Guest speakers, Intersections, professional practice

Guest Speaker-John Maclean


Maclean specialises in Fine Art and Commercial work, he lives and works in central London, and has been an established, freelance photographer since 1998.

One to one tutorial:

During late morning I showed John Maclean some of my images during a one to one tutorial with him, from my project on Knowle West called Intersections, that I am doing as part of a personal project, thus creating the body of work with the University as my assignment for this term.  He gave me some tips on what he feels would work with my project and how to decide on which way to progress by using a specific style, which is my intention because I am unsure what the final piece will be for my submission at this point.  I would like to produce a series of large prints and a video or a zine.

During the later part of the day he did a speech on a presentation showing us  his projects, which were fascinating….He explained how he was curious about certain artists and how they are his ‘Art Heroes’.  Maclean created a google street map project on the areas in which his ‘Art Heroes’ live or were brought up and photographed them.  His project was called Home Towns and a photograph was on the front page of the B J P.

Google street view maps was his method for research but he never  relied on it,  Maclean also made notes on his project subject by researching and noting down important details that may help him to progress with his ideas.   He mentioned that he would arrive at his location with strategies which would change and how he likes the after image where he looks back.  He also mentions how the artists work he believes is much deeper than the surface that we see within their photographic work, and I completely agree.  He has read all of his ‘Art Heroes’  as he calls them biography’s and that Lee Miller is his favourite..

Some of his heroes are :

  • Lee Miller
  • James Turrell
  • John Baldessari
  • Robert Franks
  • William Eggleston
  • Cartier Bresson
  • John Gossage
  • John Bldssari


Maclean has produced many photo books, and has a lot of experience in the process, he   mentioned that Graphic designers are good to collaborate with when producing a book, (Note to self)

It was interesting to find that Robert Franks home town  was in zurich in Switzerland where he spent most of his life and not America. He also found by his research that William Eggleston grew up Memphis  in a place called summer, which is a very small area surrounded by fields and not much to photograph he explained,   he mentioned that  he felt he was getting nowhere. However he picked up on a snippet of information  regarding Eggleston’s health, he found that he had suffered with asthma and it was so bad that he could only go out at night.  So he photographed at night in his home town.   He mentioned that he looked for scenes that stacked together,

He enjoys commercial work and said he finds it easier  than working on Fine Art briefs, because Commercial Briefs are more precise;  where as with fine art no one really expresses exactly what they want or knows.   He then goes on to say how commercial  work is good practice for working with galleries and magazines regarding developing a good business head.


I have included some images above from is corporate work and from his project home towns.

The photographs from his Home Towns series above reminds me very much of my photographs from the Northern Slopes, my long-term project on Knowle West, that I am currently continuing  through my Developing Practice brief on Obsession and Intersections, that can be seen in Word press which is listed on the menu bar.  The way Maclean has framed his scenery and how the angles of the open space and the built up area that surround it has been framed in a sort of juxta position, with the contrast of both elements sitting within one space, is uncanny how these and ones from my project are so similar.  These findings have fascinated me, his work is truly inspiring and his commercial work is outstanding.

He is a talented photographer as well as being able to express his story on his documentary projects as he represents his ‘Art Heroes’ in various ways in his photographs, by his visual and textual research.

Maclean has worked photographically  in several places around the world, such as China, Brazil, Hong Kong, Japan in many areas of North America, Russia, Mexico, UAE, and Indonesia.

The publications that his work has been in are vast, which include:

publications, including: The Architects’ Journal (UK), The Architectural Review (UK), BluePrint (UK), Casabella (Italy), Design Week (UK), DBZ (Germany), Diseno Interior (Spain), Elle Decoration (UK), The Guardian (UK), Time Out (UK), Casa Brutus (Japan), Riba Journal (UK), AV Monographs (Spain), Creative Review (UK), FX Magazine (UK), New York Times (USA), A+U (Japan), Archicree (France), Neomania (Spain), Loft Publications (UK), Architectural Digest (Russia), Living Etc (UK), Arquitectura (Spain), The Observer Magazine (UK), Monument (Australia), L’architecture D’aujord’hui (France), The Sunday Times (UK)

