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20 June 2017

From family holidays to the Holden Gallery: Jake Macleod talks influences, process and BA Photography

Part of the Degree Show series

To celebrate the Manchester School of Art Degree Show, we will be sharing the experiences and opinions of some of the over 1000 artists and designers exhibiting. Previously, we featured Interactive Arts student Alecs Pierce. In this instalment, photographer Jake Macleod shares the development of his practice form his earliest influences to currently exhibited pieces.

Taking inspiration from family trips

‘My interest in photography was shaped over the years by my dad and granddads slight interest in the medium.

They were always shooting old SLR’s on family holidays in Europe (pretty badly) and when I was young, I think I remember enjoying the mechanism and loud shutters.

From there, it slowly became my go to piece of equipment for making visuals. I was always intrigued by photographic detail and lighting, I’ve always been attracted to the way it can alter a sense of reality, something that the eye sometimes cannot.’

Exhibiting, bookmaking, printing, framing and portfolio-ing

‘The Photography course at Manchester School of Art is great, as they really care about the output of your work as well as the meaning behind it.

When I say output, I mean the importance of exhibiting, bookmaking, printing, framing and portfolio-ing, etc. We have had numerous exhibitions over the years, making us all pretty equipped to know how it goes down in the real world. With the meaning behind the work, they don’t push you to make pretty pictures; they push you to make more interesting and thought provoking imagery. It was hard at points, but pretty damn good by the end of it.’

Combining photography and metalwork

‘My final year study has focused on the traditions and conventions of portraiture. Through using numerous techniques such as defying the studio, making moving imagery, augmented reality and building backdrops, my work has been questioning what portraiture could be rather than what it is.

‘My final pieces were quite process led, copper metal came in as a key part of the final production. This is actually another good factor of the School; the facilities all over the building are hugely helpful to get to where you want to be. In my case, it was working in the metal workshop to create the copper prints for my final show.’

Learning from staff, external speakers and external speakers

‘The staff on the photography course have been so helpful, as well as staff all over the School. The spread of knowledge in different fields from individual tutors makes it really easy to extract the stuff you want to learn.

The photography course is also amazing for the amount of guest speakers and lecturers that come in externally. I must say though, you learn more at art school from the other students around you – that is what it is really about.’

You can see Jake's work in our Degree Show until 21 June. You can see more of his work on his website (www.jakemac.co.ukand Instagram profile (@jake.maccy).