The ERA Exhibition was part of the University of Cumbria degree show and features the work of 33 Photography graduates.
My thoughts in no particular order of importance:
- It’s a shame the show couldn’t have been held somewhere more prominent than the depths of the University Campus – which isn’t large, but is relatively distant from the city itself. I say this because there was a stimulating variety of work on display and it deserved to be seen by a wider audience.
- As you might expect, there was a range of approaches on show, from very formal (Amy Trantum for example) to near abstraction (Julie Dennis). The were quite a few typologies/ typology based displays – perhaps the most poignant of which was Natalie Cheetham’s “Life before loss”.
- Much of the material would not have looked out of place in BJP. There was a small selection of what I might consider “straight” documentary including Karl Ballantyne’s Boom and Bust and Marc Johnston’s Rampworx and a wider selection of material which I think broadly fits the documentary category.
- There were several interesting takes on using photography to explore mental states – of which The Life within my mind (Eleanor Armour) and Halfway up and halfway down the mountain (Penelope Peel) had the most immediate impact on me.
- Other sets which stick in my mind are Pot-bound (Lauren McGuiness) – a slightly humorous exploration of pot plants given as gifts – and Paolo Luccardi’s Deserted Land – a well observed study of abandoned buildings slowly falling into decay, but still bearing the traces of the occupants and their various activities.
Overall I found the show really enjoyable – there was plenty to provoke thought and inspire, some reassurance that the kind of work I like is not far off the beaten track and similarly some reassurance that the sort of work I think I produce best seems to be of a suitable standard.