Ratio7:1 Question Time

Earlier this week photographer Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert represented Document Scotland on a panel discussion held in Edinburgh on the topic of ‘Photography in Scotland’. Organised and hosted by Ratio 7:1 photography collective, a new collective of students of photography from Napier University, and held to coincide with their ‘Dismantle’ exhibition which is currently showing, the evening was deemed to be a huge success by all who took part and those attending as audience. Speakers on the discussion panel, ably chaired by Ratio 7:1’s John Dougan, were Malcolm Dickson of Street Level Photoworks, photographers David Eustace, Ron O’Donnell, & Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, and Dr. Roberta McGrath of Napier University, Edinburgh. Lively debates emerged between audience and panel, stimulated by questions from the audience on subjects such as gender bias in photography, the history of Scottish photography, the future of photography in Scotland, and what is success and how do you achieve it? As ever there were no definitive answers, but lots of opinions offered giving much fuel for thought and further discussion.

Document Scotland would like to congratulate John Dougan and his Ratio 7:1 colleagues on their ‘Dismantle’ photography show, and for organising and hosting such a successful panel discussion event. To find out a little more about Ratio 7:1, why they hosted the discussion evening, etc, we asked John to tell us a bit of their plans. The below comes from John and shows a few images of the evening.

 

John Dougan of Ratio 7:1 introduces the panel event. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2015, all rights reserved.

John Dougan of Ratio 7:1 introduces the panel event. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2015, all rights reserved.

 

The audience at the panel event. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2015, all rights reserved.

The audience at the panel event. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2015, all rights reserved.

 

Malcolm Dickson (centre of image) of Street Level Photoworks answers a question at the panel event. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2015, all rights reserved.

Malcolm Dickson (centre of image) of Street Level Photoworks answers a question at the panel event. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2015, all rights reserved.

 

“Ratio 7:1 is a collective made up of seven year three students on the BA Photography programme at Edinburgh Napier University. John Dougan, Lysann Ehmann, Erin Semple, Adam Winship, Susan McFadzean, Denitsa Toshirova and Anete Atvare came together to form Ratio 7:1 as part of a course module that required students to form a group and hold an exhibition of their work. The outcome of this was Dismantle, an exhibition held at Gayfield Creative Spaces in Edinburgh between 20th-26th March 2015.

Since the start of the process, we aimed to put on an event that would be well received and memorable to the people who heard of us and passed through the doors, this is how Question Time came about. We wanted to put on a panel discussion set up by students for people who, like ourselves, were interested in gaining insight into what the landscape of Scottish photography is like and what it takes to become a player in the industry.

For us, the event was a huge success and the liveliness of the discussion was very inspiring. Hearing well respected individuals share fiery exchanges clearly showed an existing passion for photography. I know for sure that we, as well as many of our friends in the audience found the experience very motivating. What was particularly beneficial was getting the opportunity to hear people we perceive as successful speak openly about the relationship between their personal and professional lives. This was a great opportunity to build realistic expectations on what life will be like post university.

 

Photographer artist Ron O'Donnell (in blue) talks at the panel event. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2015, all rights reserved.

Photographer artist Ron O’Donnell (in blue) talks at the panel event. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2015, all rights reserved.

 

The audience at the panel event. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2015, all rights reserved.

The audience at the panel event. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2015, all rights reserved.

 

The panel! Left to right: Artist Ron O'Donnell, Street Level's Malcolm Dickson, Dr. Robert McGrath of Napier Univ., John Dougan of Ratio 7:1, and Photographers David Eustace and Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2015, all rights reserved.

The panel! Left to right: Artist Ron O’Donnell, Street Level’s Malcolm Dickson, Dr. Roberta McGrath of Napier Univ., John Dougan of Ratio 7:1, and Photographers David Eustace and Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2015, all rights reserved.

 

After such a positive experience with Tuesday night’s discussion, I personally would love to explore the idea of hosting more panel discussions, perhaps hosting a weekend of talks in the future. I know that TalkSee Photography, who are based in Glasgow recently held a panel discussion with Malcolm Dickson of StreetLevel, Ben Harman of Stills and Amanda Catto of Creative Scotland on at the CCA in Glasgow which was well attended and offered good discussion points also. I wouldn’t be opposed to collaborating with the organisers at TalkSee to see what we can do to make sure debates continue to happen in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

In regards to Ratio 7:1, after two long semesters we are taking a break to concentrate on other areas of our studies. This however does not mean that we won’t come back together in the future, it is just hard to say for sure at the moment. All seven of us will continue to make work and will hopefully have more opportunities to exhibit said works in the near future. You can keep up to date with all of our activity via our facebook page and out Twitter page.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Document Scotland and all of the participants for being a part of the discussion and supporting our exhibition and programme of events.” – John Dougan, Ratio7:1 photography collective.

 

John Dougan's work on display at the Ration 7:1 photography show, Edinburgh. ©John Dougan 2015, all rights reserved.

John Dougan’s work on display at the Ration 7:1 photography show, Edinburgh. ©John Dougan 2015, all rights reserved.

 

John Dougan's work on display at the Ration 7:1 photography show, Edinburgh. ©John Dougan 2015, all rights reserved.

John Dougan’s work on display at the Ration 7:1 photography show, Edinburgh. ©John Dougan 2015, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

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Jim Yorkston – Haneen lil watten

Jim Yorkston’s exhibition opened at the Filmhouse last night.

