LCFMA22: Kith and Kin with Jana Jackson, MA Fashion Photography
London College of Fashion's MA22 cohort showcases the breadth of talent that our students possess. Across the fields of visual communication, design and business, this year's set of students have taken inspiration from themes including gender fluidity, human connection and, from a sartorial perspective, innovative pattern cutting.
LCF Stories reached out to Jana Jackson, MA Fashion Photography graduate. Jana's work is an exploration into her own identity and heritage, which also touches on femininity and social class. Read our interview below.
First of all, why have you chosen the name Kith and Kin?
The overall catalyst for my project 'Aide-Memoire: Through My Eyes' was in search of a deep understanding of self-identity. Furthermore, self-identity within my heritage, how it relates to community and my place within that community. When creating each body of work I focused on a central theme. For this particular series, 'Kith and Kin', it was interpersonal relationships, with a heightened focus on siblings. I chose the name because it is traditional, old fashioned and encompasses everything I was aiming to visually emote in my narrative. Your kith are your friends, while your kin are all the people you are related to.
What is the main story that you are conveying with your work?
Within my photography, I have always been drawn to creating images that evoke strength. For a very long time, I explored strength, femininity, and vulnerability within my work. In hindsight, this was me searching for self-identity within myself as a female.
Throughout my Masters, this evolved into photographic work that explores social and cultural issues largely from an auto ethnographical perspective with themes of strength, vulnerability, social class and self-identity.
What is the importance of portrait photography as a form of visual communication?
Portrait photography as a form of visual communication is a nonverbal language tool. This holds importance because it can (and has) been used as social history. Nonverbal body language has strong cultural dependence as a form of visual communication. Historically, we have learned a lot from portrait photography about specific moments in global history.
Professional Photographer Malick Sidibe was greatly influential for his portrait and studio photography work in Mali during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. His work was socio-historical and he functioned as both an artist as well as a social historian. Sidibe's photography stands as an archive of the political change that was rapidly occurring in Africa at the time, especially during the 1940s and 1950s when portrait photography became a popular cultural phenomenon.
Do you have any particular highlights from your time on the course?
My course started in the fall of 2020, taking place during the pandemic and lockdowns across the United Kingdom. The highlight from the course, for me, were the friendships built. We quickly understood the challenge we were all facing together and built strong bonds as a way to support one another. The friendships I have made during my time at UAL will hopefully be lifelong. It's not every day you earn a degree during such chaotic times in global history.
What are your hopes and plans for life after graduation?
While this project marks significantly the culmination of my studies at LCF, I feel that my journey into the fashion photography industry is just beginning. I reemerge back into the world a stronger, wiser and more vulnerable person and artist.
I am currently working back in the industry as a lighting assistant and producer on commercial and editorial fashion photography shoots here in London. With a few upcoming editorials in the pre-production stages that I will photographic, later this year.
I also hope to start a residency in May 2022 to continue 'Aide-Memoire: Through My Eyes' and get agency representation by the end of 2022 to keep telling meaningful visual narratives in the global commercial photographic sphere.