Free Range 2012 at The Old Truman

Amongst the hustle and bustle of Brick Lane, E1, a quiet buzz has been emanating. Creatives and the curious alike have been flocking to East London’s Old Truman Brewery – an integral part of one of London’s best-known haunts – for the annual Free Range project.

The brainchild of Tamsin O’Hanlon, Free Range offers a platform for graduates across all areas of the arts. With a packed schedule running from May 28 to July 16, Free Range is an innovative yet accessible way of discovering the best new talent Britain has to offer. Whether you’re into fashion, graphics, photography or fine art, Free Range has it all – just be sure to check the timetable online.

June seemed to be the month for photography. With a diverse and eclectic mixture of pieces featured, there was something for everyone. From new takes on fashion photography to the analysis of privacy, all aspects of society were documented – it was a matter of taste that dictated the aspects you chose to look at.

I, personally, was drawn to photographs taken from the viewpoint of others. One graduate, Lauren Lees, focused her project on children, allowing them ‘to decide what photographs to take’. Often dismissed by society, it was interesting to see a child’s opinion of the world. Lees’ project, a collaboration with four children, offered insight into the minds of the young – a surprising mixture of anxiety and youth. Aided by shockingly blunt captions (one photograph of a small child referenced Britain’s ‘fat’ culture), Lees appears to have brought to our attention issues surrounding children and their need to grow up quickly.

Set against the stark white walls of the Brewery, the students’ work can still be absorbed without distraction – allowing you to make your own mind up about the photographers’ intentions. This is especially useful when looking at the work of Lees, as well as other collections looking at issues in society. How would you, for example, react to Patricia Karallis’ shots of those identified as transgender? Or Daniel Mayrit’s carefully constructed street photographs, intended to question not only the use of Google Street View, but also the stereotypes held against his neighbourhood?

This, of course, is the beauty of photography – you can take from it what you want; forge your own ideas. Free Range 2012 is an excellent way of tapping into this.

Go. But hurry – it ends on Monday. Just don’t forget to pick up a few business cards along the way – after all, the Brewery’s vast (and perhaps slightly overwhelming) expansion can allow your mind to wander.

Free Range 2012 runs until July 16 at:

The Old Truman Brewery
91 Brick Lane
E1 6QL

Image  2Become1 by Antonia Dolani

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