Peaches and Cream is a photography competition and exhibition founded by Millennium Images. This year the competition seeked more then ever to celebrate the photographic arts, with a key focus in showcasing emerging photographers. The shortlist displays a dynamic selection of projects from some of most exciting new talent. Millennium has always strived to provide a platform for contemporary photography with Peaches and Cream playing a prominent part. Now in its fifth edition we are offering our winners valuable and career-advancing prizes, alongside exposure within the photography world.
The shortlist was exhibited at Photofusion Gallery at the end of October 2017. The winners were announced as Laura Thompson as the overall winner, Marina Mche as this years graduate winner and Ksenia Burnasheva as the Instagram Winner.
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Moving from one place to another, going into familiar and unfamiliar scenes. Countless encounters during life on the road. Things can be different but feel like constant repetition under the pile of time and distance. Often some random things just happen to you and you have no control over avoiding them. Time and current can be twisted. Distance and space can be distorted. Explore the blurry boundary and relationship between encounters, randomness, and consequences through experience and memory.
Modern Living is a series of still life images of bricks, a response to the housing crisis in the UK. The enormity and complexity of this is distilled here to its most basic (and literal) building block, the house brick.
These bricks are elevated to fetishised status, presented life size and hyper-sharp. They are disconnected from reality and purpose; the bricks float in space within the image and the aluminium-mounted prints float from the wall. The uniformity of presentation invites comparison, much as we may do when choosing any product, or if lucky, a home.
Individual labels detail the dimensions, mode of production, and crucially the name of each brick, evocative of geography or other products. Despite their sometimes ragged and irregular appearance, all the bricks are new and mostly machine made.
The intention is that viewers may reflect on their own experiences of home and housing, but recognise the wider context in which their experience sits.
“There was a particular tribe which was able to see Venus in full daylight, something which to me would be utterly impossible and incredible…Later on I looked into old treatises on navigation belonging to our own civilisation and it seems that sailors of old were perfectly able to see the planet in full daylight. Probably we could still do so if we had a trained eye.”
– Claude Lévi-Strauss, Myth and Meaning.
Based on various anthropological and scientific studies, it has been observed that as people have become more dependent on modern technology and science, their senses have gradually dulled and become dislocated from our natural surroundings. Anthropologists such as Lévi-Strauss have also noticed the opposite occurring in cultures that are still living in nature and actively participating in it. The cultures with roots in mythology and animism, the belief of the connectedness of everything on earth, are especially in tune with their senses, which as a result, have heightened.
I began to look into various mythologies from around the world and the garments associated with them and observed most involved the covering of the face and many times the entire body to transform the person into a mythical being. At the same time I was looking at urban legends and supposed hoaxes such as Bigfoot and people’s obsessive fascination with these elusive beasts. What interested me most was that many seemed to be based on existing mythologies and the fact that many of these creatures seemed to be trapped between two worlds. The work is centred on constructed “yeti-like” creatures made up of either disposable manmade plastic forks, earplugs, vinyl gloves, car air fresheners or compact mirrors, each representing one of the senses. These creatures have been consumed by these modern, materialistic items and as such can no longer sense anything at all. Neither human nor animal, they wander between worlds fitting in nowhere, yearning to be part of a world they no longer belong to, and becoming a creature of myth.
Love time is a body of work produced during an artist residency at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, London between April 2015 – March 2017.
The hospital is not an automated machine but simply a human place – run by humans, for humans. Strength flows from person to person, whilst extreme fragility is something possessed by all people, in both cases irrespective of status.
The images explore the universal human qualities of strength and fragility, and challenge conventional thinking and imagery around power relationships within hospitals between staff and patients – dependants/ dependees, whilst the over-arching context to the images is the current destruction of the NHS (National Health Service) through privatisation.
The title is a quote from the t-shirt of a now deceased patient met and photographed in the hospital. There is an ambiguity in its meaning between the care received in hospital and an instruction to hold time precious.
