitions at the Underground Gallery, London, Bargate Monument Gallery, Southampton, John Hansard Gallery project space, Southampton and Viewfinder Photography Gallery, London.

Julie Hill works across different media, from writing, print and photography to sculpture and installation. Sources of fact and fiction act as springboards for installation – or mise-en-scène – that merge objects, texts and interventions to explore the divide between the objective and the subjective, the real and the imagined. The narrative scenarios her work gives rise to investigate the construction of knowledge – in particular Astronomy, Scientific Cosmology, Earth Sciences and the Supernatural. Increasingly her work investigates scientific conceptions of the Universe and their representations.
Julie studied at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art and is currently a Fellow at the Royal Academy Schools. Exhibitions include Passen-gers, London, UK (2017); Glasgow International Festival, Glasgow, UK (2016); Dimensions Variable, Miami, USA (2012), Guest Projects, London, UK (2012), Tate Britain, London, UK (2007). She has also made a number of informal interventions in communication networks and public space. Her work has been featured in The Miami Rail, The Independent, the Guardian,, IDEA, Aesthetica, NYLON and Modern Painters amongst others. Residencies include Lumen, Atina, Italy (2016) and The Florence Trust, London, UK (2013–14). She has been the recipient of funding for her artistic and curatorial projects including Passen-gers, a site-specific exhibition series at The Brunswick Centre (Arts Council), Cartographies of Life & Death, curated for Artakt and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (Wellcome Trust/Arts Council) and Crying Out Loud, a platform she co-founded that uses exhibitions and events to explore notions of femininity in contemporary culture (Arts Council).

Helen McGhie’s practice investigates interiority and the photographic gaze through the still and moving image. It considers how identity might be represented in relation to the notion of the Gothic, where ‘haunted spaces’ are affected by a past that disrupts the present. Images of the female protagonist, skin, dust, abandoned domestic rooms and discarded objects, establish fictitious documentaries. Grouping of images suggest a sense of fearful enchantment where flashlight illuminates darkness, and darkened rooms promise security. McGhie graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2014, was awarded Winner of the British Women Artists prize in 2016, Winner of The Painters-Stainers Prize for Photography in 2014, and was nominated for The Magnum Graduate Award in 2015 and 2017. Alongside her practice, McGhie is an Academic Tutor in Photography at the University of Sunderland, and Director of Nightlight Darkroom, a community space for photographers in Greater Manchester.

Through temporally inflected models of image making, Ryan L. Moule’s practice is concerned with notions of certainty and dissolution in photographic representation. Often creating immersive time-based situations within the gallery context, Moule’s chemically unstable works oscillate between visibility and disappearance. Moule graduated from the Royal College of Art with a Masters in Photography in 2013. 
He is a Lecturer at Swansea College of Art, UWTSD, on both undergraduate and postgraduate photography/fine art programs. Ryan exhibits his work nationally and internationally in both group and solo exhibitions.

Anja Olofgörs is an artist of Swedish origin based in London. She graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art with an MFA in 2015, and received her BFA for Valand Academy in Gothenburg (previous School of Photography). Olofgörs’ works navigate through gestures, representations and myths – and deals with historical documents, revealing concealed socio-political nuances. Her projects alternate between books, videos, printed matter, collaborative performances, readings and installations.

Martin Seeds completed his MA Photography at the University of Brighton in 2016. His practice is centered around his relationship with his Northern Irish homeland which he left in 1986. Through his practice, he engages with the conflicting experiences of Northern Irish identity, politics, culture and nationality. He has exhibited in the UK, Ireland and in the USA as part of residency program.  In 2017 Seeds was awarded the Magnum Graduate Award.

Monica Takvam is a visual artist/photographer based in London, dividing her time between personal work, commissions, curating and lecturing. After graduating from University for the Creative Arts in 2007, her work has been published and shown in national and international exhibitions. She has been shortlisted for several awards and recently won the Celeste Visible White Photo Prize 2016. Takvam was a research affiliate at University for the Creative Arts from 2012 to 2014 and she currently lectures at University of the Arts London, London College of Communication and Canterbury Christ Church University. Her work is often concerned with how we see, and she uses photography and sound to explore the language of images, sight, perception and blindness. The mechanisms of seeing are examined by looking at visual perception through neuroscience, philosophy, portraiture and researching language, identity, self-image and invisibility. Monica is currently the Artist-in-Residence at Watts Gallery, UK and is working on a project exploring perception of landscape.

Previous PEER FORUM Groups at The Photographers’ Gallery


The PEER FORUM 2016 Group selected for The Photographers’ Gallery consisted of: Lewis Bush (Lead artist), Alma Haser, Tim Mitchell, Tina Remiz, Max Colson, Jocelyn Allen, Clare Hewitt, Christopher Bethell, Andrew Youngson and Marcia Chandra.

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You can listen to Lewis Bush in conversation with Artquest about his experiences of the PEER FORUM programme below.

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