From April 9th to April 10th, 2022, Rankin’s Maryland Studio in London became a playground for emerging image-making artists whose graduating shows were disrupted due to the Covid pandemic so breaking down the barriers between established and emerging arts and highlighting the value new voices have to contemporary culture.
As the founder of the Dazed & Confused magazine, which began as a small university zine when he was a student at the London College of Printing (now London College of Communication), Rankin Waddell is a great inspiration for emerging artists beginning their journey into the industry.
When asked what advise he would give to aspiring photographers, Rankin replies to experiment a lot because photography is a visceral, instantaneous process. One should not talk about it or try to theorise it; instead, one should go and make it again and again and again, since repetition makes it better. He also advises taking risks and never feeling comfortable since comfort is dangerous. Another crucial factor to consider is storytelling and contextualising the images. Authenticity is also essential in photography because it relies on the very human sense of honesty and believability. Finally, when asked if he preferred film or digital, he stated, “film makes you think, digital makes you good.”
The exhibition “Visual Noise” is a great opportunity for the new generation of artists to connect and grow together. Standing next to the eye-catching works of the graduates, I met award-winning fashion photographer Andrew Quinn, who was featured in The Guardian for the Portrait of Britain 2021 with their portrait of Dame Vivienne Westwood outside London’s Arms Fair, where she was protesting against the global sales of weapons. Andrew says they love location shooting and taking people’s portraits in natural light using film and digital, centring their work around gender neutrality in fashion.
Malena Heldmann, a multidisciplinary art director with a background in communication design, presents “Nocturnal Mysteries,” a creative response to our fast-paced life where productivity is the final measure of everything, resulting in an unrelenting pressure of failure. Her film investigates how dreams may be used as an overnight therapy and a helpful method of processing emotions. While I was speaking with Malena, Rankin came by and began investigating the topic of dreams, and how one should always keep a notebook on the bedside since the most intriguing ideas occur in dreams.
Suzannah Gabriel, a diverse mixed-media practitioner, presents her project “Black Hurts,” created in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. The project is made up of embroidered portraits of British young adults and their experiences. She describes how exhibiting her project at “Visual Noise” is a terrific chance to demonstrate the prints in physical form, and especially how the embroidery she created is a non-replicable personal touch.
Lydia Perez Lopez, a junior art director with backgrounds in fashion photography, graphic design, editorial design, and film, introduces her project “Groupies together outrageously.” Focusing on the music industry and how female listeners and fans are often judged and relegated to the status of groupies with a sexual undertone. Throughout her project, she reclaims that terminology by interviewing and documenting female groupies, which she published in a magazine she designed. Lydia expresses her gratitude for the opportunity to present her work alongside other talented creators, describing it as a fantastic opportunity to network and experience how the audience reacts to the work. Victoria Boissonnas, also known as VICON, translates visually in her project the link between body and mind. Through her illustrations she questions what it means to be a human being and how people react to certain colours and shapes. She designed an Instagram filter of her illustrations and visually represented emotions through a photoshoot.
Like everyone in this industry I had to get my start somewhere. I was lucky enough to find a community of artists, stylists, writers and musicians all launching themselves into the world at the same time as me. By bringing artists together from different universities and backgrounds I hope we can help build a new community of artists who will grow together over the coming decades. “Visual Noise” is giving me a chance to extend a hand to the next generation.
“Don‘t shoot what is popular, but focus rather on the bizarre things in the world; you should work on your own vision and approach to photography since the great thing about it is the photographer’s perspective on the world.”
Words: Eleonora Frattini / @eleo.noa
Artists featured: @isabelmaccarthy, @lydsliz,
@malenaheldmann, @colette.collective, @chaherigee
Meet all the artists: Maryland Studio