Beyond the Norms
Beyond the Norms is a series of photographs that explore the change of social and gender norms and celebrate freedom of self-expression. Using symbols and visual metaphors I photographed young women with shaved heads in order to emphasize the acceptance of this change. As I looked back to historical meanings, I illustrate the rejection of this body feature as a symbol of disgrace, masculinity and unfavorable physical feature, from gynocentric point of view.
The Arctic Hunters
Remote, far away from the haste of a modern life, far above the Arctic circle in northeast Greenland there lies one of the most isolated places in the northern hemisphere – a small settlement called Ittoqqortoormiit. Its inhabitants are mostly Inuit and they still keep living their lives the same way their ancestors did. Something may change, modern technologies and internet have already reached even this remote place, but they still hunt for a living. Seals, polar bears, walruses, narwhals or musk oxen are chased by the local hunters using traditional dog sledges. It might sound cruel, but they just do what they have to do to survive. There is nothing else to eat and for thousands of years they haven’t had any connection with the outer world for accessing any other food. Hunting is their life and it keeps them alive.
While roaming through the vast freezing Arctic landsapes covered in snow and ice, they’re one body and soul with their dogs. Even though snow-mobiles are very usual in Ittoqqortoormiit nowadays, for the hunting or any longer journeys they still use dog sledges as their fathers did – dogs will always be more reliable and faithful than any combustion engine.
Their roots are very strong and even though changes premeate Greenaldic society, the traditions are being continued and still dominate local culture. As a mere observer who spent only a meaningless amount time in this magical land, I really hope life will continue there as it always has – pure, simple and natural. The world needs more places like this.
Rarely do I venture out with a topic or subject in mind — I usually drive until I see something that compels me to stop, analyse, and possibly photograph for later perusal and consideration. Over time, the editing process yields a series of images that coalesce into a body of work with specific themes or preoccupations, in this case: aging, mortality, and loss of innocence. As we age, even the most well adjusted of us form regrets, experience loss, and abandon certain childhood dreams.
The Way It Felt
My work presents intimate relationships, mostly between young women, and explores a sense of emergence into their own bodies and sexual beings. My practice has evolved from a hidden record of emotional and physical experiences, including an eating disorder, depression, anxiety and recovery, to an expansive documentation of healing, relationships and connection with others, and growing into one’s own body and sexuality as a young woman. The work, which is of a diaristic nature, has been developed from a place of observation and a sense of understanding one’s own body.
In a trance of introspection, I began to recollect my childhood memories to link my current thoughts and behaviours to gain a deeper self-knowledge. The expression or performance of my identity is informed by these memories: those that are recalled and those that remain hidden below the surface.
Confessionals is a series of analogue still-life photographs rooted in my autobiographical memory. The studio and the darkroom serve as the physical space where a meditative state facilitates a form of auto-therapy. The accessed childhood memories, first voiced as a textual confession, are used to construct an image as a method of enriching my understanding of the self.
They say you have to find out who you are as if there would be a single you within yourself.
But identity is a polygon, a multifaceted shape that brings back different versions of your own image depending on the situation you are facing. This is you from Plato’s cave, non-euclidean geometry.
Spring has just started and Cristina has some free time. She comes to my studio almost every morning for a month. We talk about photography and light, about why she wants me to make a portrait of her. She is playful and easy to spend time with. We have contemporary light discussions about Instagram and selfies, about how you show a constructed version of yourself. “We are a collection of images” she says, but we agree that it is usually a flat collection. I make a little set out of curved mirrors a la Kertész, and we play a game: we look for images that can have a title. So the “Siamese Kissing Ladies” appear and so the “Flesh Mountain with Hands” does. In my eyes we are giving birth to new creatures. In hers, she can recognise different versions of herself all the time.
All images were taken in March, 2017.
In the end I could see myself too in most of them.
Identical things are not always alike.