Cold Shoe Graduation Exhibition (2023)

Photography is in crisis. Apparently. Although I thought it was in crisis last year, and the year before that, and the year before that too. Photography, it seems, is like Lazarus. If only it would stay dead. First, it was video, then digital images and image manipulation. Now it’s AI that supposedly threatens to bury photography once and for all. Of course, such statements are largely meaningless. Art theorists are nothing if not melodramatic, and it’s far more eye-catching to claim the medium is on the verge of death than it is to point out what’s actually happening: That our relationship to photography is changing, as it has been ever since the first images were fixed onto glass plates.

There’s a lot here, ranging from the traditional to the unexpected, a tour of the landscape of contemporary photography in 10 artists. The course may have cut its teeth with social realism back in the 70s, but in a world where consensus based reality no longer exists, such terms no longer hold much meaning. Instead the work on show here is experimental and confrontational, questioning themes of identity and representation, bursting out of the frame into other discipline and turning the camera back onto the medium itself. Some might dismiss such a variety of styles and disciplines as confused or overly eclectic, but they would be wrong. This is photography at its most profound, at its strangest and most sobering extremes and - crucially - at its most alive.

- Sam Gillibrand, on behalf of the Doc Phot class of 2023.


Bella Macauley
Callie Gale
Ellen Budd
Joseph Robertson
Louis McAllister
Finn Green
Robin Chaddah-Duke
Sam Gillibrand
Sadhbh Lynam
Yasmina Husin