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Interview with Photograd: supporting creative graduates in the UK May 24, 2017

Pop My Mind has recently partnered with Photograd, an exciting organisation based in Suffolk, England dedicated to supporting photography graduates and showcasing stunning lens-based work. You can read about our recent challenge for creative graduates in collaboration with Photograd here. Otherwise, kick back, relax and learn more about this dynamic online enterprise in our interview with Photograd‘s founder Melissa Belton.

What is Photograd?
Photograd is an online platform documenting the journey of photography graduates from UK based courses. Our aim is to showcase, support, and encourage both older and more recent graduates, and provide an incentive to continue making work which we feel can become lost post university.

What are your aims as an organisation?
The initial aim of Photograd was to document the journey of photography graduates, and the planning and construction of the site has been designed to achieve that. Features with graduate photographers allow for self-promotion and expression, and give the platform its meaning.

With the growth and interest in the last year, Photograd is now providing both older and more recent graduates with a dedicated platform and a supportive community to discuss and share work.
And why do you want to achieve this?
Support, advice, networking, and collaborating are key in the photographic industry, and Photograd has already proven itself to be of great value to its users. It has come to be recognised as more than ‘just another platform for photographers’. Photograd reaches out to graduates in a particular way that encourages them to continue working with us. Many of the graduates who featured on the platform when it launched have come back for further support. What graduates also get from being featured is exposure and recognition, and that’s vital.
Organising collaborative projects is something I’m working on this year, and of course into the future. This is exciting for those featured on the platform and will encourage others to join in, thus resulting in a wider network.

Photograd’s very first exhibition at the University of Suffolk celebrated graduates featured on the platform during its first year. Venturing away from the online platform on this occasion, this physical exhibition showcased a wide variety of subject matter from 40 UK photography graduates.

Why do you want to work with Pop My Mind?
Personally I think self-promotion and making connections are vital to success. Being part of new, exciting projects is optional though, and Photograd often brings these opportunities to graduates through unique collaborations.
Pop My Mind is a fantastic initiative that attracts a wide variety of creatives, not just photographers, and so it’s rewarding to open my eyes a little wider and see what else is out there beyond photography, especially discovering where inspirations can come from.
I think Pop My Mind has heaps of potential to succeed, and the platform could go in a number of different ways. I’m sure users would agree with me when I say it’s good to have a creative community surrounding you. You can never shy away from support, advice, feedback, or a chat. Pop My Mind also provide the vital support network to a whole range of creatives, and that’s what I’m interested in.

What do you love about photography?
Photography opens my eyes to new things everyday. It makes me think, consider, appreciate, and discover. Seeing an image or body of work I like gives me a thrill. Although I don’t have time to make much of my own work anymore, I could never be without photography. I think it’s a way of life. I strive to have lived in a time when roaming Yosemite Valley with a 10×8 was a comfortable reality.

Photography by James Bannister: The Aguereberry site, Panamint Range, Inyo County, California from the series What makes grass grow in the desert

Why do you think we should support creative graduates to create new work and get it out there?
One thing I took from university is that support networks are really important. Connections in the industry, friends’ opinions you trust, or family members for loving encouragement is what every creative graduate needs at some point. As Photograd, I’m not always the one providing the advice or support, but I let people into the community to find others they can connect with, thus creating a much wider network.

 

In terms of self-promotion, I do the hard work for those featured by forming greater connections and producing new initiatives. For example, graduates can share their work via the Photograd Instagram, and I often invite industry professionals to look at the platform to see the standard of work. I know photographers who have already benefited from using Photograd and this is where my part has played its role.

Isola by Giulia Parlato – another compelling photography piece which has been showcased on Photograd’s website

Discover stunning photography work from these artists and loads more on Photograd’s website. Also, if you want to get involved in Pop My Mind or Photograd and have your work featured, take a look at our latest opportunity – where you could receive a double artist showcase on  both of our blogs simply by uploading a new piece of creative work!

 

Artwork featured is titled Familiar by Karim Skalli 

Written by Karis Lambert

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