Every year the SONY World Photo Organization holds a student competition on a theme with major equipment prizes and travel to London, UK if you are selected. This year the competition is open to all OCADU Photo students between the ages of 18-30 (along with schools around the world). If you are interested, check out the website for the Student Focus part of the World Photo competitions and prepare and submit your submission. https://www.worldphoto.org/student-competition
The deadline for submissions is November 29, 2019 – 1300 GMT
The competition is split into two challenges, with a shortlist of 10 students selected after the first challenge. The second and final challenge will then be given to the finalists.
2020 First challenge: Invisible lines
The world we live in is structured around a variety of invisible lines. This could be in a natural environment (ie oceans, mountains, forests), in our society (ie gender, wealth, race), or intellectually. Show the judges the stories of people fighting against that and trying to break the invisible lines that most intrigues you in a positive way.
The entry process is simple:
(You will need the following password to login: 2020@student)
You will need to add the images to a zip archive in order to upload them.
For Mac users select your images and right click and select Compress. For PC users you will need to download a use an app for that. We recommend 7zip
All shortlisted photographers are given Sony digital imaging equipment and flown to London to attend the Sony World Photography Awardsceremony, with the winner receiving €30,000 worth of Sony photography equipment for his or her university. All shortlisted photographers will be able to attend a morning of intimate portfolio reviews with World Photography Organisation editorial staff and the Student judges.
Fall 2019 Berlin-Toronto Exchange Exhibition Opportunity
During the fall term, an exchange exhibition will take place between Photo students at OCADU and the University of Europe in Berlin. Student work from each school will be installed at the partner school, printed from selected digital files. OCADU Photo students in the 300 and 400 level are invited to submit up to 5 images from a series.
This exhibition is planned in coordination with the teaching exchange between Professors Peter Sramek of OCADU and Walter Bergmoser of the University of Europe, who will teach this fall at the opposite school. The OCAD works will be installed in Berlin by Peter Sramek and the UE Masters students.
For the OCADU students, there will not be a pre-determined theme, rather students are invited to submit work that represents a key conceptual direction in their own photographic output. Selection will be coordinated by Peter Sramek. Not all work will be included.
Files will be uploaded as a folder with the student’s name into the folder Exchange OCADU in Berlin:
Image files must be named ‘FirstinitialLastname_Imagenumber’, in tiff or jpeg format and set to 300 ppi and approximately 20×24 inches in dimension.
Files which are too small will not be considered for printing.
A text document with the student’s name, year level, project title and up to 50 word statemen.t is to be included. Not all of the submitted works will be selected and you may wish to include fewer than 5 as a more specific edit.
Deadline: September 15, 2019
Note: Accepted students will be required to assist in printing and installing the show of Berlin students in the Ada Slaight Gallery with the supervision of Prof. Walter Bergmoser.
Questions and communications to: Peter Sramek: firstname.lastname@example.org
Connection : Reconnection
The International Collaboration Studio courses are now open for registration at either the 300 or 400 level. Meet and work online with students from around the globe. The process is being streamlined to allow you to register yourself directly in the Registration System.
If you have questions, contact Professor Meera Margaret Singh .
The Royal Over-Seas League (which is a not-for-profit membership organisation dedicated to championing international friendship and understanding), has a call for a Photography Competition.
About the competition
The theme is STYLE and the aim is to showcase the contemporary culture of the Commonwealth through your submission.
The ROSL Photography Competition has two categories:
· Mobile Phone
All photos submitted must be taken within the past year and have a link to current or former countries of the Commonwealth. This competition is open to photographer 18+ and free to enter.
Camera winner will receive £2,000, a trip to the clubhouse exhibition opening and their winning image will be published in the Overseas magazine.
Mobile Phone winner will receive £1,000 and their winning image will be published in the Overseas magazine.
Young Photographer winner will receive £500 as part of ‘The Madiha Aijaz prize for a young photographer of promise’ which will be chosen solely by Farah Mahbub in memory of her colleague and friend.
Top 20 images will be displayed in the Over-Seas House Exhibition.
The deadline for entries is 5pm GMT on Monday 2 September 2019
The 20 images selected for exhibition and overall prize-winners will be announced on Friday 27 September 2019
The exhibition of final images will be open at Over-Seas House on Tuesday 10 December 2019
URL to enter: https://www.rosl.org.uk/photography
New Publications and Collections
Assistant position at Prefix. This is a full-time 13-week summer job for a
student returning to studies in the fall. The focus in on supporting the
production and circulation of the magazine, and on improving access to the
Please forward to anyone you think might be interested. Applications due
next Thursday, May 16th by midnight.
Friday Art Crush is an interview series highlighting the work of Photography students in their thesis year at OCAD U. We grab a coffee and chat about what they have been exploring, and they share great advice for working on a year-long project. The series was created and led by Morgan Sears-Williams; this year, it has been taken over by Ana Luisa Bernárdez.
This week, Ana chatted with Lily Lu, a Photo major in her thesis year.
Tell me a little bit about your explorations throughout your time at OCAD
I have been consistently exploring things related to identity, first of all, and then different aspects that shape identity: the environment, technology,evolution, and spirituality, which was a really important one. Naturally… pun unintended, nature was important for understanding spirituality, and linking that to the body and identity. My better developed works throughout second and third year were about the body and the landscape, and that definitely carried into my thesis, but with a more socio-political lens.
What are you focusing on for your thesis project?
My project is titled Beyond Spaces of Belonging, and through it I’m aiming for a rewriting of history through the creation of a new mythos and using my main medium, which is photography. This project documents the lives of female and Asian bodies – we came together and collaborated on community building and healing, as well as on the creation of these images, which challenge the patriarchal and colonial gaze.
What has your process been like since your initial idea back in September?
