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BA (Hons) Photography Student Profile – Lara Kester

12 years a slave poster
12 years a slave poster
12 years a slave poster
Written by
Jane Cuppage
Published date
15 December 2015

Lara Kester is a second year BA (Hons) Photography student at Camberwell College of Arts, from London and works as a Student Ambassador for the College. Below is a profile of Lara and her work.

Film still of performance in a sink, 'An edge to decipher, a rim', Lara Kester, soap and liquid soap

Film still of performance in a sink, ‘An edge to decipher, a rim’, Lara Kester, soap and liquid soap

Please give us a brief overview of your practice:

I am an Artist and Poet who thinks constantly; my practice is built upon my thoughts in relation to the world, materials, answering and asking questions, challenging perceptions and so forth. I mainly work within sculpture, installations and performance art. I use a lot of natural materials such as earth, salt, water etc and I like to work with temporary materials. I am also interested in relations between natural and synthetic, I have used different forms of plastic. I am very interested in the natural world itself and the materials it’s made up of; spaces within spaces, archaeology, positive and negative space, spatial awareness, science from a non-scientist perspective, intuition and many more things!

Please tell us about a current project you are working on as part of your course

I am currently working with soap as I am interested in transforming such a well known material by returning and reformulating it into an interrupted version of itself. I am fixated on the idea that people have a very strange relationship to emptiness, for some reason we constantly want to fill it up. When we feel that something is missing we search to find whatever it is rather than just leaving it and letting it remain empty or even to naturally fill itself. I am working on this idea of cleaning out spaces and placing positivity in emptiness, therefore turning a negative space into a positive space. This vast void of nothingness is something, I want to represent it and to work in a temporary material such as soap which is a cleaning product and it wears away over time into ‘nothing’.

Performance at Broadstairs beach, 'It begins to fill up with a sudden pain, a sudden gush', Lara Kester, digging, sand and sea

Performance at Broadstairs beach, ‘It begins to fill up with a sudden pain, a sudden gush’, Lara Kester, digging, sand and sea

Why did you decide to study at Camberwell?

I chose to study at Camberwell as I wanted a challenge. I want to push the boundaries of Photography by opening up its materiality and focusing on a Fine Art approach. I felt this course allowed me to do so as it involves a lot of conceptual thought through experimenting rather than a straight forward Photography course.

How has your experience at Camberwell been so far? What has been the highlight?

I love Camberwell, it has such a friendly, relaxed and inspirational energy and I am happy to be a part of it. I have met a lot of amazing people and my tutors are very lovely, helpful and knowledgeable people that are always around to talk to. So far the highlight was the recent trip to Venice to see the Biennale which included lots of great art from all over the world. I am also looking forward to our off-site second year show in January called ‘UNIT’.

Where is your favourite place in Camberwell/Peckham? 

My favourite place in the Camberwell is the College, the different studios in it as there is always great work and art to see. I also like the little enclosed courtyard as there is always scrap material to find and is an interesting little area to explore.

'The matrix that I cannot find but continue to fall under', Lara Kester, soap and chicken wire

‘The matrix that I cannot find but continue to fall under’, Lara Kester, soap and chicken wire

What do you see yourself doing after you graduate, what are your career ambitions?

My ambitions are to continue and develop my practice as an Artist and as my career. I also want to do an MA in Fine Art. I possibly would also like to do some teaching, particularly in universities, even develop the setting up of my own course. I want to develop my curating skills and exhibit my art and work further on an artist led project space I have set up with my friend.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing your course? Any advice?

It is not a straight forward Photography course as it is a Fine Art Photography course, so you have to have a passion for the whole spectrum in order to explore all areas and realise your potential to push the boundaries. I hardly take any photos and my practice is mainly sculptural and performative which is perfectly fine. The great thing about this course is you do get to learn certain skills such as developing photographs in a darkroom (which I was completely clueless about before coming here) but you are not confined to stick within Photography and instead you are encouraged and allowed to challenge, experiment, abandon or develop whatever areas that interest you. It’s a very thought provoking course and you really have the ability to make it into whatever you want it to be.

'A Hollow Victory', Lara Kester, soap shavings and glass skylight

‘A Hollow Victory’, Lara Kester, soap shavings and glass skylight


See more of Lara’s work on her tumblr account:

Information on the BA (Hons) Photography course can be found here: