Usman’s New Focus story


Hi guys! My name is Usmaan Arshad and I am an alumni of New Focus, Impressions Gallery’s young people’s group.


Why I joined

I was volunteering for the ‘Bradford Pride of Place project’ originally and found out about New Focus through that. I was curious to see if there were more events and projects happening within New Focus and if it was something that I would be interested in.


What I got out of it

I was involved with the production of films and funding videos for future projects and this helped to get some extra experience in the technical aspect of filming. It was also great to meet other like-minded people who had creative ideas from different backgrounds.


Why I would recommend it

New Focus is ideal for you if you’re interested in trying something new whilst having fun along the way with some friendly faces. It provides you with useful working experience that can be useful for future job opportunities or to further your own interest in the arts.


To find out more, get in touch via social media or email before the 20 February. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to meet exciting and successful artists whilst gaining skills in areas such as film making, photography and blogging.

For more information, you can visit Impressions Gallery’s website here


Asiya’s New Focus story

I’m Asiya Hussain I joined New Focus Impressions Gallery’s young people’s collective when I was 20!


Why I joined

I joined New Focus because I had an interest in the arts and I thought it would be a great opportunity to gain new skills within a professional environment that could become applicable for future job opportunities and to further my interest for my own creative arts ambitions.


What I got out of it

New Focus has introduced a multitude of opportunities for me to really get involved with and I’m still a bit star-struck at what I’ve managed to achieve throughout my journey. My dream was always to get published and New Focus has given me the opportunity to do this, through our recent Heritage Lottery project No Man’s Land. This project has given me opportunities I would never of imagined, I was invited to a parliamentary reception at the House of Commons, asked to speak on the Imperial War Museum Facebook Live on International Women’s Day and invited to Westminster Abbey for the special Armistice Thanksgiving. For me New Focus has been incredibly rewarding and has opened up doors to opportunities I would never of got otherwise. Massive thank you to the team at Impressions for being totally awesome!


Why I would recommend it

New Focus will open up your world to new experiences and creative networks. If you’re the type of person who wants to try something new and you’re eager to make creative projects with like-minded people, then I would definitely recommend joining New Focus. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity get in touch before the 20 February!


To find out more, get in touch via social media or email before the 20 February. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to meet exciting and successful artists whilst gaining skills in areas such as film making, photography and blogging.

For more information, you can visit Impressions Gallery’s website here


Be part of something bigger in 2019, join our team today!

A new year means a New Focus

Are you aged 16 to 25, do you live, work or study in Bradford? Join our team today!

This January and February we will be sharing our New Focus stories, stay tuned in and find out how New Focus could help you reach your creative potential.

To find out more, get in touch via social media or email before the 20 February. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to meet exciting and successful artists whilst gaining skills in areas such as film making, photography and blogging.

For more information, you can visit Impressions Gallery’s website here

Interviewing Chloe Dewe Mathews

To coincide with the exhibition In Search of Frankenstein, we made a short film which focuses on the photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews and her thoughts on the exhibition. We were really excited to make the film as we wanted to know more about the thought process behind the photographs and her experience of travelling to Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps.


Image Thoughts

Poem by Nazish Majid inspired by the work of Sam Laughlin in JPAwards 2018

Deer browse-line (various species)_lores

You stare at me long enough for me to make you believe that you’ll see
you then think you hear a song whispering forming from the breeze
You know it’s not from your world, you can’t take your eyes away from me as I seem to have captured you in my world.
My branches move of their own, leaves float down and around you, the breeze picks up and the distant song, no longer distant, but a clear melody of mother nature.
Sound of rustling from my leaves make you wonder if I can hear thoughts.
Only you seemed to be the only being not moving, the only one who will let yourself stand there admiring me and your surroundings, the only one who will accept and appreciate what you see.
You then look from left to right expecting someone from your world to be here as well, but you’re the only one here.
The song much louder now seems to have drawn you in further as you walk closer to me steadily and quietly as though I’m a deer who needs to be treated with care and love. More leaves swirl down and around you like a mini tornado as you approach me.
The leaves give off a shade of orange fire sparkling in the sun making it appear it’s raining sparks.
You are inches away from feeling the rough texture underneath you as it’s all you seem or want to know, to understand, to embrace the beauty surrounding you.
All your worries and doubt are no longer aware in your mind.
Leaving your mind to leave room for curiosity which grows with what you see.
Your touch now on my branches so gentle and delicate as though I could disappear with a blink of an eye, you stand there with the look of safety and home in your eye.
The glowing leaves swirling faster and brighter around you are making it suddenly hard for you to make my patterns, the feel of texture and the beauty of the surroundings you are becoming blurry, the song which sounded like a choir now a whisper to nothing.
No longer being able to hear or see, then a loud crackle noise from the speaker announcing the exhibition closing.
You blink and realise you are back in the room full of chatty people leaving, you stare back at the image wanting to be back in that place, but knowing that I will be here waiting for you. You seemed reassured knowing that and still a little dazed in what you saw and wishing to be here again you left the room with everyone else, the image being there so clearly in your mind.


