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This is a review of Bolton’s Photojournalism and Travel Photography MA recent show at the Richard Goodall Gallery in Manchester. I suppose I should say it was taken from the redeye.org.uk website. I didn’t ask permission to use the review, but I’m sure they won’t mind (if they do, they’re just silly).
Bolton University MA Photography Show
Richard Goodall Gallery, Manchester, 7th – 12th January 2008
Now in its third year, Bolton’s MA in international photojournalism, documentary and travel photography provides a strong local alternative to the handful of longer-established postgraduate courses on offer around the country. Uniquely, the programme is also run at the University of Dalian in China, and students in both locations have an opportunity to move between the two centres. The latest UK cohort has produced a surprisingly eclectic mix of quality work, beautifully presented for one week only in Richard Goodall’s prestigious new gallery space.
As you might expect, issue-based projects are prominent, such as Amy Crozier’s sensitive images dealing with her friend’s breast cancer and Mark Scholey’s monochrome work on foot-and-mouth, a quiet and beautifully printed portrayal of rural communities left empty and desolate by the disease. That said, several of the photographers prefer a more art-based approach, such as Tom Steveton’s depiction of five decades in a single house. Beate Mielemeier’s calm, gentle river-themed series and Garry Cook’s look at the English smoking ban, with its larger-than-life characters presented in loud, vivid colour, both underline the huge variety of subject matter chosen by the photographers.
Foreign-shot folios give the course a very international feel, but Annie O’Neill’s view of the Chinese art scene and Peter Walker’s personal images of Lithuania’s Hill of Crosses are nicely counterbalanced by Jonathan Hardman’s affectionate Liverpool-themed documentary pictures. Styles and methods range widely: Caroline Edge’s small black-and-whites of Lourdes are in classic street photographer mode, pleasantly out of step with the current photographic fashion for large colour prints; Rob Thomas’ colour participatory project in India, where he taught photography to a group of children, is an entirely different line of attack, with its own challenges and rewards. Talking of children, Daniel Jordan-Killoran reminds us that an adult photographing them is still not taboo, producing a series of joyous pictures made in a local primary school.
Any spelling or factual errors above should be blamed on the alcohol freely available at the packed launch event, where the near-tangible enthusiasm spoke volumes for this course in particular and for photography in general.
(Review by Simon Bowcock)