100 Years Of Photography At Newport

Eva Cooney

April 13, 2012  by admin  •  Alumni

My name is Eva Cooney and I graduated from the BA(Hons) Documentary Photography in Newport in 2004 with a 1st class honors degree.

The three years in Newport were crucial and formative to the course of my professional career as well as to my life in general. That time saw the beginnings of close and inspirational friendships with likeminded people and I also met my husband who himself studied on the course.

Thanks to the support of the tutors – Clive Landen, Paul Seawright, Ken Grant, Pete Davies and Ian Walker – and a fantastic array of guest lecturers my understanding and passion for photography deepened and the structure of the course itself allowed me to explore many different directions within the documentary genre.
By the end of the degree I arrived at a crossroads: I accomplished two major bodies for my final body of work, one being a documentary piece about a young family in Romania and the other one being a landscape project. In the following years it became clear that I preferred landscape as I felt that it gave me the freedom to talk about universal issues and the human condition in a more subtle way.

After trying out a career in picture editing in the publishing industry in Germany, I returned to the UK and enrolled on the MA ‘Photography and the Land’ with Jem Southam at Plymouth University.
Having felt artistically uninspired and isolated in the years leading up to that decision I now felt invigorated and excited again about photography and I understood how important an academic and creative environment is for my own inspiration and practice.
Consequently I decided to enroll on a PGCE course in the following year and am now a part-time lecturer on the BA Press and Editorial Photography degree at University College Falmouth, while practicing my own photography alongside teaching.

Looking back on my student experience now – being a lecturer myself and dealing with students on a daily basis – I understand even better just how valuable this time is when you are surrounded and communicate with people who share the same enthusiasm about photography and how this helps to develop one’s own practice.

In the last year I feel that I have come full circle, everything seemed to have fallen into place and it all started with my choice of studying documentary photography at Newport.