We’ve been on the lookout for an opportunity to feature Jim’s work on the Document Scotland blog so we had a chat with him about this latest work ‘Haneen lil watten’ – meaning ‘A Yearning for my Homeland.’

Rima, Jayyus © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

Rima, Jayyus © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

 

Dreaming of Jerusalem © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

Dreaming of Jerusalem © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

 

DS – What’s this new work about and how did you get involved with the project?

JY – This project was conceived and created for the Jill Todd Photographic Award 2013. Having completed my BA in Professional Photography I was eligible to apply to the award and, I felt it would be a good way of maintaining the momentum of the course by working on a fresh project with a hand in date.

‘Haneen lil watten’ (a yearning for my homeland) began as a series of photographic portraits resulting from my encounters with various Palestinian people living in Scotland. Using ‘home’ as a central theme, a fluid and diverse concept to people of Palestinian descent, each sitter is viewed in a moment of contemplation as they think of ‘home’. Through the portraits I also wanted to describe the objects and items the people kept close to them as reminders of home, and as a continuation of their culture from afar. This led me into looking closer at the textures, which seemed to be a prevalent across the different homes I visited and which are also an important part of the Palestinian culture.

 

Ahmad---Ya'bad

Ahmad – Ya’bad © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

 

Hadeel #1 © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

Hadeel #1 © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

 

JY – For as long as I can remember, I have had an interest in Palestinian history and affairs so ‘Haneen lil watten’ has been, for me, a personal exploration of the issue of Palestine, now shared with a wider audience.

My reason for including the mixture of portraits and details and textiles was I wanted to get away from only showing a portrait after a portrait, I feel this can sometimes become repetitive. Because the main theme of the project is ‘home’, I felt the objects that some of the people keep as reminders of home were very interesting and appropriate for inclusion in the project. I regard the images of details to be as much a portrait as any of the images with people in them.

The hand woven textures were an ever present over the project, appearing in nearly every home either as cushions, dresses or wall decorations. They are regional in their design and speak specifically about certain regions, so they exist almost as a form of visual communication in this regard.

The longer you look at these designs you can almost feel the hands that created them and I started to wonder if this is why they are retained by so many of the people I was photographing. Apart from being beautiful, was this a way to physically touch their homeland? Their bothers and sisters? Their past?

I know that photographically they are very graphic but by including them I am personally moving into new territory. I really think they fit well into the project but I will be interested to hear from others, a lot more qualified than me, to see if they concur.

This is all still a learning curve, in regards to editing a project, selecting the images to be shown and deciding what doesn’t make the final edit. These are early days for me and I won’t get it right every time but I am open and keen to listen to constructive feedback and I will take that on board for the next project.

 

Anita, Jerusalem © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

Anita, Jerusalem © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

 

DS – How did you meet and find your subjects?

JY – I made initial contact through the Scottish Friends of Palestine group and from there once I had met the first person and explained who I was and what I hoped to achieve, each person seemed to lead to the next. Attending Palestinian cultural events and meetings also helped make further contacts, and these in turn, helped me understand the subject of Palestine further.

I must say that, the people I have been introduced to throughout this project have been, amongst the most welcoming and hospitable people I have had the pleasure to meet and I am very grateful for their understanding and eagerness to help me make this work.

Ghazi Safad © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

Ghazi Safad © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

 

 

Hadeel #2 © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

Hadeel #2 © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

 

DS – Congratulations on being shortlisted for the Jill Todd – tell us about that experience.

JY – Being involved in the Jill Todd Award has been a great experience and the portfolio review with Tom Hunter was invaluable. It was very interesting to see the other entrants’ interpretation of the central theme of the award and the experience of being part of this can only serve to strengthen my practice going forward.

Although the creation of this award has been brought about through what are tragic circumstances, it exists and continues to grow as a fitting tribute. I think the people behind the award should be proud of what they have achieved and I would encourage every graduate to support it and get involved.

 

Hala, Ramallah © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

Hala, Ramallah © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

 

DS – what else are you working on, what’s next?

JY – Since graduating I have been assisting David Eustace, in my opinion, one of the finest photographers around. Whilst studying I always held David’s photography in the highest regard, so to have the opportunity to continue to learn from him is very rewarding.

The Jill Todd Award is once again open for entrants and I have a few ideas I am considering as potential subjects this time so that is quite exciting. As for new projects, if you look at my website, I seem to have been photographing older men in pubs since I got into photography so maybe its time for a new direction, maybe I will start work on a set of still life’s or even better, a set of ‘fine art’ nudes…

Tasnim & Yasmina, Jenin © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

Tasnim & Yasmina, Jenin © Jim Yorkston 2014 all rights reserved.

 

Thanks for sending us the work Jim and for answering our questions. Good luck with the exhibition.

 

JimYorkston2

Jim Yorkston at the opening of the exhibition at The Filmhouse, 11th May 2014
© Sophie Gerrard 2014 all rights reserved.

 

JimYorkston

Jim Yorkston at the opening of the exhibition at The Filmhouse, 11th May 2014
© Sophie Gerrard 2014 all rights reserved.

 

 

‘Haneen lil watten’ is exhibited at The Filmhouse Cafe, Lothian Road, Edinburgh  and will be shown as part of the Middle Eastern Film Festival 2014, from the 11th-27th of May.

To see more of Jim’s work see his website www.jimyorkston.com

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