Raw34 – Photography Degree Show 2016

Friday 10th June marked the start of the Photography Degree show 2016, and the end of my photography degree here at Plymouth. The work showcased in our degree show is diverse, and the title Raw34 works well with the nature of this. It is provocative, but gives nothing away about the exhibition, simply alluding to the new number of artists presenting. Therefore for this blog I wanted to spotlight some of the work appearing in this year’s degree show which runs until the 24th June. 

Below are three students from the Photography Degree Show 2016, a few words from each about their journey through the degree, a description of their final major project featured in the degree show, and a photograph. I have picked these three artists not only due to the diverse nature of their work, but because their work, motivated by personal themes, has moved me. As for the rest of the work in the degree show, which is also not to be missed, you will have to come along to the Scott Building’s top floor to take a look…

Alice Blakemore

"My time at Plymouth University has taught me more than I could have ever imagined, I have grown as a person and developed my practice so much that I feel able to work in the photography industry and succeed. I never believed the people that said my degree would fly by, but it most certainly has, it feels like only yesterday that I moved into halls and met the people that have helped me through my degree. I can honestly say these past three years have been the best of my life. The course has helped me immensely with my confidence and choosing Plymouth was the best decision I have ever made."

Artist Statement:
"In the summer of 2014 I lost a friend, and I found out on Facebook. This most personal, and impersonal of mediums is not designed for such a purpose and it seems that the continuous barrage of banality defines many people’s contemporary engagement with each other.
Who would have thought that the burgeoning technology of twenty years ago would become the ‘stream’ that we pay most attention to in 2016?
We are connected like never before yet often isolated."

To see more of Alice’s work visit: 

Kelly Oakley
"I started my journey in London, focusing mainly on creating work for job briefs rather than personal projects. With moving to Plymouth in my third year, I found it very difficult to understand the importance of including a contextual understanding, until this final project. Once I grasped a connection with my work everything seemed to be so much more enjoyable and my work improved."

Artist Statement: 
"There is nothing more detailed and captivating than the human body; it shows individuality and leaves us with marks of experience, both visible and invisible.  
Seeing the physical and emotional strains a woman goes through to become a mother is universally recognised even if not experienced. To possess this ability to selflessly give yourself over to the vulnerability of a baby, to become its source of life, is incredible.  
Photographing my Nan and Auntie has meant this project is really personal to me and has allowed me to truly understand the experiences they both went through to become mothers, and what it means to them." 

Marie-Louise Garratt

"At the beginning of this course I found it tough to decide what it was I actually wanted to do, and did not have the faintest idea where my work would exist in the future. Being surrounded by so many amazing photographers, which knew exactly what they wanted, and had already planned a career path, only made it harder for me to choose. I have been vegetarian since 2013 but had never really thought about introducing this lifestyle within my work until the second year of the degree, when I brought the book of Jo-Anne McArthr 'We Animals', an amazing photographer and animal rights activist. This was when I decided to do a project about animal welfare and our relationship between humans and animals. Ever since I have been creating projects about animal welfare and conservation. I feel confident about creating such projects and also enjoy informing audiences about these topics, as there's always so much to be debated. For my final major project, I decided to document the lives of the Dartmoor ponies to reveal their significance to the moor, and more importantly the ethical views we have on them entering the food chain around Devon as a means to conserve their breed. This project by far has been my favourite, getting up close and photographing these beautiful animals has really challenged my photography skills and the messages I want to convey through my work." 

Artist Statement: 


* The act of eating horseflesh. 
This work aims to address the question of the continued survival of ponies on the rugged landscape of Dartmoor.  The first written record of ponies on Dartmoor occurs in 1012, with a reference to ‘wild horses’. During the mid-1800s Dartmoor was the main source of granite in Britain, and ponies were used during this time as a means of transporting goods.  Come the twenty-first century, the pony continues to be used, mainly for recreational pursuits, for locals and visitors.  
Each year the ponies, owned by local farmers on Dartmoor, are rounded up and sorted for several purposes, including; riding, farming, transport and more recently, they have entered the human food chain.  Dartmoor Conservation Meat, an organisation whose aims ultimately are to conserve the ponies, is creating a market for Dartmoor pony meat around Devon. By eliminating a specific age group it promises to maintain a stable population.  This issue raises ethical dilemmas and forces us to question whether we have the right to kill and eat healthy animals, especially those that thrive within a semi-wild landscape?  
Because of their hardiness, the ponies are able to continue to survive on the moor throughout the whole year, making them fundamental to the conservation of the landscape.  By trampling down old bracken and keeping the landscape trimmed, declining species, such as the fritillary butterfly, are able to thrive.  By photographing the ponies in their adopted habitat I aim to display their deep affinity with the land.  The pony in this image, is confronting the viewer, and (we can imagine), imploring them to consider the ethics of ‘conservation meat’ and whether this course of action really has a role in twenty-first century Britain."

To see more of Marie’s work visit: 

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Raw34 runs from June 10th-24th, on the top floor of Scott building, Plymouth University. If you would like to see other work from the degree show online before viewing the exhibition, visit: