Ivy Bradford a Year 13 student from The Marches School has demonstrated a huge level of commitment to her photography studies. Earlier in the year, she visited Sheffield, Shrewsbury and Manchester in order to photograph the homeless for her project. Ivy has set up a soup kitchen from her dad’s van in two of these locations, provided a place for the homeless to sit down and eat home cooked food; built relationships with people, learnt their stories and has been inspired to continue on this journey far beyond her project.

Ivy commented; “The question that I was posed with was what are my interests? After brainstorming a number of options, I was able to pinpoint it down to one thing. I concluded that I enjoy helping those who need help and I am interested in the beauty of their strength. Some of the people that I have met through this project have suffered profound loss that most would find difficult to comprehend, yet in spite of everything they have experienced, their characters remain some of the strongest that I have come across and it is that raw beauty amongst the pain that I both admire and strive to capture in my photography. Having combined my passion with my love for photography, I knew that what I wanted to achieve during my time at The Marches Sixth Form was to use this opportunity to make a difference for the lives less fortunate than my own. The common theme found throughout my project is that I have always followed and responded to their suggestions, as I believe they know themselves better than I could attempt. For example, Dave who I met in Shrewsbury talked about how he was fed up of fast food and sandwiches and he mentioned how he longed for a decent warm meal, a luxury we so often take for granted. Following this, I created a fast food style restaurant, however instead of burgers and chips I cooked a chili con carne with rice, here we successfully fed 36 people! When I was out serving this, a lady said to me the candles made her feel like she was on a date, which inspired me to actually set up a restaurant style area where we would treat them with great customer service, serve them good quality food and create a warm, friendly atmosphere. As a way of progressing from here, I would like to create a party-style set up, in Exeter.

For my final response, I therefore wanted to create an installation that showcased all the elements of my journey and celebrated the people I met. My intention is for the message to be spread far and wide!”

Miss Phillipa Smith, Ivy’s Art Teacher commented; “Ivy has demonstrated a huge level of commitment to her photography project. Not only has she gone into great depth in researching the topic, she has gone further by talking to many people who find themselves homeless. From her initial meetings she has got to know them, formed relationships with them and returned with a mobile soup kitchen to feed them. We are so proud of the incredible work Ivy has produced and I am blown away by her commitment and passion.”