I like his documentary style and his thoughts on how he feels that each photograph has more of a deeper meaning behind them.  The fact that he is so interested in finding out so much about his ‘Art Heroes’ and the way he researches such as reading biography and looking at the areas in which they grew up or spent most of their lives for example.  This reminds me of my project that I am doing on Knowle West which is where my fathers side lived for three generations.  I am also going to the place where my family once lived and places within that space that have relevance to my family, such as school, church, streets and finding my family home. I have also been using google street maps to find these places and this has been a considerable part of my research.  My project is very much deep rooted and has far more importance and meaning behind what you see…….I just hope I do it justice and show my viewers my story clearly, with creativity as Maclean did his.

Guest speakers, Intersections, professional practice

Matthew Smith guest speaker – Professional Practice

His topics cover:

  • Raves
  • Protests
  • Performances/festivals
  • Carnivals

Smith discussed many riots going back as far as the Poll Tax riot in the 80’s.  This is one topic he was  interested in.  He achieved Politics and Communication A level in 1985

He starts off with his video where he introduces his work by saying “Exist to resist”.  His book cost £12,00 to produce and he reached out via social media to help with donations.

Smith mentions how there were very little  restrictions back in the day, and how things such as protests and festivals  have become increasingly difficult to access or to photograph in recent years, due to tightening up on security.

Smith also expressed how in 1971-1989 there were no Police at Glastonbury festival and how it was the era of the Hippies mainly a festival for that culture back at that time and by 1989 Rave hit Glastonbury.

Smiths book is a ‘Social history photo book’  on politics and social awareness of the land and environment.  He covers aspects such as mobile home living which was increasing, the era of Margret Thatcher, when she sold off the council houses…

Glastonbury Festival was Smiths largest first project, that he worked on during his second year of his degree.

As time evolved he began recording changes such as  security fences and security  in general, emphasising how free the children were, with elements such as travellers, atmosphere and how political correctness has influenced a huge change to festival culture.

He photographed the phone inside of Glastonbury Festival, where people would buy a phone card and queue to make calls to family and friends, expressing how technology had advanced, that now we have mobile phones etc…..



Mother free festival (Image by Matthew Smith)

This festival like the Glastonbury Festival was once  a free entry zone.

The Mother  Free Festival  was held on Steart Beach near Hinckley Point nuclear power station, this photograph shows the campers relaxing as the sun goes down



Wanstonia Eviction 1994  (Image by Matthew Smith)

The protest was massive, and was the longest eviction…It was on the M11 link road in Leytonstone London.  At first there was a tree to be taken down on George Green which is in the east of Wanstead, this caused some upset with local residents and outside protesters.   Once the property demolition began mainly problems emerged and protesters stood their ground in Claremont Road in Leyton.  Some properties in Fillebrook road in Leytonstone became filled with squatters.  The road was built as planned and opened in 1999.




Forest Fayer in Colford 1994.  (Image by Matthew Smith) at the festival

“New age travellers’ whoever they might be, were referred to in the press and by politicians as “scum”, “vermin” and “subhuman with no rights” (Smith 2016)

VelvetRevolutionTourBrighton18Oct942656Velvet Revolution (Image by Matthew Smith)

Art and performance to promote awareness about the civil liberties implications of the Criminal Justice Act, called The Velvet Revolution Tour.


I found Smiths work interesting as well as extremely educating, on historical social issues.  It seems that many people over the years have expressed their views and tried to have  a voice regarding the environment and politics.  The projects show the extent that many went to in order to put their point across.  Whether they are right or wrong it seems that the government regardless has the upper hand.


developing practice, Guest speakers, Intersections, professional practice

Mimi Mollica, guest speaker

Mimi Mollica

Mollica was born in Sicily.  Mollica’s Grand Father was a keen amateur photographer, and gave him his first camera when he was a young child. He mentioned how he was always around film and the developer and fixer that he could smell it as his grand father would develop his films at home. He began expressing himself visually  as a young child and at the age of fourteen he won third prize for his photographic work.

Mollica photographs in both black and white and colour, using various camereas’, he is an award winning Photographer, who has been living in London for over twenty years. He works on long term projects such as social issues, environment and migration etc.He has travelled across the world, creating his visual essays.

