Published on February 13, 2014 | by Rosie Atkin0
Peachy ‘N’ Keen
It is no secret that the evolving climate of social media is re-landscaping the future of creative industries.
For aspiring artists, self-promotion, collaboration and the vital foot-in-the-door can now be accessed in new, all-inclusive ways.
Blogging sites such as Tumblr – popular among those of a more visual persuasion – can be harnessed by the budding photographer or artist and used to their advantage.
Enter Brighton natives Eleni Mettyear, 22, and Rhiannon Adams, 20, founders of Peachy ‘N’ Keen – an eye-catching Tumblr site which offers a platform for the promotion, participation and exhibition of up-and-coming photographers.
To stand out from the masses of hopeful creatives, these blogs must offer something different.
And here is the twist with Peachy ‘N’ Keen; there are no boys allowed.
Yes, Peachy is an all-female photography collective with a journey spanning a mere two years, but one which has induced a whirlwind of exciting developments, including a self-started exhibition in Brighton.
“Peachy began when Eleni and I were on a photography course in 2012,” explains Adams, an anthropology student at UCL. “We decided there needed to be a platform for girls-only work, that wasn’t just fashion photography – although we do love that too.”
“For us, the idea to have a space for solely female work was so important in a male-dominated industry. We are all about the empowerment of women, so we want to encourage female artists by showcasing established and emerging talent to show what us girls can do.”
The site is glittering with colour and variety. Contributions flood from all over the world, with styles ranging from traditional portraiture and breezy editorials to the more experimental.
There is an undeniably positive feel to the project and Eleni praises similar projects such as The Photocopy Club (TPC) for inspiring the idea behind Peachy:
“Something that really inspired me was working with a good friend Matt Martin who started TPC , a Xerox photography exhibition.
People send in work from all over, Matt curates it and puts on shows around the country.
“It’s all about promoting people’s work, bringing the photography community closer and sharing it with the public. It’s a simple and affordable way to get work off the internet and printed onto walls or in books and zines into people’s hands.”
“It’s all about promoting people’s work, bringing the photography community closer and sharing it with the public” Rhiannon Adams
Adapting the model of TPC, Peachy gives photographers the opportunity to submit their own work – creating a very open process.
Some photographers are selected to be interviewed, offering another dimension to the project and also a deeper connection with each artist.
Adams describes just how easy it is to get involved – photography students, take note: “There are a couple of ways to submit to us – you can either submit on our Tumblr page or what’s better is sending us an email of your work.
“We get a lot of people submitting their websites, links to their blog and just individual photographs for the site. When we are looking for something in particular, we might email some photographers whose work we’ve been noticing recently or someone who we think might suit the brief in particular.”
UAL students have been seen hopping onto the Peachy bandwagon, with the site featuring work by Rosaline Shahnavas and Francesca Allen – both studying BA Photography at LCC.
Fellow students moving towards graduation will be no stranger to the competitive nature of the art world.
In such steely industries where many are encouraged to adopt ruthless drive and singularity to succeed, it is refreshing that at the core of Peachy ‘N’ Keen is a genuinely open-armed attitude;
Mettyear says: “Our mantra is to share creativity by sharing work by other artists. The young emerging ones can use Peachy ‘n’ Keen to be inspired.”
And where better to take inspiration and action than the infinite internet – an extra limb for most students.
Connectivity is central to Peachy and the collective highlights the importance for up-and-coming artists to use Tumblr as a catalyst to achieve their goals.
“Without Tumblr, there wouldn’t really be a Peachy ‘n’ Keen,” Adams stresses. “Social networking platforms like that allow our network of photographers and artists to extend globally and reach places that we wouldn’t have dreamt about without the internet.”
“Having a platform like Tumblr and Facebook allows immediate feedback and interaction with your audience, it means that you can keep things up to date and make relationships with people whose work you admire. I was travelling around America last summer and through Peachy ‘N’ Keen I met some of the people whom I’d worked with or whose work I admired. It connects people from all across the world.”
A very modern, progressive attitude this may be, but Mettyear assures us that traditional means of photography must be kept aflame:
“The internet is an essential tool to what we do and to the artistic world today. However, we feel it is really important that work does not stay online – physical work is dying out.”
Peachy ‘N’ Keen’s own contribution to the physical cause is through exhibitions – ensuring that the online experience of their project can still be enjoyed away from a computer screen.
Mettyear insists that the internet will not remove the physical experience from the forefront of their focus: “Exhibitions, books and magazines are the best way for work to be viewed. So putting on exhibitions and making zines is something we want to concentrate on.”
After a successful debut exhibition in Brighton in 2013, the duo plan to keep enjoying the benefits of such an evolving and passionate project and learn from their first curatorial run:
“We had only had the blog for just over a month when we put it on so it was kind of trial and error. Seeing how Matt from TPC worked gave us an idea of how to go about things,” said Mettyear.
“Considering we had only been up online for a couple of months we had a really good turn out with lots of positive feedback. It was exciting to meet some of the artists that we had featured on the blog and exhibited in the show.”
Beating any teething problems the first exhibition might have brought, Peachy can now look forward to 2014 being a year of progression. Next time, they will be coming closer to you – London, to be exact.
Their next exhibition, Mother, will be in March 2014, presented by Peachy ‘N’ Keen and B-RAD at Doomed Gallery in Dalston.
As for the broader pipeline, it seems that these ladies will be very busy indeed:
Peachy just goes to show that in this day and age, and for our generation, nothing is too ambitious.
“We plan to grow!” Adams says excitedly. “At the moment we are working on a website which will gives us room to cover things like music, culture, fashion, food and more. We already have a small team working with us and we hope to recruit more.
“We want to collaborate with artists and start working with stylists, designers, photographers and models to commission shoots that we will feature on the site. After the exhibition, we plan to make a zine from the work that was submitted to us for the show.”
From humble beginnings, Peachy just goes to show that in this day and age, and for our generation, nothing is too ambitious.
Yes, the internet and its incalculable number of art-focused blogs can swallow graduates into anonymity, but what the project stresses is the ethic of a collaborative community and the sharing of ideas as a factor in success.
With their brain-child due to expand, Peachy will encompass even more creative avenues.
Whether it’s journalism, music or culture, there will be a greater platform for the celebration of new talent – and female talent at that.
So it is safe to say that, for female artists, everything is looking Peachy.