FORMAT Graduates Award 2018

  • Philip Barker name
  • Philip Barker
  • Philip Barker 2
  • Philip Barker 3
  • Jack Johnson name
  • Jack Johnson
  • Jack Johnson 2
  • Jack Johnson 3
  • Holly McGhee name
  • Holly McGhee
  • Holly McGhee
  • Holly McGhee
  • Alex o'neil name
  • Alexander O'Neill
  • Alexander O'Neill 2
  • Alexander O'Neill 3
  • Hannah Smith name
  • Hannah Smith
  • Hannah Smith 2
  • Hannah Smith 3
  • Alice Young name
  • Alice Young
  • Alice Young 2
  • Alice Young 3

FORMAT Graduates Award 2018

Philip Barker, Jack Johnson, Holly McGhee, Alexander O’Neill, Hannah Smith, Alice Young

Each year FORMAT International Photography Festival selects the best photography students from the University of Derby degree shows. This year’s award artists, selected in 2017, were all part of the BA Photography degree and represent the superb quality of work being produced by students at the University.

The six selected artists work will be showcased here on the FORMAT website and via the FORMAT social media feeds; the six artists will also be invited to take over our social media feeds during the Off Year Programme.

In addition to this the selected artists will receive one-to-one mentoring on their work from the FORMAT team.


Philip Barker
Throughout my three years of studying Photography at the University of Derby I found myself always looking back to my rural upbringing, and the relationship I have with the ever-changing view of the agricultural landscape.

I continued to look back at how the previous generations and the destructive nature of harvesting the lands natural resources.

My project Scarred Landscapes was captured on analogue 5X4 Film where it explores the way humans have influenced and morphed the surrounding landscape to create a tailor-made habitat. Examining the constant rivalry between man and nature, this work focuses on how people have always prioritised the extraction of useable resources before the natural qualities of the landscape. Once these resources have been extracted these landscapes are then abandoned allowing them to recover and attempt to reclaim the title of natural. These landscapes are then scarred with unnatural features that become a synthetic “natural” landscape.

Exploring this idea of a synthetic landscape took me to strip lynches, these are a method of hill farming that dates back to Anglo-Saxon Britain, where land dug out of the hillside created multi-layered platforms allowing the growth and harvest of crops upon the steep hillsides. This labour-intensive process is still very visible today all along the British hillsides, though often is mistaken for modern method. I then began to take the physicality of this destructive method and using it as a working process that is applied to my prints creating a physical layer to the images that obscures the modern management to then highlight the strip lynches. This notion of ‘palimpsest’ (a laying, rendering, erasing and re-laying process) applied to the rural landscape of the Yorkshire Dale highlights the presence of its medieval history that lies beneath it. 

Phil Barker Biography
Raised on a Farm in North Yorkshire I began photographing aged 14. It was at this point I was hooked, even though those photos were all poorly exposed and edited.

I then went on to study GCSE art, A-level Photography and began to look for work experience within photography. I recently graduated from the BA Hon Photography course from the University of Derby.

Throughout the course I was always trying new aspects of photography ranging from commercial work, volunteering in previous Format events and Exhibiting in shows of my own.

I am currently working as a Photographer at Future Publishing, alongside doing my own freelance commissions.  I am constantly producing new work and projects so please do have a look at my website, keep updated and feel free to contact me.
Instagram: @prbarkerphotography


Jack Johnson
Potty Training
Public Order Training is a series of mandatory drills known amongst the police officers as Potty Training. The photographs take us inside a Public Order Training facility at RAF Cosford which is based in Wolverhampton. Cosford enables officers to play out scenarios in a controlled environment, giving them the knowledge and confidence to tackle any situation presented to them on the streets. This includes training in large-scale disorders and chemical warfare alongside teaching in Tasers and firearms.

Inside the facility, the space attempts to mimic real life surroundings. With Large cement walls, small claustrophobic rooms and an essence of a functioning society with pub signs and house doors, everything has been designed with an intention.

There are tell-tale signs that give a clear indication that public order training has taken place; these include burn marks, dents and Taser barbs. The images proceed to question why the facility is designed the way it is and what this says about our society.

