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Footsteps to the Square: A photographic exhibition by UoP MA Fine Art student

9 November 2015 - 7 March 2016

Ailsa Brims, an MA Fine Art student from the School of Art and Design, has been selected by a panel of judges for a solo exhibition of fine art photography to be displayed in Portsmouth Guildhall from the 9th November to the 7th March 2016.

The exhibition is titled Footsteps to the Square: A reflective journey to Portsmouth Guildhall. The exhibition will be open to viewing from 9am – 5pm every weekday and 10am – 2pm on Saturdays in the Freda Swain Business Lounge.

In early September, The Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) announced an opportunity for CCI students to submit proposals to mark Portsmouth Guildhall’s 125th Anniversary and ongoing partnership with CCI.  Proposals had to respond to the theme; ‘the relationship between Eldon Building and the Portsmouth Guildhall’.

Ailsa’s work consists of a series of 18 photographic images, where she reveals ‘the unseen’ taken during a number of journeys on foot between the historic Portsmouth Guildhall, a major music and cultural venue and home to Portsmouth Cultural Trust, and the Eldon Building, with its history of arts education dating back to the 1960s and currently home to the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries. Both buildings are concerned with education and the production and performance of the arts.

Struck by the daily hustle and bustle of people, rushing-by at the start and end of each walk, Ailsa captures shadows and reflections using mindful photography techniques inspired by Zen. Completing a course that developed this practice, Ailsa was encouraged by photographer Lee Aspland to use the camera as a tool for meditation, to create personally resonant photographs. The images imply an emotional context as part of the physical journey, creating a portal for us to explore our own feelings.

Researching a wide range of artists and photographers for the project, including American photographer Vivian Maier, Ailsa describes using photography in her fine art practice: “I have a very simplistic camera technique, not allowing settings or my logic to get in the way of my eye, my heart and the view I see ahead. I set the zoom to be close to how the human eye sees and most other settings are automatic. I proceed with my body to be closer or further away, or physically move up or down to capture the image. I prefer to monochrome the photographs when I process them at home, because to me the images focus on shadow and shape, which is enhanced by a black and white theme.   I rarely crop or process a picture further allowing each image to reflect the moment.”

Ailsa’s work will be celebrated at an Opening Reception on Monday 23rd November and everyone is welcome to attend. Congratulations to Ailsa who wins a £250 award towards the production of the exhibition  for materials and display supplies.

The competition was judged by Simon Brookes (Associate Dean of Students), Andy Grays (CEO of Portsmouth Cultural Trust), Ann Barnes (Curator, Portsmouth Cultural Trust) and Denise Callender (CCI Promotions Manager).


9 November 2015
7 March 2016
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Portsmouth Guildhall
Guildhall Square
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO1 2AB United Kingdom
023 9387 0200

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