Tag Archives: Norwich

Photo News – Norwich University of the Creative Arts student Simon Bell recognised in annual D&AD awards

Photos above and below: © Simon Bell

In June I was invited to give a talk to photo degree students, across all years, at Norwich University for the Creative Arts (NUCA), and in the afternoon, I looked at third-year students’ portfolios.

Some of the students took the initiative to speak to me afterwards and contact me by email with feedback and some questions. One of the photographic briefs given to the students was to enter the D&AD student awards with a task set by celebrity and portrait photographer Rankin, who took the black-and-white portrait of me that I use for social media purposes.

Congratulations to NUCA student Simon Bell who scooped the Best of Year Award. “This is something like a Special Commendation,” Bell says, “and is awarded to work that has taken a particular aspect of the criteria and developed it to a point of excellence making it worthy of a special mention.”

This year’s brief was “to find a way of making a 2D image appear more 3D” and to create an image that “doesn’t appear flat – which has depth, texture, life – it jumps out of the page at you”. The international competition is open to students and was judged this year by Rankin and Nadav Kander. D&AD‘s remit is “to inform, educate and inspire those who work in and around the creative industries”.

Of his working practice Bell writes: “Having had a mostly scientific and mathematical educational background, prior to university, I find my work and photographic interests centre around the themes of geometry, order and shape. These themes I translate into visual elements of pattern, line and space to create geometric and abstract images.

“Whilst maintaining these ideals within all of my work, I exploit the subject matter of my surroundings in an attempt to attribute new meaning, to otherwise dull situations.”

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Photo Shows – Debby Besford’s series The Boudoir of the Burlesque Performer on show at The Queen of Hungary Norwich

There is no particular order to the photographs. It is intended that the viewer spend time looking at the details of each interior, finding clues that only scratch the surface of the performer’s true identity. Debby Besford, The Boudoir of the Burlesque Performer

All photos © Debby Besford

Before I get accused of being London-centric, I’m delighted to let you know that photographer Debby Besford, who I met three years ago in Arles where I first saw this project, is exhibiting work from her series The Boudoir of the Burlesque Performer at theThe Queen of Hungary (what a fitting name) in Norwich. The show is open from 12-5pm and runs until 8 July. The work is also available as a book on Blurb.

In Besford’s artist’s statement she notes that: “These documentary photographs show the private interiors of the performers’ bedrooms. They play on the idea of what is real and what is fictional. The home-based domestic interiors are in themselves a theatre where the lives of the performers take on a different persona.

“Collaboration with these women has been a journey of immense trust and respect. I did not seek to deconstruct the female performer stereotype or their bedrooms but to explore how these women have taken on total responsibility for the acceptance of their image as well as the fantasies linked to public representation of their ‘acted bodies’.

“My work investigates a complexity of issues about the representation of the contemporary female, with emphasis on the Burlesque Stage Performer. This naturally led onto questioning both the idea of play between photographer, private space, intimacy, fantasy and the real, as well as the mystique of the performer.” From Besford’s artist statement

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