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Our Journal

Examining gender identity with commercial photography graduate Tilly Warburton

We caught up with BA (Hons) Commercial Photography graduate Tilly Warburton, who took the image for Plymouth College of Art's advertising campaign, seen across the country

Tilly Warburton’s work on challenging the stereotypes of masculinity and femininity during her BA (Hons) Commercial Photography course stands out for depicting vulnerability and strength in the models she worked with.

One shot from her Masculinity Undone series has been chosen by Plymouth College of Art to represent the creativity and passion of our students and will be seen on billboards, bus stops and magazine adverts across the country.

We caught up with Tilly to find out more about her work on this project, what her aims were when producing the work and her favourite aspects of studying in Plymouth.

Headshot of Tilly

Tilly Warburton

Hey Tilly! So, how was your experience at Plymouth College of Art?

My years at Plymouth College of Art were really life-changing for me. I managed to make amazing friends and also somehow create a final major project during a pandemic. First-year for me was about making new friends and getting used to being away from home, second and third years were very challenging and a lot of work but I produced work that I will be proud of forever.

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The image used in the advertising campaign, seen here in a mock up, on campus at Tavistock Place

What was it like to study in Plymouth?

My favourite thing about studying in Plymouth is definitely the location and what Plymouth has to offer for the students. There are other universities you can collaborate with to create projects. Not to mention the number of locations there are to create amazing photoshoots, for example, the Hoe was always a favourite place to take photographs. There is so much social life in Plymouth and as a student, you are never bored and always exploring to find new things to do.

I found Plymouth to be a whole new world to the little town I grew up in. In Plymouth, I felt that everyone was themselves and within the college there weren't labels given to any individual. That's why I enjoyed making my Masculinity Undone project because I was introduced to individuals and learnt how they felt they challenged the stereotypical view of masculinity.

TILLY WARBURTON MASCULINITY UNDONE2 COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Masculinity Undone (2020)

Plymouth College of Art taught me that it’s ok to be different and that hard work really pays off, I mean who would have thought my image would have been chosen to advertise what’s possible at the college!
Tilly Warburton, graduate

What was the idea behind your Masculinity Undone series?

My aim was to show that masculinity doesn't mean being brave and confident, it’s about accepting who you are as a person. You don't have to act like you are tough all the time and that showing you are vulnerable is more masculine than pretending you aren't. My project shows men displaying stereotypically feminine characteristics, such as hugging and wearing pink. Pink isn't a feminine colour; it has just been portrayed that way because of the way we have been brought up. I just wanted to show that it’s anyone's colour!

Tilly Warburton Masculinity Undone

Masculinity Undone (2020)

What have you been up to since graduating?

After finishing my three years at Plymouth College of Art I have been lucky enough to take my work to many employers and had many opportunities given to me. I am hoping to work in a commercial photography studio and work my way up to one day be an art director or occupy my own studio where I can create work for clients and companies around the world.

Plymouth College of Art taught me that it’s ok to be different and that hard work really pays off, I mean who would have thought my image would have been chosen to advertise what’s possible at the college!

You can keep up to date with Tilly’s work on Instagram.

The BA (Hons) Commercial Photography course offers the opportunities and expertise to help you find success in today’s dynamic and competitive photographic industry. If you would like to find out more about applying, check out our How to Apply page.