An interview with Daniel Ainsworth, creator of The Pupil Sphere, by Redeye's Jo Slack
After becoming frustrated with the lack of free exposure available to cash-strapped student photographers, Huddersfield University alumni Daniel Ainsworth created The Pupil Sphere, an online platform where student's work from around the world is showcased. It's free to submit your work to the project, and you can do so by email, or on social media using the hashtag #pupilsphere. The only requirement is that you are on a photography course at the time of applying.
After successfully launching the site, Daniel is now staying on at Huddersfield to complete an MA in photography where he will develop the project. After meeting him at a Redeye university talk, I caught up with him to find out more about the idea, and what he hopes to do with it in the future.
Before we begin, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and your own photography background?
I'm a student photographer, having recently finished by BA in Photography at the University of Huddersfield. I'm about to start an MA at Huddersfield in September this year where I'll continue my work on The Pupil Sphere. In my own practice, I mainly shoot documentary photography. I've recently been shooting the city of Hull trying to capture the vernacular of the city before it is affected by the City of Culture developments in 2017. Apart from my photography I work part-time as a cycle courier which helps me to fund the website.
What is The Pupil Sphere?
The Pupil Sphere is a website which was created to help aspiring student photographers publish their work, to help them get established in the photographic world. We post regular articles about student photographers in the form of features and interviews.
Why did you start the project?
As a university student myself I started to feel the pressures of finishing university in the winter before I graduated. I was constantly told to enter competitions that cost a lot to enter, without any guarantee of success, or opportunity to get my name seen. I didn't think this was fair, particularly for students on low income, and decided that students should have a place where they could get recognised for free.
I think its important to provide a platform like this because it inspires students to create work and collaborate when they see other student's work published.
What do you think are the benefits of online publishing?
The main benefit of online publishing is that the running costs are minimal. It's easy to start a blog or website at minimal cost, and in comparison to print it really opens up the doors for those looking to curate. However I do love physical things - I still think the physical element is what turns an image into a photograph. I am hoping to pull together the submissions in a physical exhibition in the future, so keep an eye out for that!
Finally, can you let us know about any student photographers you are particularly excited about right now?
Ryan Fitzpatrick at the University of Huddersfield is one of the best food photographers I have seen and his recent work on terrorism is particularly interesting.
Kieran Boswell's manipulates banal objects to creates beautiful and surreal images that have an addictive quality.
Marisa Bruce of Edinburgh College has produced a great project documenting the fire brigade. She has a great emotional connection to her subjects.
Image at the top by Kieran Boswell