If you travel through Woking station, you might have noticed the footbridge is looking a little bit more colourful these days. We collaborated with UCA Farnham's MFA photography department to cover the walls in a pop-up exhibition of photographs exploring the them of 'Flora', as a satellite branch of the students' current exhibition in the Art Fund Prize Gallery at The Lightbox. We wanted to know more about the stunning photographs that make up the two exhibitions, so this week on the blog, a few of the the students explain all.

Ally Robinson - Water Meets Sky

The image I chose for the ‘Flora’ exhibit is from a collection called ‘When Earth Meets Sky’. The work explores the fragile relationship we have with our environment, a subject that is close to my heart. I worry about the future and the impact our behaviour is having on our planet.

There are two lakes close to where I live; I have explored them both extensively over the past few years. Walking around them always has a calming effect, they creating an escape from the everyday stresses of life. The image ‘Water Meets Sky’ is made up of several layers; trees appear like hands holding the water and sky. They are meshed together but out of their natural context and realigned. 

I recently completed my MFA at UCA Farnham in photography. As a photographer I feel a responsibility to produce work that not only creates a dialogue but also highlights a variety of issues.

Jordan Oakley - Am I good enough now?

Photography allows me to visually comment on the social climate of the environment I have grown up in. I reflect on personal experiences and build my work up from there, ‘Am I good enough now?’ is a reflection on growing up as a female in a small community which has structured gender stereotypes. It is me projecting my voice and saying yes, I am a female, but I won’t just be a wife or a mother. I am also a photographer, a thinker and most importantly I am me.

My work is based on social issues surrounding women in today’s society. I have focused on intimacy, social control and the female body, exploring themes of frustration, anxiety and suffocation. My desire is to take control of this space in response to society’s strictures in relation to women’s lives. I deploy a constructed approach to photography using a strong colour palette. My images evoke a dystopian vision, disrupting everyday pictures of women.

I developed my interest in photography from a young age and was given my first Pentax camera from my Grandfather in 2002.


Yasmin Stephens - Paradise Found

Yasmin Stephens' work 'Paradise Found' focuses on cultivated environments. Her main inspiration for this body of work stemmed from recovery from illness and the relationship Yasmin has with eating disorders. This work acts as a self exploration where Yasmin looks at the effects of the urban environment in relation to health, introducing the landscape associated with freedom within this environment. 

Yasmin Stephens creates work which deal with personal issues and expresses this with performative and constructed photographic pieces. Her recent works include `To Know the Unknown’ which looks at Yasmin’s relationship to her heritage, and the work above 'Paradise Found'. 



Ying Gao

Taken in an ancient park in Chengdu in Southwest China, the image is reminiscent of traditional Chinese paintings, in which trees were painted to symbolically represent the thoughts and ideas of intellectuals. Their strength and independent thought is represented as thin trunks growing tall and straight.

Ying Gao has just obtained her MFA in photography from University for the Creative arts and is currently an Artist in Residence at UCA. She is continuing doing her documentary project about Chinese diaspora cultural identity, in which she is exploring and deconstructing the notion of Chinese cultural identity or ‘Chineseness’ amongst Chinese immigrants living in and around the London area.


Claire Maxfield - Eden

This image is from a scanned transparency taken at the Eden Project in Cornwall. It depicts a small art installation set within the foliage of the plants. I chose this to exhibit as it portrays art within nature, the details of the art work bring a stark contrast to the fronds of the leaves, and the shallow depth of field makes us feel that we are spying through a window into an exotic scene. The photograph is displayed as if it is a large window in the station, I thought this was appropriate.

My inspiration has come from the everyday, the vernacular. It has always been the seemingly insignificant details of life that I’m compelled to photograph. A record. A true proof of just being alive. I photograph my children, friends, family and their interactions. I photograph odd things that I discover or that I find interesting, colours and textures, contrasts in materials.

Su Ji - I don't know how to fall in love

I chose to submit this piece because I want to see if a large photo could give me more power or not. I grew up in an environment of domestic violence, last year my parents broke up and that led me to think, how did I grow up in this environment? What did I learn? Family is the product of society. Violence is a product of the spirit. I am a product of domestic violence. "I" is shaped like me, I have such a spiritual world, this is what experience has taught me. My worldview has been formed through domestic violence.

My work I don’t know how to fall in love recreates a childhood memory of domestic violence, using photographic print and paint to explore anxiety and stress. I conducted a second creation, because in my youth, when I was anxious, I painted on the paper repetitively and forcefully. I drew pictures in the photo, I chose a large size print, visually shocking. Drawing this action comes from the past. I chose red and white, because the red blood sprays like you could feel hurt, and the white means keep safe.

Visit the exhibitions open at The Lightbox and Woking Station now to see more.

UCA Farnham Photography Show at The Lightbox

Flora at Woking Station