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Alexandra Lethbridge - Guest Lecturer

Alexandra Lethbridge is a British conceptual artist that came in to give a talk to us and talk about our work with us. Lethbridge works within photography and installation. She uses found and appropriated imagery, within sculpture, still and moving image. 

The most common theme of her work is a recurring theme in deception, misdirection, misinformation, visual truth and congestive processing. Much of her work is based on scientific research and experiments a lot through her work. Lethbridge was born in Japan and lived there till the age of ten when she moved to England. She continued her education in England and studied at Winchester School of Art, doing a BA in graphic arts specialising in photography. 

Which overall impacted the style and outcomes of her artistic work. Once completing her education at university Lethbridge travelled to New York. Where at a talk by Joel Meyerowitz, she managed to talk to him and get a job working as an assistant at his studio. 

This was her first job out of university and only came about by her having the courage to talk to Joel in person. Throughout her talk she kept mentioning that you have to be brave, bold and ask to get the outcomes you want. Also to deal with rejection get over it and try again, which she learnt from her own experiences developing her career.  

While doing this job as an assistant in Meyerowitz’s studio, Lethbridge also did evening classes at the international centre of photography. Which later led her to doing a full time course, which Lethbridge did for a year before moving back to England. Before moving back Lethbridge spoke to us about how she created a list of photographers in England that she would consider working with.

By making this list she reached out and got in contact with them one at a time to try and get a job. Deciding first to email Tim Walker, she was rejected due to the team that worked with Walker not needing anyone at the current time, but she emailed back to ask if the lady that emailed her back needed any help in the office instead of assisting in the studio, which led to a job for her. The job was only two days a week so Lethbridge needed another job. Lethbridge applied to be a studio assistant to Venetia Dearden, later leading to her becoming studio manager for Venetia. 

After working for two and a half years in London, Lethbridge decided to do MA at the University of Brighton. 

Lethbridge, after creating numerous bodies of work since university and working for a number of other photographers, she went through an area of her life of reaching  a point of not wanting to take photos and had to be inspired again. Lethbridge said to us that if we ever hit a point like this that we had to keep going, keep making, keep playing and experimenting. It can have a huge impact and development to your style and photography. 

The first project of hers that she spoke to us about was “The Meteorite Hunter” - Which was a body of work that documented artefacts found, both over looked and celebrated through the process. When presenting the work Lethbridge aimed to tell the audience what are and aren’t meteorites that way people spend longer working it out for themselves, thereby looking at the work for longer. The work was short listed and was shown in a book at “Paris Photo”- a photo festival in Paris. 

Later the work was shown at a castle that was also a space museum. This moved the work away to another audience who would see it due to it not being typically gallery space.If people do not go to galleries. 

Later speaking about another project called - “The path to  an honest man” which shows a non - verbal communication defined by gesture and body language. Informing the way we understand, interpret and misinterpret each other. 

The talk by Lethbridge, inspired me to look into other areas of photography to work in.To look into and research, to keep my mind open to more skills and areas that I could consider working in full time or part time along side my own photography. Not only this but Lethbridge, brought the idea of being a curator or gallery manager to my mind due to her work within galleries. Having curated on an exhibition myself, her talk went in to more detail about the possible job and helped me to deeply consider the idea, as an aspect to work towards after university. 

Research tips - 

  • Ties to history of photography 
  • Helps make you a more well rounded practitioner 
  • Things that inspire write down when pop in head - think of it not laborious

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