#17 The Graduate Issue

The students graduating in 2022 have studied over years marked by the Covid pandemic and a period of intense ethical examination in photography and beyond. We celebrate the work of ten image-makers from around the world who have grappled with the challenges to produce outstanding work.

Austin Cullen, Jana Islinger, Abdulhamid Kircher, Erin Lee, Ali Mohamed, RoN, Victoria Ruiz, Anna Sellen, Ruben Storey, Vera Yijun Zhou.

The selected projects employ a wide range of artistic approaches, from straight documentary to the deeply personal and the staged. But each reflects a thoughtful response to issues affecting contemporary society and politics, and a flair for communicating with images.

Special thanks to the selection panel including: Jermaine Francis, photographer; Kobi Prempeh, curator Fynn Studio; Sabrina Citra, Photoworks Writer in Residence 2022; and Julia Bunnemann, Photoworks Curator.

Thank you to our partner Spectrum Photographic for selecting one lucky graduate for print support; three other graduates will receive mentoring from Photoworks.

 Droa – Georgia on the move

Georgia, among the easternmost countries of Europe, is caught between historical Russian influence and a pro-Western dream of Europe – a tension that is evident across its entire society. Droa, which translates as ‘it’s time’, is a photographic search for the country’s identity. Georgia’s transition from its Soviet legacy to the supposedly independent contemporary era is a central theme in Jana Islinger’s series. She spent time with people who are struggling under capitalism, lagging behind the changes in their country and finding comfort in their faith. Islinger also met those who were born in independent Georgia, who fight for self-determined lives far from the conservative views of the older generation and support the country’s accession to the EU. Droa also considers the breakaway territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which fell into a war of secession due to Russia’s influence, and studies the various parties and organisations fighting against powerful elites in Georgia in a bid to liberalise the country.

© Jana Islinger. Lika, 21 years old, in her apartment Vaziani, Georgia. From the series Droa –Georgia on the move, 2022

Jana Islinger (born 1999) graduated from the Faculty of Design at the Munich University of Applied Sciences in 2022. Islinger focuses on portrait and documentary photography, and mainly explores socially relevant topics and issues. Her past projects include work shot with a Hare Krishna community in the Bavarian Forest, two Montessori schools in Tanzania and young single mothers in Germany. Islinger is based in Munich

© Jana Islinger. Vaziani was a prosperous settlement for soldiers during the Soviet era. The military base is only a short distance away and is still in operation but today the settlement is decayed, and many of those who live there are currently unemployed. Nevertheless, the solidarity and cohesion within the community is very strong. Vaziani, Georgia. From the series Droa –Georgia on the move, 2022

Thanks to Spectrum Photographic, Photoworks’ official print partner

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