PHOTO LONDON X HAHNEMÜHLE STUDENT AWARD
The shortlisted photographers in the 2023 Photo London x Hahnemühle Student Award visited one of Hahnemühle’s UK-certified print studios to oversee the production of their exhibition prints, which is shown at Photo London 2023 in the special Hahnemühle Student Award space in the Embankment Galleries. The winner will be revealed during a special ceremony at the Fair on Saturday 13 May.
LAKRUWAN RAJAPAKSHA heralds from Sri Lanka where he lived until 2007 when he migrated to England due to the political, social, and cultural situation. His images are captured in the early morning light at various locations in Surrey, including Whyteleafe, and Warlingham, always before sunrise the twilight between night and day. It is a time of contemplative solitude for Lakruwan as many of the views remind him of his homeland and distant recollections of views and walks with his grandmother when he was younger. He actively seeks out landscape to evoke vanishing memories of Sri Lanka.
Lakruwan is currently preparing for his final year Photography degree show at London Metropolitan University. His contextual research for his degree is focused on landscape photographers who have experienced migration themselves, reflecting their presence in the landscape and sometimes that of their homeland.
Photographers who have influenced him include Todd Hido, Raul Cantu, and specially David George the British romantic landscape photographer. The series selected for PHOTO LONDON is entitled Blue Tailed Bee-Eater, named after a migrant bird from Southeast Asia, a bird that always talks and nests in Eastern parts of Sri Lanka and migrates to Malaysia and India in winter. Lakruwan has a distinct feeling of similarity to the migrant bird that could be assimilated successfully or not in its place of residence.
Selection of Papers by Lakruwan: Two papers were selected for Lakruwan’s prints as they have different colour spectrums and intentions by the artist. The first image is printed on Hahnemühle Natural Line Bamboo 290gsm, a soft slightly textured paper which is warm in tone. The Bamboo paper complements the soft pinks in the skyline beautifully and embellishes the overall effect of the print and the image. The second image is darker in tone and overall composition and required a paper to enhance the dark tones and feint edges. Photo Rag® Pearl 320gsm is a natural white glossy paper which when combined with Lakruwan’s second image which is darker in tone than the first, added more density and contrast giving greater definition without the distraction of high gloss.
Cieran Jay Forster
CIERAN JAY FORSTER is currently in his final year at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London specialising in Fashion and Fine Art Photography. He takes pride in his technical skills, creative vision and collaborative approach. With a focus on creativity, Forster started taking photographs when he was twelve with a small Sony camera. His grandfather was a photographer and has supported and encouraged Forster to pursue his passion. He lived in France in his youth and then moved to Wales and currently resides in London.
Forster’s selected works include Bird photographed in 2020, taken shortly after Cierans’s cousin committed suicide due to poor mental health. The photograph was created in memory of him, the image shows a fleeting moment of birds rising off into the distance with a quick over the shoulder look by a female onlooker, a glance into time, a moment of acceptance, of what is. His other selected works entitled Fatoumata are a reflection of time in the water’s surface, an indirect capture of Fatoumata, her reflections are other-worldly, celestial and poignant in their framing and capture.
Selection of Papers: Cieran selected Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl 285gsm for his three prints. With a subtle pearl gloss effect and bright white in colour, the contrasts and shadows stand out with their detail and presence. The waters surface and reflections come together in a visually striking way that engages the viewer further.
ALAN BELL is a Scottish Fine Art Photographer working primarily with analogue film. He is presently studying (BA Hons) Fine Art Photography at Glasgow School of Art and studied photography at Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig. He currently makes work concerning signs and semiotics as a way to explore the society we live in and examine how our behaviour is affected by them. Using these images, he attempts to challenge people’s habitual ways of seeing.
BELL studied in Leipzig from September to February 2021-2022 in the middle of lockdown. He studied under Ines Schaber, Lecturer in Photography, who is keenly interested in American documentary photography from the 1970s. Photographers that have influenced Bell include Alan Sekula, American photographer, writer, theorist and critic. Bell is interested in Sekula’s commentary of the world, “the imaginary and material geographies of the advanced capitalist world”. Bell is also influenced by Robert Frank’s seminal book on photography ‘The Americans’ (1958) of which he own’s a copy.
Bell studied darkroom photography in higher education and his passion for the image, processing and print is a very important aspect of his current work. He was interested in film and cinematography initially during his teenage years and initially studied film and television and then decided to go travelling. He studied Portfolio Prep at Glasgow School of Art, a seven-month preparation course and later applied to all the Scottish art colleges and Newcastle, receiving offers from each. Bell shoots on a Canon EOS 600N 35mm camera, develops his own negatives using Kodak HC110 at home in his kitchen sink and is highly skilled at creating prints, thanks to the expertise and tuition given at Glasgow School of Art. He scans his negatives, and they are then enlarged to create digital prints.
The NO PARKING series for which BELL has been shortlisted, started in 2020 when he first realised that he was very interested in the semiotics of signs that are erected to control our behaviour in both public and private settings. Other forms of behavioural influencing mediums such as CCTV are also of interest. The images are taken in remote hard-to-find spaces that are unknown and obscure, challenging us to think more deeply about the purpose of signage and the desired impact on the viewer.
