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Posted 09.11.17

Reconstructing the family photograph with grad Josh Huxham

By Sarah Packer

Being talent-spotted by the likes of The Jealous Curator, South West Graduate Photography Prize, the National Open Art Competition and Lensculture, BA (Hons) Photography graduate Josh Huxham is not slowing down as he enrols on our MA Photography programme.

We catch up with him to find out about his latest series ‘SILENCE’ and how he developed the confidence to put his work out there...

Hi Josh, so what made you decide to study photography at Plymouth College of Art?
While interviewing for a place to study, I was looking for an environment where I felt I could flourish. I found this as soon as I walked through the doors of Plymouth College of Art.

Starting a degree comes with a range of emotions and anxieties, and the college really helped me feel comfortable and supported, I knew this was the right environment for me to succeed.

What would be your main highlight of the degree?
One of the biggest highlights would have to be the friendships I have made whilst studying at the college. I was quite shy and quiet when I began my degree, but I found my communication skills and confidence grew because of the support of those around me.

"Having the opportunity to collaborate across different disciplines, from fashion to illustration, has definitely allowed me to be open-minded about approaching other creatives to collaborate and develop projects together."

Another highlight would have to be the journey towards the final graduate shows at both the college and Free Range 2017. Working with my cohort to design, present, exhibit and publish our final bodies of work was an incredible experience. Our degree show is something I will always be proud of, and so should the other members of my cohort.

Tell us about the process behind your ‘SILENCE’ series.
‘Silence’ began as a personal project of archiving old family photographs that I wanted to keep sacred for myself, by scanning them digitally. This led on to further experimentation with the images I had archived,  and I continued to explore methods of reproduction. The work soon became a device which allowed me to hold conversations with members of my family, of whom I felt had suppressed my thoughts and opinions since I was a child.

Art can be powerful and sometimes even more powerful than somebody's words. 'Silence' has allowed me to be vocal, to share my thoughts and opinions without protest.

'SILENCE' © Josh Huxham

How do you think your time at the college influenced your photographic style?
Since beginning the course, I have been encouraged to explore more than just the photographic medium. Experimentation with paint, stitch, collage and more has been present in my work for some time.

With the help of my fellow students, I’ve also been able to view my work as an outsider in order to refine it into something that is conceptual and thoughtful. I’ve resisted the comfort of following trends and instead continued to develop my own style in order to stand out.

Having the opportunity to collaborate across different disciplines, from fashion to illustration, has definitely allowed me to be open-minded about approaching other creatives to collaborate and develop projects together.

"Having confidence in yourself and your work is a very important part of success."

How did it feel having your work exhibited and noticed at Free Range Shows?
Free Range was a real whirlwind. The opportunity to work alongside my cohort in order to present a show that is concise and impressive was important for me. The process of organising, building, publishing, advertising and fundraising gave me a sense of pride once the show was up, and my cohort and I could evaluate how far we had come since beginning our degree.

Exhibiting is something I find very exciting and I continue to think about solo shows and other opportunities for exhibiting my work in the future.

What made you decide to continue here and do an MA?
The environment of the college as a place to continue my studies was very important to me. I believe a positive and creative environment helps those who work and study within it to succeed and to be more focused.

The staff at the college are always helpful and there to guide you when you want to know more about specific processes, professional development, branding and more.

Tell us about your plans for the MA Photography.
The MA will be a section of my professional development plan for the next 12 months. Alongside my own projects within commercially driven visual art and photography, the MA will allow me to continue networking with other creatives more efficiently and also have the support of my lecturers.

My MA project will have a strong focus on the re-development of family bonds and relationships. The methodology behind the project is to use the camera as a device to capture and form new conversations with my family. This methodology will take form in portrait-style images, captured whilst conversing with each subject.

What advice would you give anyone looking to become a photographic artist?
This is a hard question to answer, everybody has a different experience when studying or after graduating. A majority of my successes only took place when I decided that it was time to share my work on a global scale. I began to network and research contact lists of influential studios, agencies and magazines to send my work to.

Opportunities to present your work need to be clearly thought out and organised, research is key. Having confidence in yourself and your work is also a very important part of success. It comes down to experience and determination to do well if you are focused on developing yourself and your practice, you will see positive outcomes.

Follow Josh on Instagram for updates on his practice and check out his website.