Jamie Sinclair talks to JJ Media about the Liverpool Biennial
Every two years the biennial of contemporary arts comes to Liverpool. It commissions international artists to make and present work in the context of Liverpool. This is then exhibited across the city in public spaces, galleries, museums and online… but you knew that, right?! What you didn’t know is that this year our fellow employee, Jamie Sinclair, was chosen to exhibit his work. As you can imagine, JJ Media is incredibly proud of Jamie. We caught up with him to hear about his Biennial experience and the inspiration around such a heartfelt project.
How did you start the exhibition?
I recently exhibited my project ‘Digging Out’ at the Liverpool Arts Biennial 2018 as a member of Unio Collective. We were formed after being selected as emerging talent by Redeye Photography Network to take part in their Lightbox programme. The idea of Lightbox was to bring together photographers of all disciplines and prepare us, through workshops and artist talks, to host an exhibition of our own. After securing an Arts Council grant we successfully built a free-standing structure, then turned Liverpool’s Adelphi Hotel into both a maze and a gallery. After such a successful launch and exhibiting period, we have decided to tour the exhibition to other festivals throughout the UK.
Where did the idea come from?
‘Digging out’ follows the life of Brendon. He suffered from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, aka Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, for the majority of his life. As he got older his living conditions spiralled out of control. The selection of images shows the three years we spent getting to know each other and our attempt at ‘digging out’ of his situation. He recently passed away and his daughter went to extraordinary lengths to work out who I was and got in touch. I decided to share the photographs we made together in the exhibition, and dedicate it all to Brendon. Until his passing I hadn’t understood just how important the time we had spent together was for me, he invited me into his life and gave me this space to grow and explore my potential as a photographer. I want to honour him by using our images to raise awareness of ME.
Have you always wanted to become a photographer?
I’ve always wanted to work creatively in the hope that it will benefit others. Back in 2015/16 I visited the ‘jungle’ camp in Calais, to see for myself the truths of the refugee crisis and ended up staying for several weeks. Upon my return I formed a charity with a team of passionate individuals, we hosted exhibitions and talks with the aim of raising money and awareness. We were successful enough to return and build shelters, we repeated this process many times throughout the year, raising close to £3,000.
How does working at JJ help in your career?
I’ve worked at JJ for just over a year now and it has been of great benefit to my personal development as a photographer. I have access to kit I’d never have dreamt of and I’m surrounded by industry professionals who can advise me on anything I’m trying to work on. It’s given me the chance to really push myself in new directions. I mainly work on long-term projects with a strong emotive narrative, working at JJ has allowed me to experiment with new aspects of this by bringing it into the studio and develop with moving image. As I further my career as a photographer and continue to grow alongside JJ, I always know there’ll be some of the best in the industry here to advise and help me along the way.
Jamie Sinclair, Photographer and Operations, JJ Media Group
‘Liverpool Biennial 2018 runs from 14 July – 28 October and celebrates 20 years of presenting international art in the city and region. The 10th edition, titled Beautiful world, where are you? invites artists and audiences to reflect on a world in social, political and economic turmoil.
Liverpool Biennial is underpinned by a programme of research, education, residencies and commissions. Founded in 1998, the Biennial has commissioned over 340 new artworks and presented work by more than 480 artists from around the world.’