Issue #7874: Look & Learn

Four years ago, British Journal of Photography dedicated an issue to photography education, in response to the direction that things were going in the UK; university fees were rocketing, resources were being cut, and teaching was being refocused on lectures and distance learning.

Every year since, the education issue has presented an alternative to this limited approach, focusing on teachers who mentor and encourage experimentation. Something they all have in common, besides their reputation for guiding and inspiring students, is a clearly understood philosophy, which informs their unique learning environment and leads to specific goals, modules and exercises that are carefully honed over years.

In this issue, Aaron Schuman talks to acclaimed photographer, book-maker and educator Jason Fulford about his approach to teaching workshops, and their relationship to his own photographic practice. A guiding light in education, Fulford explains the overarching progression of these workshops, and his improvisation technique within this structure. Daniel Boetker-Smith profiles Yumi Goto’s “fortress” in Tokyo, finding out the secret to the success of her highly coveted workshops at the Reminders Photography Stronghold, where she is taking the photobook into new realms of “narrative sculpture”, by inviting participants to challenge the conventions of publishing.

Photography director Gem Fletcher talks to Viviane Sassen, Jack Davison, Lisa Barnard and Alma Haser about the importance of continued experimentation in their work, and discovers how they build an element of risk into their practice, be it deliberate or spontaneous. And Cat Lachowskyj visits Amsterdam’s Gerrit Rietveld Academie, to discover how its cross-disciplinary teaching methods instil a collaborative work ethic and nurture individual creative freedoms. Free from rigid programmes and set curriculums, the art education institution has established a legacy as one of the top training grounds in the world for artistic studies.

Continuing a theme of collaboration, Laurence Butet-Roch reports back from an ambitious show staged at the Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto, initiated by Susan Meiselas and Wendy Ewald. Highlighting the hidden history and potential for collaboration in photography, this ambitious educational exhibition is designed to encourage  the public to think critically about teamwork in photography.

Elsewhere, photographer and lecturer Ken Grant talks about the “unique joys of teaching”, alongside the value of maintaining his own practice. We also present our first selection of Class of 2018, our pick of the best of this year’s graduates from colleges in the UK and Ireland. These include London-based Aditya Babbar, University of South Wales graduates Giya Makondo-Willis and Kelly O’Brien, and the Royal College of Art’s Rachel Glass.  

Plus, we preview the latest edition of Street London, and present the best photobooks of the year so far, as chosen by Rob Hornstra, Mark Power, Marloes Krijnen, Yumi Goto and Mariela Sancari; we feature Holly Hay of Wallpaper* as our Creative Brief; and Damien Demolder picks four camera systems that are versatile, sturdy and future-proof enough for the fledgling professional.

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