Barking and Dagenham College photography students present work after art gallery workshop

PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 June 2020 | UPDATED: 07:18 30 June 2020

Emily Smith's self-portrait. Photo: Emily Smith

Emily Smith's self-portrait. Photo: Emily Smith

Emily Smith

Barking and Dagenham College photography students got the chance to present their work to a panel from the Barbican Art Gallery.

A self-portrait of chef Atalanta Robinson. Picture: Atalanta RobinsonA self-portrait of chef Atalanta Robinson. Picture: Atalanta Robinson

They took part in a virtual workshop led by the gallery and assistant curator Chris Bayley talked thrugh its current exhibition Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography.

The students were then tasked with creating a photo of their own response to masculinities in 25 minutes.

Among those to take part was Atalanta Robinson, from Barking.

She decided to look at what the word masculinity meant to her as a chef.

Boxing shorts photographed by Lewis Inman. Picture: Lewis InmanBoxing shorts photographed by Lewis Inman. Picture: Lewis Inman

Atalanta said: “It’s a male dominated industry where you have to work hard and be strong and tough like the rest of the boys in the kitchen.

“You have to say you cannot pick on me because I’m talented and I have the same qualification as you. I may be a woman but I am equal to you. I have chosen my electric hand whisk as my tool which signifies the power that is in your hands.”

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Emily Smith, 18, from Romford, took a self-portrait to show she can be both feminine and masculine, and “it doesn’t matter”.

Upminster resident Lewis Inman, 30, photographed a pair of boxing shorts from south east Asia.

Lewis, who has been involved in the sport, said: “I have seen alternative views of how boxing represents stereotypes of masculinity in a variety of cultures.

“Although boxers around the world also pose as macho, in reality such self-identity is being challenged.

“In boxing, one doesn’t have to meet such expectations of the self as macho to be a successful fighter.”

The event was part of a series of projects set up by the college, offering students the chance to engage and practice with industry professionals and creatives.

David Bennett, the college’s programme leader for photography, said: “The students produced very mature work within a very short space of time, rising to the challenge to produce and present a personal piece of work.

“I am exceptionally proud of what they achieved. Their images were both provoking and beautiful at the same time.

“It is not an everyday occurrence to find yourself presenting your work to a curator of the Barbican Art Gallery.”

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