Last week I had the privilege of hearing Gemma-Rose Turnbull and Pete Brook speak at IC Visual Labs in Bristol. They’re both part of the Photography as a Social Practice group. Pete talked about some amazing projects (see Alyse Emdur and the San Quentin Archive for just a couple of truly evocative examples), while Gemma talked about her own practice and her realisation that collaboration, and a consideration of how images are made and used can make not just for a more thoughtful story – but also for a better story. It was really a beautiful talk filled with passion and humour (she’s collaborating now with her [then] four-year-old nephew whose conditions are that the pictures she makes of him end up “in an art gallery”).
These ideas of collaboration are at the forefront of Kieran Cudlip’s work, a University of South Wales photography student’s whose graduating project focusses on the life of Elliot. But rather than typecasting Elliot within a traditional visual framework that focus on gender and mental health, Kieran creates a visual mapping of the textures of Elliot’s everyday life. It’s touching and beautiful but also an abrasive view of what life can be like.
This is what Kieran says about the project:
Until the day dawns
This is collaborative work where I, with my experience of mental illness, am working with Elliot who is experiencing similar everyday problems connected both with mental and gender dysphoria. The series shows a world that is both beautiful and terrifying, a place where the hairs of a wig, the cracked screen of an iphone, the marks of stimming show how the daily life marks itself into our psyches, but often remains unseen and unnoticed by the outside world.
Content Note: image of scars
@kierancudlip on Instagram
Follow Documentary Photography’s 3rd Years at Two Eyes Serve a Movement on Instagram here
And see their work on show opening 16th June at Seen Fifteen Gallery, Peckham.