Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz, studied MA Photojournalism & Documentary Photography at London College of Communication, graduating in 2013. After graduating, many of her year group stayed in touch and continued to evaluate and support each other’s work. This led the way for Photo Scratch, a bi-monthly event which allows photographers to show work-in-progress projects and understand how their work is perceived and gain valuable insight into how to take their work further with the benefit of other people’s outside eye.
“The MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at LCC has this amazing community; everyone really keeps in touch afterwards. Because each year group has a full time cohort and a part time online cohort, there’s this massive potential – between the two versions of the course everyone starts talking. And learning online like I did, you have to make yourself be heard. When it came to the summer show there were loads of graduates from the year before passing on tips to us, which was amazing. The course itself has such a strong presence in the industry, graduates from the course go on to win awards and find success. Nine times out of ten, when I go to a photography exhibition, there will be a presence of graduates from my course, or professionals who taught on the course.
After graduating, photographers from my year group and the year group after us and before, would all meet up about once every six weeks at my studio or at the pub to catch up, but also often to show our work and get feedback about it.
The artistic director of my studio (Hotel Elephant in Elephant & Castle) offered studio users the opportunity to run events in the gallery space free of charge. So I had this idea that I could use the space for something involving photographers I know.
My background is in theatre and acting which I still do in a freelance way as well as photography. In the theatre world there’s a thing called a scratch night where theatre companies show a ten minute excerpt of a work in progress and the audience is invited to give feedback. That’s a format that’s been developed over fifteen years at the Battersea Arts Centre, and I participated in one a few years ago. It was really interesting and genuinely rewarding to understand as practitioners how your work is perceived.
So the two ideas came together. My community were already looking at each other’s work and sharing ideas, but I wanted to extend this and get feedback from people we didn’t already know, and create a safe space where documentary photographers could continue to develop their practice. So I decided to formalise it at Hotel Elephant along with a fellow graduate from MA Photojournalism Phil Le Gal, and Photo Scratch was born.
The aim of Photo Scratch is for photographers to gain a deeper understanding about their work and how it’s perceived. Whatever sort of photography you do can easily become a solitary practice. Something that we maintained during the MA is that the conversations are very important and part of the process.
Photo Scratch is an opportunity to safely experiment with the form. Participants are encouraged to (if they want to) play with moving image and installations, print in a different way, or experiment with performance. It’s a safe context where photojournalists and documentarians can gain insight into what they’re doing and try to push the boundaries.
We have had a number of picture editors from major publications come to Photo Scratch as well as other photographers, picture researchers, bloggers, and people from a wide range of industries who are all interested in photographs. The hope is that Photo Scratch will continue to grow and attract people who are interested in seeing what work is up and coming from documentary photographers in London.”