National Exposure for Photography Student

14 June 2017
Asian girl wrapped in clingfilm with a barcode lying on a bed next to lubricant.

We chat to third year Photography student Daniel Adams about the inspirations and success behind his degree show, Why is Your English so Good?, which explores the casual racism encountered by Malaysians in the UK, and has recently been featured in the Guardian.   

Tell us a bit about the project

It was created as my final year project. Two of my previous projects were based on identity and issues that have had an effect on myself, and I wanted to continue this theme. I have had my fair share of negative racial experiences and due to this wanted to shed some light on a topic which hasn't been represented within the media as much as I think it should.

I felt that because this work is so relevant to present social issues, I wanted to get it out in order to show the public what is going on. I sent my work out to several newspapers and magazines but the Guardian was one of the only ones to get back to me, which was absolutely incredible.

What does it feel like to have your work featured in the Guardian?

It's been incredibly overwhelming as I'm not used to the huge amounts of attention that has been directed towards the body of work that I've made. However, I'm extremely grateful at the exposure that this one article has created. The amount of discussion within the comments of the article as well as the discussions created in real life amongst my friends is something that I'm really excited about. Whether it is negative or positive, people are talking about this issue, they are talking about something which hasn't been widely spoken about and which needs to be spoken about.

What influences your work?

This project was highly influenced by the likes of my late mother. She taught me to stand up for what I believe in and to always push myself. However, photographically, it was influenced by artists such as Madame Peripetie, Steven Klein and most surprisingly the likes of the creativity and imagination that is exerted by drag queens costumes and makeup.

You graduate this summer, what is next for you?

I'm planning to go home to Malaysia for six months before returning to England next year. In that time, I hope to create a sort of sister project to this one exploring the same topic but in my home country. I would also like to carry on this project when I get back to the UK as I think it would be good to continue to tackle the issue of racism and ignorance one-step at a time, no matter how small the issue is.

What will you miss about Falmouth?

I'm definitely a city person, I love the hustle and bustle of a city. However, what I found amazing about Falmouth was that because it is quite small, everyone lives so close together and friendships become more family like. I'm going to miss the people I've lived with over the past three years.

You can see Daniel's work at the Photography Free Range Show at The Old Truman Brewery in London from Thursday 22 June until Monday 26 June.   

To find out more about Daniel visit his website or follow him on Instagram @danieladamsphotography