Emerge Spotlight: Patricia Tobin

Ice Cream - by Patricia Tobin
Ice Cream - by Patricia Tobin

NTU’s 20th annual photo festival Emerge kicks off on May 23rd, and Platform’s Photo Editor Callum Baigrie is following the build up to what is turning out to be one of the biggest and best shows yet. Read more about the festival here.

On the run up to the festival, Platform are speaking to some of the photographers exhibiting. We’ll be finding out who is inspiring them, what their projects are about, and what they plan to do after the festival closes. Patricia is working in food photography, without actually using food…

Spring Roll - by Patricia Tobin
Spring Roll – by Patricia Tobin

What is your degree show project about?

The idea for my project came to me very gradually during the research I carried out for my dissertation. What does food mean to us all? What are our relationships with food? These were some questions that I started to think about. I became interested in the topic of food as for most of us it’s part of our daily routine, yet so intertwined with history and culture to the point where, how and why we eat certain things are not often even considered. Particularly with the rise of social media platforms, how we can visually access foods has also changed. With this project I wanted to explore representing foods differently, and going against the way that traditional food photography works in making the viewer want to eat. All of my project is based on food related puns because I wanted to somehow communicate that you can but also can’t have the foods in my images because of they are made out of mostly inedible objects but also because of the fact they are just images.

Which photographers/artists are inspiring this body of work?

Martin Parr inspired me with his series ‘British Food’. It was his satirical way of looking at the foods that we all seem to enjoy and making them all look quite offensive, which I found quite funny. Then I came across a collaborative duo who go under the name of ‘Lazy Mom’, their use of colour and food in their work is nuts. I just fell in love! Not going to lie, I couldn’t tell you what their work is about exactly as they just play around with food, but it’s just so fun to look at. They have inspired a huge amount of work colour wise, which I think is pretty obvious. For a change though, it has been more writers that inspired me to get to this stage of my project.

This quote by Grafik & Hurn from ’Pictures from a Rubbish Tip’ also relates to my work:

About looking- about the difference between knowing something and seeing something: the fact that we might know that this is a bit of orange or a bit of cake, but when we see it taken out of context, photographed in a way we don’t normally see, it can look like a Turner.

What do you plan on doing after you graduate?

At the moment I’m currently submitting my work to publications where I think my work would be suitable and hopefully seeing what comes of it! I am also applying for studio assistant jobs as I love the environment and all the different kinds of people you get to meet, plus learning more on the job. However, I am also torn between going travelling- If I’m not successful in getting a job this year then it’s meant to be, right?

Sponge Cake - by Patricia Tobin
Sponge Cake – by Patricia Tobin

Patricia will be exhibiting at Backlit. Check out more of Patricia’s work on the Emerge website here.