The event was quite a popular one last night, with a steady flow of beer and wine. Unfortunately a lot of the work was presented in print boxes which is quite a feat to browse through with a glass of rosé in one hand. However, this downside was made up for by the complimentary, beautifully printed catalogue of all of the students' work. Of what was hung on the walls, there was definitely a wide range of work presented (although, as mentioned, landscapes seemed to dominate, which is no bad thing).
One of us was quite taken by what appeared to be a mountain landscape that was actually, on closer inspection, a formation of birds against a white sky. I loved the photographs of the animal faces (by Elizabeth Clare North), especially how they were mounted and hung, floating within a black box frame. Also of note was one photographer's (Will Hartley) intimate portraits of his friends, a group of squatters in London and a series of B&B clientele in UK seaside towns (Lucy Spragge). There was a definite lack of classic reportage, which has dominated the work in previous years, but I suppose this is mirroring trends within in the industry. It was good to see several students focusing on the UK or more personal projects. We like it when photographers realise that there are many stories right on their own doorsteps that are just as insightful as those around the world. Overall, work coming out of Newport is always encouraging, and this year was no different. Off the Real is on at the Candid Arts Gallery in Angel until 21 June.
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