The first stage of my thesis was totally continuing my previous explorations of my personal identity and the landscape in a fundamentally spiritual level, using photography as an investigative and experimental tool, almost mirroring the way that it has been used for science and documentation. I used it to record an evidence of my interactions with nature through my movements and through positioning my body in ways that resembled gestures of nature: the way the grass grows, the way a tree bends… I also did some self-portraits of myself nude, in search of body positivity for myself – I have never conformed to the “ideal body”, but at the same time I can’t help but to feel self-conscious. I was trying to liberate myself, and focusing on the question of what is at the root of my body and soul, and searching for that in the landscape, through an attempt of embodying the landscape. So, that was the start of the thesis, but it has shifted a lot…
Definitely, even from a distance I have seen your work change and evolve. What are you focusing on now? How did that change come to be?
Fundamentally, it shifted from a personal philosophical exploration to… something else. Initially, it shifted because in the very first critique I received comments about my nude body and how it was not clear what it was trying to represent, when it was just my body trying to join and imitate the landscape. I kept receiving feedback about needing to be careful as to what I was representing through nudity. So, I started having thoughts about representation, and how a naked Asian woman cannot help but be eroticized and fetishized, and I am told that I need to be careful, and that I should challenge this view because it will be the view that people will see in the work. So I started reaching out to specific women that I knew, because there is this collective anger over how our bodies are said to be seen, and I decided to bring that collective feeling into the images. It kept developing, and throughout my process I did a lot of research that didn’t necessarily include pen, paper and text, but actual oral histories, sharing of personal experiences, processes of healing. That is research, too.
How was the process of transitioning from working in a kind of solitary, quiet way, to working with a larger group of people?
It was pretty hard. I didn’t have the idea of community building, I never thought of that being something that I could do with photography. But I think part of the universe’s signs and the ways in which it informs me, a lot of things started to come together through just me reaching out to mentors of a similar background. That definitely helped me understand… a lot of them were already making work about Asian representation for years, and they’re mostly activists – I have taken a course with Min Sook Lee and she really informed the collaborative part, which is an often dismissed but really central part to art itself. That adds up to this drive to make art that actually changes something, and not just protests or says “this is wrong” and then everyone being like “oh, yeah, this is wrong” and then they everybody just goes on about their lives. I want art that makes a difference immediately.
I think this is something that you achieve through your engagement with your community, because I can even feel it through the images themselves. How has the process been like?
Before, I thought art had to make a difference through the audience, but I learned that art can make a difference through the process. This makes a difference for us, the community. I took the step to go out and seek for my sisters, who I always longed for… We started having conversations, sharing experiences, questions and topics that we all have come across at some point but nothing really gets done about it… it is always the same conversation “yeah, this man did this, and this prof. does that, and this happened…”, and everyone is very tired of complaining and nothing changing. So I reached out to specific women telling them that I was trying to do work about the representation of women’s bodies bodies, and that I wanted to have interviews and roundtable discussions. We did, and my intention was for it to be about the conversation and the engagement, rather than starting off thinking about making an image. Something that I wanted to bring attention to was how Chinese art and culture has influenced us, regardless of our diasporic situations, or if we grew up with it very present or not. It is in our blood, in our cross-generational trauma and in our histories, so I dug into that as well… I wanted to talk to them about this cultural patriarchal history, and these images that are all of men and mountains and landscapes. Regardless of our diasporic background, what we share in in common is colonization, patriarchy and the images that we see of the fetisization of people who look like us.
How do the images come to be after doing the hard work of building a solid community?
I think I used to think too hard about how images come to be, so I now completely let that go and I let it be carried out through the process. It also has been being able to realize that sharing is work, sharing is art. I consider the process as the work, and the images are the fruit of that. I mean, I still have that desire to produce art, and that is when images come to play. And since images of Asian women are a thing we have in common, we’re challenging it. We are shouting out to the world that we are here, we are having these conversations, we are taking up the space, and that we need to be respected. We want people to know that we are healing.
I find particularly compelling the video of all the women, very still, and someone skating around them. Could you talk a little bit about that piece?
The idea for that was feeling that photography, no matter how much you challenge and confront the gaze, it still has some potential to objectify because someone is still going to look at you the way they want to look at you… you can’t step out of the frame and grab the viewer by the throat, you know? And because we’re so used to images, we don’t realize how awkward it can get when a picture stares at you. That was the power of film in its early days… people were so shocked by moving images. So these videos make you feel safe at first because it looks like a still image, and then someone starts skating, but everything else is still. It tries to blur the line between the still and the moving image.
Earlier you talked about your relationship with nature in your more personal/individual work. What is the relationship between nature and this sisterhood?
One is to refer to Chinese traditional paintings that show men in the landscape: these landscapes are there to lift the man up. It is a very anthropocentric view… land serves men and men’s purpose. On the other hand, it is just where we are and also where we spent our spare time growing up – it is a part of our assimilation to Canadian culture as diasporic people, for example, once you immigrate with your family, you go camping. I look at it is a documentation of how we engage with the land, which is obviously colonial. I also meant all the spaces to be recognizable, like Scarborough Bluffs and Toronto Islands.
What is a piece of advice that you would’ve liked to know before starting thesis?
You are valid. Your ideas and what you want to express, keep to it. Obviously, listen to constructive criticism, but don’t compromise out of fear that you’re not good enough. Your search for whatever question you may have is valid, you’re an artist if you think you are. I wish I had that.
What are some professors that had a positive impact in your work?
Min Sook Lee, Meera Margaret Sighn… I think whatever prof or mentor you find whose work relates to yours already helps a lot. I also reached out for people outside of school which was so eye opening, I found a lot of movements started by Asian female artists and went to events, met people, and learned a lot.
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