Below is an image of his from his Instagram account:


In 1998 Mollica was an editorial photographer, and his first assignment was in Belfast, and his second assignment was in Sicily, to photograph the mafia.  His third assignment was in Brixton.  Mollica expressed how he fell in love with the place and felt at home, he mentioned it is a multi cultural place.  He was capturing social and drama conflict in the area, such as photographing drunken people, addicts and gangsters.

His work is interesting and he is an interesting speaker, with wit and humour.  Mollica showed us some photographs from his series on a very good friend of his called Jimmy Ferguson, that he called his ‘brother.’

Jimmy had a pub he explained and then showed us a portrait of Jimmy, saying this is a “glorious portrait of a glorious friend”.  This was very moving, he explains all the good times and then the painful suffering Jimmy went through during his illness before he passed away two years ago.  You could see it was hard even now for Mollica to talk about, but his love for this wonderful friend still remains, and I am sure this is helping him with his grief as well as being able to show everyone his friend (brother) as he calls him, he mentioned that Jimmy’s life is not a secret and that he wishes he was with us today to see the end product of his series, and how he intends to make a book on his story.  He did not intend to create a project he just had so many photographs of his friends and of Jimmy his sole mate and documented him whilst he was in hospital etc, as he normally would.

Mollica made a short series photographing his daughter using his mobile, he placed her in between people just randomly in the street, we all laughed because the way he explained his story and the photographs themselves were so funny.  His daughter was only two years old at the time, Mollica would place his daughter with another family or sit her back to back with a man sat down etc, there were so many funny photographs in this series.  His take on this idea was humorous and very effective.

Mollicas focus is on social conflict.  In 2001 he visited the boarders of Afghanistan where he created a short series on a brick factory and child labour, he explained how children were working thirteen hours a day for their families at this factory.

I would recommend you take a look at his Instagram if any of this has interested you and check out his photographic work, below are the links for his Instagram account and website address.



developing practice, Guest speakers, Intersections, professional practice

Jane Hilton, guest speaker

The guest speaker Jane Hilton visited the University this month.  She introduced herself and talked about her life as a practitioner.  She showed us her presentations on her projects that included a large range of images demonstrating her stories.  I found her work interesting, because I enjoy this style of photographic genre.  Her subjects were interesting and she is a confident speaker who explains how her projects progress.  Listening to Hilton, gave a feel of becoming to know her subjects, because she was so descriptive with her information on individuals as well as the locations such as their homes.  Hilton photographed elements within the home as she also photographed the subjects themselves creating some fascinating and quirky portraits.

Hilton told us how she is inspired by John Wayne and cowboy films, and how she became fascinated by the way they live. Hilton’s decided to create a project on Cowboys which took her to America, where she found many families that remain to this day living as they did before modern technology etc.  Here are some examples of her photographic work below  from the project on Cowboys which she calls Dead Eagle Trail.

I like the way she uses the ambient light which shines through the window onto her subjects.  She never used any lighting on this project, and made use of the ambient light to create her desired look, thus creating shadow as the light emphasizes the facial features and the subject.  Hat were a very important prop in this project and she would always ask the Cowboys to keep their hat on or to put it on if they were not wearing one.  She likes the style of the Cow boys, one would say obsessed with the whole Cow boy thing.  We are all obsessed with our subject matter, that is what gives us the buzz to keep shooting and researching, because we enjoy what we are doing.  For my project on Development Practice I am also using ambient light and windows for my portraits with no use of a speed light.  I want my portraits to look natural, as Hilton has done here on this project with her portraits on Cow boys.  Hilton is an inspirational photographer, who travels and enjoys America.  she also documents a variety of interesting subjects such as Jolly’s Circus and the brothels’ where she photographed girls in Nevada situated in the Western State of the USA.


Hilton is currently producing a film about the Lost Lion Tamer in the UK. The Final Roar.


Hilton photographed the last Circus shows where they use animals, due to the ban of animals.  Thomas Chipperfield’s family that have been training animals in a circus for approximately 300 years. He wanted to express that it was not cruelty and that the animals were cared for and had plenty of living space.