Dialogues from Earth
Dialogues from Earth is an open themed photography exhibition curated by James Meredew and Jon Denham.
The photographers involved, Harry Lawlor, Jade Amelia Jackson, Harrison Dilks, Max Searl, James Meredew and Jon Denham, exhibited new bodies of work as well as new books and zines.
We spoke to some of the exhibiting artists during the opening night to find out a bit about their work, influences and how they became involved with 'Dialogues from Earth'.
FF: Tell us about your work!
JD: I’ve been in and around Cornwall for the past five or six years, so recently I’ve started bringing all the photos I’ve taken from the past five years together and just noticing a lot of similarities in the stuff that I was photographing; stuff to do with houses and the architecture and Cornwall. Second homes is quite a hot topic now. So the book I made, every single house in that book is completely empty, there’s no one there for like half the year. I’ve started photographing houses and building sites, houses being built and being renovated for the summer. So, the new series is looking at that, it’s called ‘South West Real Estate’ and at the moment it’s just Cornwall but its expanding.
FF: Do you think it will change much as it changes location?
JD: Probably, probably just in the style of the houses. I actually studied it, well press and editorial photography at Falmouth University but it was a very last-minute decision. I came late, and I was a mature student but I wasn’t doing anything I wanted to be doing so I came to the university and thought ‘I’ll see what happens’.
FF: It's clearly going well! Thanks so much for talking to us!
See more of Jon's work at jondenham.co.uk or follow @jddenham on instagram
FF: So, tell us about your work
MS: I studied press and editorial photography at Falmouth and I guess I didn’t really get on with the course that well, it wasn’t quite what I wanted and I was stuck between making work for the course - stuff that they wanted - and following my own practice. I kind of was sat in this awkward middle road that didn’t lead anywhere, it wasn’t own stuff that I had a commitment to doing, but it wasn’t what they wanted and, you know, what I was going to get the grade for. So I guess it [this exhibition] is kind of like the first step of me doing what I want to do, and its not really about anything, I mean, its just flowers.
FF: That’s cool though, I like that kind of work because it doesn’t have to have a meaning it can just exist visually.
MS: Yeah, it’s a bit like fuck you, I’m gonna do what I wanna do.
FF: Would you say your work is more spontaneous then and in the moment?
MS: Kind of half, the images that I’m showing were taken quite sporadically, I was just walking around with my camera and took the photos, I didn’t have any prior intention of taking them. Some other photos I think about for a while and plan where and how I’m going to take them. I’d say more of the idea is planned, I know some photographers will sketch out their idea before they take the photo, especially fashion photographers. I think I start with a loose idea of what I’m photographing, photograph it and then come back and tie the two together.
FF: Do you think some of that method comes from having studied press and editorial photography? That you go in kind of what you want to photograph but not exactly what the final image will look like.
MS: I guess so, I think that maybe has been an influence. Outside of photography I’m influenced by a lot of art, particularly Renaissance art. My portraits are very structured and planned but the landscapes not so much, they are me just exploring an area and then coming back with something and then making something out of the stuff I’ve taken photos of.
FF: Where did ‘Dialogues from Earth’ come from and how did you get involved?
MS: James came up with the main idea, and we kind of all loosely knew each other, like Harry was two years above me, John was three years above me on my course, James knew John from previous exhibitions, Harrison knew James somehow, so we all kind of knew each other. I think we all have a loosely similar practice but we don’t always photograph the same subject matter, like John photographs in a very topographic style, whereas Harry is completely fine art based. It was more of us taking photos of places and environments, like you were talking about earlier moments, little snippets of places.
FF: I guess you can’t really do an exhibition about ‘earth’ without being place specific, even if its just flora and fauna, and Falmouth has such a specific look to it.
MS: Yeah, I think Cornwall in general has a unique geology compared to the rest of Great Britain and you can definitely see that all the work is inspired by the landscape and the environment even though that might change slightly person to person.
FF: None of images overtly scream Cornwall but you can tell they are from here.
MS: I think James’ especially, the rock formations, John’s stuff as well is kind of that hidden subtle Cornwall.
FF: Definitely. Thanks so much for talking to us Max and enjoy the rest of the opening!
See more of Max's work at maxsearl.com or follow @maxsearl on instagram
FF: So tell us about your work, did you study photography?
HL: Yeah I did, I did press and editorial photography at Falmouth, the same as Harry.
FF: Do you think that influenced your work in any way? Harry said he found the course quite different from what he wanted to do.
HL: It was quite…. Oppressive.
HL: It was very much square peg round hole for me because it was a lot of newspaper stuff and then I did stuff like this.
FF: So how did you end up exhibiting in this show?
HL: I know James and John that’s pretty much it, we’re mates.
FF: The theme of it is Dialogues from Earth, you’ve got quite a range of subject matter on yours, could you tell us about that?
HL: I kind of wanted them to be quite subjective, that’s always what my work ends up being.
FF: You can tell that all these works are local to Cornwall, how do you think the local landscape has influenced you?
HL: Yeah the cliffs in that place are over one hundred metres high. Well, I’m not local I’m from Oxfordshire but I’ve been coming here on holiday since I was six months old, so yeah I guess it has influenced me. I stopped coming when I was 20, because I stopped going on family holidays.
FF: Who would you say were your influences?
HL: Gregory Halpern...the list is massive really, all those American photographers.
See more of Harry's work at harrylawlor.co.uk or follow @harrylawlor on instagram