Specialist art college joins award winning photographers at the International Photography Festival

A group of photographers from a northern art college have been invited to take part in an exclusive exhibition of international talent at the Hull International Photography (HIP) Festival after impressing patron, Matt Finn.

Works from staff and graduates from Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) in Hartlepool will be featured during the month-long festival which showcases award-winning photographers from around the world.

During a visit to the BA Photography department at CCAD’s university-level campus, HIP Patron Matt Finn was so impressed with the quality and creativity that he decided to use the opportunity to showcase a selection of CCAD’s works. Titled ‘Coming Home’, the exhibition highlights the talents of 13 photographers whose practise resonates around ideas of home, lifestyle, family, friends and environment.

Matt Finn, patron of the Festival said: “I visited CCAD last year to do an artist talk about my own work and ideas on photography and do some portfolio reviews with a group of final year degree photography students. The photography area was flourishing from excellent staff, not just photography, but Fine Art and other programmes too.

“The students were very articulate in asking questions at the talk, the quality of the work on show by the final year students was excellent, and you got a sense that something special was happening.

“For the exhibition, BA Photography programme leader Jamie MacDonald and I selected a range of images to promote the great work by the emerging artists on a bigger platform. The work deals with notions of locality and home, so the work chosen represents the ideas what we as curators wanted to get across. It’s great that we could highlight such strong local talent to a wider audience. As a young emerging artist trying to get exposure it is really difficult, so we saw this as a wonderful opportunity to get the work out there. I think that the work will create a great response as it is strong.

24-year-old Jess Holloway from Billingham in Stockton-on-Tees graduated from CCAD in 2014 with a first class honours degree in Photography. Her project, “Southbank”, which she has been working on since graduation, features the reality of life in the local community in Middlesbrough, with portraits of the residents which capture the personalities, lifestyle and history of the industrial town.

Jess, whose work has already featured in exhibitions in the north east and London, Trip Magazine and Documenting Britain, said: “When I came across Southbank, I knew that it would make a strong yet gritty impression of Britain. It was different to other council estates, it had certain atmosphere which intrigued me, that’s when I began to approach and ask people if I could photograph them.

“I wanted to dig deep and this was when I began shooting in Southbank nearly every day. I was unexpectedly welcomed into this strongly tied community; people were fascinated to ask questions about my project

“When Jamie asked me if I would like to show my work I was excited to be involved as I’ve been working to gain more exposure on my project and help build on my creative profile. I can’t wait to see it in the space and hear people’s response to the work.”