MA Commercial Photography students have been talking to AUB after their MA Show in the Northlight Studios. Here Andy Cope discusses his work.

Can you tell us a bit about your work?

It’s a documentary piece about a specific character called Steve who’s turned his life around. He’s gone through lots of trials and tribulations, including prison, drugs and homelessness, and through the act of recycling, furniture has found his salvation, inasmuch as he’s now potentially making a living out of it.

He met his partner, he’s now in a house and all this is through the recycling process – he sees it as he’s recycled himself, like he’s brought himself back into functionality with society.

I was doing a project on recycling and I took him as a portrait while he was recycling some furniture – I got talking to him and he told me his story about his life and it seemed like a really interesting story.

When I came to my next project, I lost my original subject and this was a fallback option, but I’m really glad I fell back on him. I then followed him around for weeks, videoed everything and shot it all in black and white because of the timeless quality it has and it also focuses on prison reform.

I also went into Guys Marsh Prison and interviewed the Governor there – I photographed an inmate and some of the artwork in there and now there’s a potential for me to go back and teach in the prison.

How has it been studying at AUB while also being a Technician Demonstrator?

It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. When I left school, I left with nothing. I started working here in 2006 and have worked my way up through the BA and now the Masters.

It’s been solid graft, but it’s been really good for me and good career-wise as well.

The staff here are brilliant – we’re surrounded by experts in various fields and if you’ve got a gap in your knowledge in any one particular field, you can approach them.

What are you going to do next?

Firstly, I’ll be doing my day-to-day job but it’s now got me interested in making documentaries. I’d like to make two-minute documentaries, little zappy ones which I’m really looking forward to doing.

I’ll also do some teaching in prison.

Find out more about MA Commercial Photography at AUB.

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