Continuing our coverage of the Free Range Solo Exhibitions 2018 we were delighted to get the opportunity to catch up with the Manny Melotra and Alexander Mourant who were both awarded the Free Range Award at the Graduate shows last year. Metro provided both winners with annual mentorships and support in the lead up to their exhibitions plus £1000 credit for services at our lab.
The solo exhibitions open at the Truman Brewery on 1st February, here we talk to Manny Melotra about his project ‘The Broadway’.
1. Firstly congratulations on winning one of the Free Range awards last summer, can you describe what it meant to receive the award?
It’s an incredible honour receiving the Free Range award. To me it means I am progressing in my passion and in my work in the right way, it allowed me to believe there is more potential in myself with photography and my documentary work for which I am truly blessed to have won it.
2. Tell us about the body of work “The Broadway” which you will be exhibiting at The Truman Brewery?
‘The Broadway’ is an exploration of diaspora communities living together in Southall, West London.
The question behind the project is “Can you recreate a sense of ‘home’, when ‘home’ is being shared by people from various parts of the world wanting to do the same?”
The Broadway captures themes of migration, alienation, religion, community and austerity. The series takes you into a world full of enigma, as people from various cultural and religious backgrounds find themselves living side-by-side in a space with its own challenges.
3. How would you describe your photographic style and what inspires you to shoot?
Since picking up a camera I have always been curious about how people interact with their surroundings, fascinated with how the environment can shape an individual. I believe a person’s or people’s perspective on politics, attitude, fashion and lifestyle is always influenced by the conditions they are subjected to.
By taking pictures of these subjects, predominantly candid street photographs, it allows me to observe, reflect and find clarity in these situations. I have always been inspired by issues that affect me in some way or another because that trigger of emotion gives me the drive to pursue its meaning. I’m always being inspired by a variety of different artists and art forms but regarding documentary photography, the works of Bruce Davidson, Steve McCurry and Don McCullin are a few of my favourites.
4. You’ve been working closely with the Metro team in the run-up to your show, how have you found the production process?
The process has been simple and professional with the Metro team. I’ve learned a lot working with Manish on the editing and printing stage of my project, not only did he help bring out the finer details in my prints but also taught me some valuable tips that are crucial for the printing process. My mentors Steve Macleod and Kate O Neill have been amazing, they have been constantly motivating and helpful throughout the entire process, helping me by critiquing my work and building more confidence in my ideas with my project and in within myself as a photographer that will stick with me. I’m extremely grateful for having the opportunity to work with Metro and hope to continue to work with them again soon.
5. Will any of the prints be available to buy?
Yes, prints will be available to purchase at the exhibition and online through my website.
6. You are also co-hosting a take over of the Metro Instagram account with Alexander Mourant during the week of the exhibition – how are you feeling about this?
I’m excited to be taking over the Metro Instagram story during the week of the show and really looking forward to showing some of the behind the scenes work of the set-up stages for the exhibition.
7. We know photographers always have one eye on their next project, what’s next for you?
I have already started work on my next project that is very personal to me; I am going to keep it private for now but will begin to show more about it soon in the coming months. You will be able to catch my current works on my Instagram account.
The Old Truman Brewery, Unit 11, Dray Walk, London
Private View: Thursday 1st February | 6:00pm-10:00pm
Friday 2nd – Monday 5th February | 10:00am – 7:00pm
Admission to the exhibition is free
Images © Manny Melotra