Beyond Photography is an online platform, travelling exhibition space and e-store based in Amsterdam collaborating with the world’s leading Image Makers. The development of Technology has given art the opportunity to evolve at unfathomable speed, but ideas of taste, culture, and society have a thread of history which cant be ignored, we aim to realise the full potential of Image Making as a medium of art to drive a new era of art making in the 21st century providing the world with access to today’s leading artists in the field of Image Making through unadvertised, free channels.
Beyond Photography was founded at the end of 2017 by Ryan Blackwell and Nastassia Winge, who met at the BA Cinema and Photography course at the University of Leeds in 2013. Towards the end of 2017, the creatives were frustrated by the limited opportunities for digital creatives at academic institutions and in the art world in general. Beyond Photography manifested initially as a one-night-only exhibition in Leeds as a direct response to what the creatives felt was missing in the field.
Attending a traditional University in Great Britain, a Red Brick as it is known, Photography was a course that sat within the School of Communications. In the early 20th century, Photography did not feature on any UK syllabus as it was not deemed a valuable art form like Painting, nor was it design like Fashion. Overtime, Photography fought for its place in the curriculum, however, as students, Ryan and Nastassia felt so limited by the Photography course, which had once fought for its title as progressive because it didn't enable them to utilise new tools that could allow them to experiment with their work. When the pair met in 2013, they bonded over their love of what could be called Non-Traditional Photography (Photography that genre bending and included other mediums of art making such as collage or Photoshop), this type of work was not valued on the programme and pushed the duo into developing side-projects that would enable their artistic expression. Universities have once again become stale in their obsession with tradition; the Cinema and Photography courses across the UK are looking at the past for inspiration and ignoring the breadth of opportunities opened by the advancements in Technology.
Growing up in the Digital age, the Beyond Photography couple were looking at a different set of references than what was presented by the university and spent their undergraduate exploring and researching the technological impact on Photography and what the advent of Technology means for art makers as a whole. What threats and possibilities does Technology offer? Beyond Photography looks for answers and looks to represent this new narrative in a new form of art. The creatives recognise the value of Traditional Photography, but are looking at what lies beyond photography, literally Beyond Photography. There are artists all over the world championing Technology in image based arts, and Beyond Photography aims to be the community that can bring these works together.
Beyond Photography’s first project aimed to connect artists, both established and unknown, in the world of Non-Traditional Photographic practice in order to build a community of like-minded art creates and lovers. The positive reaction felt at the exhibition formed the core values of Beyond Photography, which then expanded into an online arts platform through interviews, online challenges, blogs and an online art store. Since then, the platform has built a growing foothold in the community, working with established artists across the world and uprooted to The Netherlands where they held their first exhibition in Rotterdam.