Digital Media Students Photo Exhibition

Digital Media Students Photo Exhibition

December 2022 saw 14 students present a public exhibition of their coursework at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory, just four months into their Photography Collective College Diplomas.

'Anywhere But Here' comprised photographs depicting recreation, everyday life, natural spaces, local history and everything in between that resonated with each of the young artists’ personal sense of place. The varied exhibits reflected the freedom and encouragement the students were given to find their own creative voices across their first term, resulting in seldom seen perspectives of adolescent photographers.

Based at boomsatsuma’s Leadworks centre, course tutor Matthew Broadhead comments:

"Our first collective exhibition at the Tobacco Factory went really well. It was a great opportunity for the students to present their work to a real audience so early on in their studies and they excelled. We printed 100 catalogues and managed to distribute all of these during the two-hour event, which made the whole experience feel like a real success and a milestone for everyone involved."

Jenna Wood was one of the students whose work featured in the show. Jenna spoke about her exhibit and recent journey that brought her to boomsatsuma:

"I studied photography in school, but I found school a challenge and moved from Chipping Sodbury to Yate Academy, where I looked into forensic science- but didn’t like the structure of the course."

Jenna came to boomsatsuma from Pathways, which caters for young people with mental health problems, she explains:

'I felt that no-one understood me (as a 15-year-old). I found that I could best express myself through my pictures, studying GCSE photography. I felt able to be honest and for my exam project, I created mini Polaroids based on my fears and self-harm. I did well in GCSE and wanted to continue.

My time at Pathways taught me a lot about people, how people view the world differently and that my view was valid.

This course, and the teaching structure at boomsatsuma, has allowed me to expand my expression through photography, as well as understand the different types of photography, discover other photographers and how they express themselves, along with developing my technical skills. I like the space at boomsatsuma, the size of course, and importantly, the people here-who support me. My family were very proud of the exhibition and what I had shown."

Jenna’s pictures centred about a rabbit chase, she explains:

"I wanted the rabbit to be a big scary rabbit man – inspired by Kelly Jean, who used women as models. My rabbit had to be intimidating, so viewers appreciate that people see things differently. I wanted my rabbit to be universally scary, so that rather than people seeing things differently, they had a uniformity of experience. I had a button that fired up Run Rabbit Run music as part of the exhibit, to add to the viewers' experience.  I want my pictures to make people think."

Also exhibiting his work was student Finley Evans, who states:

"Hosting an exhibition so early in my studies provided me with professional experience that I shall carry forward with me for the rest of my career. As a collective we had a range of important roles, my hosting duties included giving a short talk about my work following (tutor) Matthew’s introduction to the exhibition. The opportunity to present a printed book alongside my photograph allowed me to express my ideas for the project more authentically."

Aside from creating their own long-form series of photographs, students also were tasked to organise and host the public-facing exhibition. This required undertaking many equally important roles to make the event a success, including graphic design, venue management, comms, front of house, hosting, event photography and even organising refreshments for visitors.