James Cant – MA Photography
James Cant graduated from MA Photography at London College of Communication in 2009 and has been pursuing a number of projects since. His work "Divided to the Ocean" was used to transform LCC's exterior walls into a giant exhibition space during our "Power of Ten" Summer Shows.
Why the MA?
Having worked commercially for 15 years, I wanted to approach my work with an intellectual rigour and make it purely my own photography again. For me the MA wasn't about challenging me in terms of photographic craft - which doesn't mean I didn't experiment - but it helped me to revisit photography and think about its meaning and ontology more thoroughly.
It opened up new avenues of investigation but also meant that I really had to consider the more instinctive aspects of my approach. There isn't anywhere to hide behind wishy-washy statements on the MA course.
What types of themes or messages are you trying to communicate through your photographs?
One theme that has always interested me - and it is something that has come out in doing the MA - is the question of identity and sense of self. In Divided to the Ocean, the sea and tide are used as metaphors to consider divisions of time, space and self and a potential for melancholy in the processes of emigration. The notion of an ebbing and flowing tide acts to both connect and divide the individuals to their land of origin.
What attracts you to portrait photography?
There are many aspects of photographing people that interest me. The dialogical exchange that goes on between the photographer and the subject is fascinating. That interaction can have different levels of influence, coming from both sides. And it creates elements of the unknown, which I enjoy. More than that, once you get deeper into the question of portraiture and the nature of subjectivity and identity you are left with really interesting areas to explore.
What have you been working on?
I've been working on a body of work connected to a project I completed during the MA. I am thinking about Juliet Mitchell's book Siblings and trying to use family portraits to consider questions of subjectivity within the family.