Image: © Sam Laughlin, Deer browse-line, from the series A Certain Movement

Review of Jerwood/Photoworks Awards: new work by Alejandra Carles-Tolra, Sam Laughlin and Lua Ribeira, by Kanwal Hussain

We were delighted to meet the Jerwood Photoworks Awardees at Impressions Gallery and are grateful for everything they have shared with us about their most recent projects, showcasing at Impressions currently. The three Awardees were selected from over 350 artists and all three photographers have created an exciting, diverse range of work; themes explored are death, belonging and the fragility of the natural world. It is interesting to see how each photographer’s individual interest has resulted in equally innovative outcomes!


In conversation with the Jerwood Photoworks Awardees at the Impressions Gallery (from right, Shoair Mavlian, Director of Photoworks, with Photographers: Sam Laughlin, Lua Ribera and Alejandra Carles-Tolra)Enter a caption

Photographer 1 – Lua Ribeira

‘For me photographing is freedom’ – Lua Ribeira

Lua Ribeira’s work brings the viewer to be curious around the intriguing scenarios presented. Ribeira’s work is motivated by a desire to escape from reality and a longing for mythological significance in contemporary life. She questions her own Catholic teachings about death and creates imagery around the subject of the myth of death. To me, her work goes against the dark, dull and morbid nature of death. She presents it as colourful, bold and striking. There is definitely drama in the way her photographs are composed and the way she has included dramatic characters are which add to the meaning of her work. Lua Ribeira really plays with the topic of death and the ultimate purpose of this work is to let the viewer wonder and think for themselves and perhaps to look at death in a different way than we have been historically taught.

03 Pesadilla Ligera - Subida al Cielo_preview.jpeg

© Lua Ribeira, Pesadilla Ligera (Weightless Nightmare), from the series Subida al Cielo

Photographer 2- Alejandra Carles-Tolra

‘I am interested in trying to challenge stereotypes ‘- Alejandra Carles-Tolra

I am personally very fascinated by Alejandra Carles-Tolra’s work after having a conversation with the artist. She has explored identity though photographing a community of ‘Janeites’ who celebrate Jane Austen’s work, dressing up in Regency period clothing and performing activities to keep the novelist’s words alive. The artist Alejandra has called this series ‘Where We Belong’ as she is interested in how this ‘community has created their own ‘Jane Austen’ world and is living in their moment within the 21st century’. Her work is shot in a theatrical-like scenario and looks fictitious, which allows the people within to live in their own little imaginary world; which in actuality her models of ‘Janeites’ are already doing.


Photographer 3 – Sam Laughlin

‘I have to do a lot of walking and looking to see what is happening in the landscape’- Sam Laughlin

Sam Laughin’s photographs can be seen as a comment on environmental issues such as loss of habitat and urbanisation. His work explores a completely different theme from the other photographs and his photographs are extraordinary. Sam photographs in black and white, in which he does not give too much away to the viewer. The importance of his work is what he has photographed opposed to the details of how it looks.

Sam says ‘The behaviours we see are adaptations that have evolved to suit an ecological niche. The word ‘niche’ is derived from the French ‘nicher’ which means ‘to make a nest’. Like a nest, an animal’s niche offers protection and slows survival, but can easily be disturbed’.




Freedom is for everyone – poem by Nazish Majid

New Focus member Nazish Majid wrote a poem called Freedom is for Everyone inspired by her experience of making the No Man’s Land book. Nazish preformed her poem at the WOW (Women of the World) Festival open mic event and the special Time for Tea event at Impressions Gallery on Friday 1 December 2017. Read her fantastic poem below


Freedom is for everyone

This applies to women too

Time to let women show what they are capable of

Women have the right to choose

Women can decide what they want to do

Freedom is for everyone

These men run off to protect the country

But who is going to protect them

To look after the injured

To look after their pride when they return

That role will fall onto the hands of women

But you must remember they have dreams like anyone else

Those dreams can lead to women becoming many things

It’s up to women to decide:

Whether to join the army

Whether to become an astronaut

Whether to become a photographer

Women can do what they enjoy

Others might not approve

But only you know what you want to do

Only you can decide what you want to do

Only you know your heart desires.



This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme