#17 The Graduate IssueThe 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.
In 2019, RoN was working in his hometown of Mexico City when a friend told him about cannabis-harvesting work in northern California, which offered the chance to make a lot of money in a short amount of time, as well as a way to travel. It seemed an unmissable opportunity to RoN, who set off shortly afterwards. However, upon arrival he faced hostility from the locals for being a foreigner and a ‘trimmigrant’, a term used to describe immigrants working seasonally in cannabis harvesting. After a few months of intense work, RoN realised he was no longer the same person and remembered a phrase he’d once heard: ‘No one can remain untouched by their surroundings.’ He turned to photography to retain his sense of self, recording his work that year and when he returned to California for two subsequent harvesting seasons. These images reappear as memories, RoN says, confirming his presence in both the past and present.
RoN was born in 1998 in Mexico City, where he still lives and works. He studied photography and film at the School of Photography and Visual Media in Mexico City, graduating in 2022 with two projects, Seasonal Worker and Se Va. RoN’s work, which centres on travelling, does not fall within the typical boundaries of documentary. In addition to photography, he has worked on several audiovisual projects. RoN has asked to remain anonymous.