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.

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© 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


No Man’s Land – the journey to our publication by Sonal Mistry

Now that the publication has been launched it’s time to rewind and rejoice the journey we have been on for the past year and a half. Through this time New Focus have been on several adventures across the country as well as building a stronger relationship as a team with each other. This project began with Jen, Learning and Engagment Manager and Pippa Oldfield Head of Programme discussing  a potential project with us, about women in First World War. At Firs we wernet sure but after a wider discussion with Pippa telling us more about the stories behing individual images we slowly all became to  love the idea and were really  excited about it and the audience we could engage with it. It grabs your attention and pulls you in to find out new information!

From the first meeting, we then spent time learning about the exhibition ‘No Man’s Land’ and thinking about what we as a team would like to create in relation to the topic. We created a funding video to apply to the  Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots scheme, which we have been very grateful for, during the entirety of the project!! We couldn’t have explored or learnt as much as we have without their support.

Once we knew we were successful with our application, Jen then recruited new members to join in the project and get more opinions involved. The project began!! We gathered information around the exhibition and explored different ways in which the exhibition could help us with our research and project. We got the chance to explore the archives at the Peace Museum in Bradford, The Brotherton Library (The Liddle Collection) at the University of Leeds, and the Imperial War Museum in London. After each visit we reflected on the research found and the photographs and albums we had been given access to about the women photographers.

Once our research trips were complete, the publication planning began. We started thinking about how we wanted to gather all the information we had discovered, and all voted on which photographs we wanted to go in our publication. During this we all kept in mind which aspects would best convey our message and the information we had gathered. Everyone was given a task of collating the research we found and writing short paragraphs about each photographer which would then be used within the publication.

The publication layout and design began!! We had several meetings addressing how we would like the information to be presented and everyone preferred the idea of having more images and visuals to text within the publication. We worked with designer Andy Edwards and we got to choose the colours and the layout of the pages, as well as which photographs were used and the running order of our women photographers. Once we were all happy with the layout and what we were going to present through our design, the publication was sent to Evolution print, in Sheffield!! We got a once in a lifetime chance to see the publication on press and it was incredible!!

The publication arrived at the Impressions Gallery and we were all super excited!! It looks amazing!! All we needed to do now was add the final touches to the publication and then we were ready for the launch. The launch event was amazing and the reception we were given made us all proud and emotional at the same time!!

The journey doesn’t stop there…. we are now in the process of distributing the publication to all secondary schools and libraries in Bradford and will be organising workshops and activities with schools to get them engaged with the publication and the information it contains. The publication will go touring with the exhibition which is exciting and amazing because we will reach a higher target audience and more people will get to see our publication!!

Everyone is super proud of what we have accomplished as a team and the journey we have taken. We set out wanting to bring history into a visual medium through this project and creating awareness as well as learn ourselves about the roles of women photographers in the First World War. We hope you like our publication and the journey we have taken to­ bring this information to life!! You can view a digital version of our publication below.

Sonal Mistry

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

Publication Launch by Sonal Mistry

The day has come, the day of the official launch!! On the 6th of October team New Focus officially launched our ‘No Mans Land’ publication!! It was such an incredible experience and a great summary to the journey we have been on for the past year and a half as a team!! From the early stages of creating our funding video where the idea of a publication came about, to then actually presenting this amazing piece of design and information to the public was a great achievement for all of us!! We are all very proud of the work and effort that has gone into this project, so being able to officially launch it was amazing for all of us!!

The launch event began with each New Focus member receiving a certificate for their achievement through this project which was presented by Alison Fell who is a professor at the University of Leeds of French cultural history, and the project leader of ‘legacies of war’. Then Anne McNeill the director of the Gallery officially launched our publication!! It was amazing and felt very emotional for us all as the publication includes a part of us all.

