Sunday, 23 January 2011

Up and Coming: Gemma Thorpe

I am a photographer fascinated by people and their stories, their determination and resilience. I am drawn to document social issues, and am particularly interested in highlighting hope rather than exposing tragedy. Much of my photography is based around themes of home and belonging, from an earthquake-affected village in China who's residents dream of opening it to eco-tourism, to the constraints and challenges of new-found freedom for Romanian youth who have grown up in state orphages.

I work on long term projects and I am eager to learn, listen and to develop myself and my understanding as much as my photography. I am concerned about photography's tendency to be self-serving and I am inspired by photographers who's work goes beyond the usual audiences.

Consequently I am hugely inspired by people I've met along the way, from 85 year old Miss Punny in small town Missouri, USA, to other photographers who's work and outlook I admire, such as Brad Rimmer (especially his Silence -The Australian wheatbelt series), and Simon Roberts, for whom research is integral to the output, and on an aesthetic level. I am enthralled by the work of Ian Teh, and more recently Andrea Gjestvang as well as that of Chinese photographers Wang Gang and Zhouhai.

Gemma Thorpe came to photography the long way round, gaining an interest in people, places and visual representation while studying Geography at Sheffield University. A stint at Leeds College of Art and then the opportunity to study an MA in International Photojournalism and Documentary Photography in China, where she lived for 2 years, fostered her passion for documentary photography and an ongoing attempt to master Mandarin Chinese. She has been based in Sheffield since summer 2009 and is working on long term projects.

All Images are copyright of © Gemma Thorpe

For more information on her work please visit