Coping with epilepsy, self-esteem issues, mental health and life in a foreign country are some of the topics students have covered in a deeply personal project.
Photography students from the University of Northampton were tasked with coming up with individual projects themed around issues of identity – and the results are both eye catching and thought provoking.
Last week, we looked at five of the students’ work, and today, we’re publishing the work of six more, below.
One of Dan Williamson’s photographs.
Daniel Williamson with his X-ray inspired work.
Daniel Williamson’s clever images are colour-inverted self portraits, overlaid with X-ray images of a skeleton.
Daniel, who is from Leeds, said: “I started by looking at the philosophy of identity and the question: are you your brain, or are you the physical part?
“I took this idea and tried to capture both the inside and the outside of a human being, and I’m really happy with the results.”
Britta Burgstaller has focused on the identity of fellow non-British nationals living in Northamptonshire.
Britta Burgstaller, who moved to the UK from Stuttgart, Germany, nine years ago, has focused on the identity of fellow non-British nationals living in Northamptonshire.
She photographed four individuals from different cultural backgrounds, holding an item that reminds them of their home countries: a German woman and her heat lamp; a Bulgarian with her mother’s handbag; a Romanian with her toy doll and a Somalian with a photograph of her grandmother. The portraits are supplemented with smaller still life images of their other favourite belongings.
Britta said: “I found that, like other immigrants, I surround myself with objects that remind me of my home country. They aren’t just reminders of where we are from, though, they form part of our identity and tell stories about us, their owners, of experience, belonging, relationships, culture and the self.”
Inevitably, Britta’s work raises questions about Brexit. She said: “When the referendum result was announced, I didn’t want to go out of the house, because I was so upset.
“But I soon found out that the attitudes of the people I know hadn’t changed, I was reassured. I love the British people and still feel welcome here.”
Alex Chivers’ project features three portraits of his friends.
Each have their faces distorted with a swirl effect, which aims to portray issues that result from a lack of self confidence – including depression and how people can ‘put a brave face on’.
Alex said: “Smudging the face symbolises how the subject things they look ugly or hates things about their face.
“I spent time talking to each of my friends and we all found out things about each other we didn’t know, and found we had common ground when it came to issues of self confidence.”
Joe Westley’s project included images from his family’s photo albums.
Joe Westley created a collage comprising a mixture of photos taken from his family’s photo albums, and his own family snaps.
Joe, who is from Northampton, said: “The images tie in with the theme of family identity, who we are and who shapes us.
“There’s also some references to death, because there are photos of photos which we have in the family home of relatives who have died. So, the project also explores the way we have little memorials to people we have lost.”
Teresa Atkins’ work includes self portraits of her on a bike, and recovering from injury.
Teresa Atkins’ project explores how sport forms part of her identity. Teresa, who comes from Oxford, is a keen cyclist and runner, and her images include self portraits of her on a bike, and recovering from an Achilles injury.
She said: “After picking up the injury running, the direction of my project changed. It was originally going to be about the benefits of exercise on well-being. But it has evolved to also consider the impact of not being able to exercise due to other commitments and injury.
“The images convey the frustration I feel when I can’t exercise and the aesthetic gained from using analogue and instant cameras is indicative of my imperfect relationship with sport.”
Will Lacey’s project features a Cold War-era gas mask.
Will Lacey produced a series of stunning portraits featuring his friend, Tom Power, wearing a Cold War-era gas mask.
Will, who comes from Walgrave, said: “When I found out we were working to the theme of identity, I immediately thought of masks, and how they can change people’s identity, both inside and out.
“What intrigued me about the gas mask was that it’s designed to protect the wearer from dangerous airborne chemicals, but is often seen as scary and disturbing. It’s gone on to become one of the most popular cultural icons in depicting post-apocalyptic society in books, movies and video games.”