As a team we had decided to talk a bit about the project so 3 members of the group, Emily, Asiya and Ione all spoke about different elements and expanded on the journey we have been on together. It was really lovely for us to speak about our personal experiences through this project with New Focus member Ione commenting that “New focus has given her a ‘new focus’, and to her, new focus is a family”. This was quite nostalgic as it brought back memories for the team but also gave an idea of the different journeys we had undertaken to produce this contextual publication.

The launch was brilliant and the response we got from the audience was amazing!! We are all super proud and chuffed that our adventure of creating an unconventional and artistic twist to a history book has had such a big appeal and impact on people, especially our target demographic of 14 years and above. We are all really excited to share our publication with the public. We are going to do this through distributing it to libraries, to all high schools within Bradford and by doing workshops and activities with school children to spread the awareness of the publication but especially the information it contains. We loved how busy the event was, and it was super amazing that Hilary Roberts, who is the curator at the Imperial War Museum came all the way from London for the launch too!!

We are all super happy with how the publication has turned out, but this could have never been possible without the full team at the Impressions Gallery!! We would like to give them a huge thank you for their support and giving us such an amazing opportunity to express our voice and be part of this project. We would also like to thank the heritage lottery fund; as without them this project wouldn’t have excelled, the Peace Museum; who let us explore through their archive, the Liddle Collection which is part of the University of Leeds; the place where we discovered Mary Porter, or ‘fluffy’ as she liked to be called. We would also like to thank the Imperial War Museum, Andy Edwards the publication designer and lastly Evolution Print for doing such an amazing job with printing our publication!! This project wouldn’t have been as successful as it has if it wasn’t for these contributors!!

Sonal Mistry

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

Evolution Print visit by Sonal Mistry

On the 20th of September team New Focus had an amazing opportunity to go see our publication on press at Evolution Print in Sheffield. We were given the chance to see a couple of our pages being printed as well as, learn about the printing process of ‘offset lithography’ and experience the CMYK method first-hand within the warehouse. When we arrived at Evolution print we were shown round by some of their amazing staff!! We were shown how original artwork and material gets transferred to the metal plates and how the process used to be carried out when the technique was first developed.

Offset lithography is a process which was first considered in 1875 for printing on tin and in 1904 for printing on paper. This is a method used for mass-production printing where the artwork on the metal plates are transferred (offset) onto rubber blankets / rollers and then to the print media which usually is the paper stock. The main difference between this process in comparison to lithography is that the print media does not come into direct contact with the metal plates when transferring the artwork.

The technique takes use of the CMYK colour method, which was amazing to see being used with each individual plate representing each colour. The order in which the plates are used depends on the individual, however at Evolution print they use it as KCMY, therefore the ‘key’ or black is printed first to create the outline for the artwork.

This was such an amazing opportunity for me and will be helpful for me in the future as I am an illustration student, so to be able to get first-hand experience of how printers work and be able to see the CMYK process was wicked!! I have never seen or used the lithography technique before, so it was ace to experience this and learn about a method I could potentially work with in the future. One of the New Focus members Ben said “It was a fantastic opportunity to see the book going to print, and be able to see the final touches from the initial meeting to now the final book”.

During the experience we also got the opportunity to view the concept of ‘halftoning’ which is used with CMYK printing. This is a concept which cannot be seen by the naked eye as we perceive the colour as a block, but when seen through a special magnifying glass you can see the way the colour block is made up of tiny dots representing each colour; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key in the method.

This was a once in a lifetime experience for us and we are very grateful for Evolution Print to have let us come see their warehouse and how they print material. A very special thank you to Evolution Print for printing our publication and supporting us to communicate such an unconventional subject!! We are all very excited to see the final publication!!

Sonal Mistry

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

Interview on Bradford Community Broadcasting (BCB)

We had the amazing opportunity to go on BCB to talk about the project and invite people to the book launch on Friday 6 October 5pm to 6pm at Impressions. This was the first time I had ever been on the radio and I loved it, massive thank you to BCB for inviting us!

Listen to our interview here!

Ione Collins

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