Selection of Papers: Alan selected Hahnemühle FineArt Baryta 325gsm for the NO PARKING series. A bright white high gloss paper, the exquisite structure of the paper surface creates a stunning depth of field and detail within the image. This paper is ideal for deep blacks and striking contrasts and once printed it was clear that this was a perfect marriage of paper to image. It has the feel of a traditional analogue paper which given Alan’s process is the perfect choice.
Fion Hung-Ching Yan
FION HUNG-CHING YAN studied at Hong Kong Baptist University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree in Visual Arts in 2016. She has recently completed a Master’s degree in Photography from London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. Fion works primarily in photography, image, and text, presenting them in the form of installation and books. Her photography practice focuses on challenging the way of experiencing daily life and the embodiment of self through traumatic memories by creating invisible realities in her images.
We caught up with Fion via Zoom as she is back in her native city, Hong Kong, following the completion of her MA in Photography. She will return to London in May for Photo London. Fion’s work has also been selected for Peckham 24 a not-for-profit festival established in 2016 by curator Vivienne Gamble and artist Jo Dennis. This year’s festival which also opens in May, will be curated on the theme of BODY LANGUAGE, exploring a range of artists’ responses to the body as a personal and political canvas.
SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET, the shortlisted works for PHOTO LONDON HAHNEMÜHLE AWARD explore self-identity through the Chinese familial traditions and moral standards of former generations through a Western perspective. Fion reflects on her response towards a family trauma in 2016, the year of her grandma’s departure. This event triggered a sense of questioning about her role and gender in family relations. The work is positioned within a set of Chinese folktales called 24 Paragons of Filial Piety as visual metaphors.
Fion plans to continue her art practice in Hong Kong and will conduct a visit back to her village of origin in China to further explore her own self-identity and place within her familial structure. Her art practice gives her the opportunity to voice her life experiences and that of other Asian women who struggle to have their realities understood within their family units. The process of the image creation is as important as the work itself, the selection of the room, the objects placed within the room and their digital repetition, the use of Fion’s body within the setting. They are a powerful testament to her life experience with strong subversive visual metaphors that the viewer can further question and ponder.
Selection of Papers: Fion selected Hahnemühle Photo Rag® Baryta 315 gsm for her series. The series contains high colour contrasts and definition and required a paper surface that could reproduce the vibrancy of colour and décor whilst balancing the warm skin tones within the image. The high gloss finish is ideal for this image, there is a beautiful sheen to the image at one angle whilst holding strong colour definition at another.
VICTORIA MAIDSTONE is a photographer based in the United Kingdom. She has graduated with a BA from Bath Spa University in 2020, and has recently completed her MA in photography at The University of the West of England. Her work predominantly explores ideas surrounding human and personal relationships to the landscape, identity, and memory, in relation to the natural environments of Britain.
The selected works for Photo London are entitled The Source, a journey following the ever-changing flow of water, from the source of the River Severn down through to the Hafren Forest. It is a visual representation of both our existence and impermanence, as well as of water’s intrinsic presence within our lives and our surroundings, and all that lies in between. The photographs invite an interiorised perception of a landscape, reflecting on the physical and emotional resonances one experiences in place, and through the natural environment. Following the search to the origins of the source, as well as the impermanence of life.
Selection of papers: Victoria selected Hahnemühle FineArt Baryta Satin 300gsm, natural white in colour with a smooth subtle surface texture, chosen to lift the colour and shimmer of the water surface and soft colours in the heather and mountainside. The paper doesn’t dominate and enhances the harmony of the landscapes further. This is indeed an important aspect of Victoria’s work, where she wants the viewer to feel at one with nature and present with it.
About Lucid Imaging
The artworks for the Photo London Hahnemühle Student Award were professionally printed by Hahnemühle Certified Studio Gold partner, Lucid Imaging. Based in Croydon, South London, Lucid Imaging is a highly collaborative fine art printing service engaging with artists and photographers on a one-to-one basis to create their fine art prints. Artists will experience a full-service residency in image preparation, the artists intention for the works will be fully understood before the printing process is considered.
Founder Denise N Ebanks started large format printing and photography in 2006 and has a wealth of knowledge in Photoshop, Fine Art printmaking and Digital Fine Art printing papers and technology. For many artists the process and knowledge of image preparation for print can be a daunting and very new experience. Denise approaches it with great calm and confidence and guides artists through her colour-managed workflow to create the highest quality of print output on the finest Hahnemühle Archival Digital Fine Art papers using bespoke profiles.
Denise has an in-depth knowledge of contemporary photography and holds a First-Class Honours Photography degree. She specialises in large format (up to 64” shortest side) digital fine art printmaking working with both wide-gamut colour pigment and Piezography® Pro split-tone monochrome carbon pigment print technologies. Printing with large format Piezography® Pro since March 2021, Lucid Imaging are the first and only UK provider of this breath-taking 10-black ink system with gloss chroma overcoat that rivals and even exceeds darkroom black & white prints.
Piezography® Pro is a registered trademark of Cone Editions Press, Vermont, USA. All rights reserved.
Photo Rag® is a registered trademark of Hahnemuehle GMBH, Germany.