Kingston University’s first year graphic design students are currently exhibiting their end-of-year show in the midst of Hoxton. ‘PILOT’ is an exciting showcase of innovative ideas and, as with a pilot episode, the exhibition has an element of experimental fun, which is characteristic of Kingston University. Dazed Digital caught up with a few of the students working with photography, to see how they could turn this medium on its head.
Luke Evans and Josh Lake brought their brief ‘Outdoors’ indoors by swallowing pieces of 35mm film, digesting them, excreting them and then analysing the developed film under a microscope.
DD: The overriding theme connecting the pieces in this show is the simplicity of ideas, what is it about this in your piece that makes it work?
Luke Evans: I think that a really strong visual outcome can make even the weakest simple idea into a strong idea. With our piece it was more an experiment that we didn’t know the answer to but we liked the concept of bringing film, which usually needs light from outside to create and image, into our bodies and seeing if we could develop it in a different way.
DD: But you didn’t really take a photograph, and there’s a distinction between ‘photography’ and a ‘photograph’. How this work as a piece of photography even though a camera wasn’t used?
Josh Lake: Although light wasn’t used to expose the film we’ve used the physical acids and enzymes in our bodies to make an image on the film. For us, this project was about testing the limits of what photography can be.
Luke Evans: Strictly speaking its not ‘photography’ because there’s no ‘photons’ used. But the very fact your asking this question is why we think the piece is successful!
Tristan Cluett and Barbara Ryan used a broken camera to take indistinguishable images that communicate a childish curiosity about the world. The brief was ‘Out of Order’.
Dazed Digital: Did you break the camera for the project?
Tristan Cluett: No, it was a camera I had before which I had dropped. Most people would have thrown that camera away. I just kept it because I thought… very naively… that I might one day be able to fix it
DD: People love cameras that are deliberately imperfect, such as lomography, which lets in light leeks. Why is it that often we actually appreciate more an image that hasn’t got the clarity of a digital photograph?
Barbara Ryan: It’s timeless not knowing what it is, where from or what country, what date… Not being able to place something is quite exciting!
Ben Pender’s brief was also ‘Out of Order’ which he solved by doing a series of Kingston school photos where something’s not quite right…
DD: What’s you’re favourite aspect of this piece?
Ben Pender: I think it really brings a person's character through by seeing how they react to the awkward position of being photographed upside down, it actually brings out the best in these people by photographing them this way!
DD: A lot of your work is very witty like this, do you consciously approach it from a comical direction?
Ben Pender: I think it’s a natural trait that I have, and I think creativity and playfulness come hand in hand. When you’re generating ideas thinking away from logic and order actually brings the most creative results. The mannerist definition of humour was “expectation deceived” and that’s where I sit I guess.
Text by Lily Bonesso