Jack Johnson Biography
My practice as an image-maker mainly falls under the documentary photography category. I see documentary photography as an opportunity, to give people an insight to a world they are not familiar with. I apply this concept to all of my work so it is at the base of all of my ideas. Many of my projects have consisted of documenting how certain built environments can control and influence behaviour. I believe that there are many environments that can affect us in many different ways when we, as individuals or in groups, are located in that specific space. They can impact us by changing the way we feel, affecting the way we respond and in some rehabilitation cases; they can also shape our future. Alongside this, I enjoy travelling and documenting what public environments are like in different cities and often countries. I enjoy this as I feel it broadens my understanding of people’s way of living around the world and photography allows my audience to see this as well. Website:
Instagram: @jackjohnsonphoto


Holly McGhee
Society’s pressure on the ‘ideal body’ hasn’t gone unnoticed, it sets unrealistic and potentially dangerous goals that women are provoked to undertake. Women are continuously bombarded by media representations as to how they should transform themselves, which corresponds with my use of glass vases as a referent to the female figure. By introducing a variety of vase shapes, it aims to represent the female figure as a vessel. These have been filled with substances that relate to dietary techniques and conditions, e.g. fad diet plans, bulimia etc. The items within the vases are over spilling to illustrate the continuous and over-loading pressure that women must undertake to feel the innermost satisfaction inspired and conditioned by society. The floral design on the tablecloth is colour matched with the items within the vase. This acts as a metaphor for the displacement of the flowers, a universal symbol of femininity, which in ordinary circumstances should be in the vase. Each vase contains an allegorical visual legacy of the pursuit of rapid weight loss – no matter the consequences.

Instagram: h.mcgheephotography


Alexander O’Neill
This work is an interactive documentation of flamboyant self-portraits. These self-portraits are superimposed into specific locations where I have unfortunately experienced homophobia and negative attitude towards my identity and appearance. These social prejudices are directed towards my transgression of binary heteronormative presentations. By placing multiple locations into an illusionary reality, I am transcending discrimination and reclaiming my liberty of expression through an alternative, queer utopia. 

Alexander O’Neill Biography
I am an installation artist that graduated with a First-Class Honours from the University of Derby. My degree show project received the Award for Innovation. Gender identity, sexuality and illusionary realities are recurring themes that I attempt to address my work in. Within my practice I explore various representations of gender and sexuality in order to participate in the discourse of queer visibility. The purpose of the alternative realities originates from the evolution of digital technology, and the relationship this has with culture and creativity. My future plans are to study a Masters degree in photography in order to expand on my knowledge of interactive and multimedia artwork.


Hannah Smith
The Malfunction Model

Vision is often regarded as an objective means of sensory perception. However, there are many variables that suggest that vision is far from a constant means of perceiving the world that we inhabit. This work is an attempt to portray the condition visually and aurally of Palinopsia, a visual disturbance, which generates a fragmentation and recurrence of visual phenomena that appears within the field of vision after the stimulus that produced the initial image has passed. The use and misuse of visual and aural technologies, the bending of media and imagery, the production of artefacts and distortions is an attempt to represent the sense of disorientation produced by this condition.

Hannah Smith Biography
Hannah Smith is a multimedia and installation artist. She graduated from the University of Derby in 2017 with a First-Class Honours in BA (Hons) Photography. Presented with an Award for Writing Photography and The Dean’s Commendation – 2017, she further plans to apply for a MA course specialising in ‘Fashion Communication’ at the University of the Arts London. The course which opens a broad variety of fashion related communication, with pathways ranging from traditional and/ or digital focused image-makers. Hannah intends to bring her knowledge within multimedia and photography, to additionally examine platforms for communicating contemporary fashion through the distinctive relationship of art and immersive installation.


Alice Young
‘At Young’s, our ideology is that nothing is more important than the food on your plate. Specialising in authentic soups, gravies and stocks in mouth-watering chicken, cow, pig, sheep and horse flavours, Young’s range offers a little more depth to your favourite meals. Our aim is to eliminate the concept that only certain animals are deemed appropriate to consume. By including a limited horse edition, everyone has access to the taste of unrestricted animal flavours!‘

I have created this fictional company to make reference to the relationship we have with meat and animals; alongside the reality of animal husbandry and the commercialisation of the meat industry. Young’s, in essence, deals with the serious issue regarding meat production and the disconnection between meat and animals themselves. This is done through humorous language and a parody of animal-based products.

Alice Young Biography
Within Western society the consumption of meat as part of an everyday diet is the norm. All too often, people tell me “I just couldn’t live without bacon”, but why? The reality is that generally, meat eaters within our society tend not to consider the products they are consuming and the means by which the animals have been produced.

My aim as a humane artist is to highlight the unthinking callousness of animal husbandry and the emotional disconnect between people and animals/meat. My aim is to engage thought, which is often shied away from, as to what really goes into a meal.
Instagram: youngs_alice


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