In Metro’s thirty-five years of business we have developed and nurtured many relationships with student organisations, colleges and universities believing resolutely that encouragement, support and advise given at the start of a career is invaluable.

With that in mind we have established Metro Ambassador, a new and on-going student outreach programme, encouraging student photography organisations to appoint one student from each year group as an ‘ambassador’ for Metro.

The selected student will receive special discounts across all Metro Imaging and Metroprint services, an invitation to spend a week on site working with Metro’s technicians and printers, two portfolio and practice reviews by industry professionals, networking opportunities with student ambassadors from other institutes, as well as a year-end group exhibition with other student ambassadors.

The first of our ambassadors to be appointed is Monika Bishwakarma, better known as Monika Bk, a 3rd-year student in BA (Hons) Digital Photography from Ravesbourne. Commenting on the appointment Monika said “It’s great to have been appointed as a student ambassador from Ravensbourne! So far I’ve had chance to visit Metro and gain insights to their process and working practices. I also had a chance to shadow Chris, the head retoucher. Retouching is something that I do in my own work and want to get more advanced in so it was a brilliant experience to shadow a professional! With my final major project exhibition just a few months away Jack has been great with providing me with guidance on the framing and printing options which I’ve been passing down to my fellow peers.

Our latest addition to the programme is Amanda Hook, 2nd year student in BA (Hons) Photography from University College Suffolk, Ipswich. She comments, “I didn’t think I would ever be selected but I really feel honoured to have been chosen to work with Metro, I can’t wait to get involved more and see what else is in store.”

If you are a photography student and wish to know more or think your college/university might be interested in taking part in the ambassador programme please contact us.

Images ©
1 Amanda Hook, Narratives
2 Monika Bk

Tate Britain’s Spring 2015 photography exhibition features ‘Nick Waplington /Alexander McQueen, Working Process’ for which Metro proudly produced large scale Light-jet prints.

Featuring over 130 images, some never before seen, the exhibition presents the result of a unique collaboration between the artist Nick Waplington and the acclaimed fashion designer Alexander McQueen, marking 5 years since his untimely death in 2009 and timed to coincide with the Victoria and Albert Museum’s ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ fashion exhibition

Waplington was given unprecedented access to McQueen’s studio where he photographed the unique creative journey preparing and presenting McQueen’s final Autumn/Winter collection, The Horn of Plenty, in 2009, capturing an intense and theatrical working process, from sketching to production to the Paris catwalk show.

McQueen conceived The Horn of Plenty collection as an radical retrospective of his career in fashion, reusing silhouettes and fabrics from collections earlier on his career, creating a catwalk set out of broken mirrors and discarded elements from the sets of his past shows. It was this that provided inspiration for Waplington, best known for his photographic work centred on issues of class, identity and conflict. Their artistic collaboration reveals a raw and unpolished side of the fashion world, juxtaposing candid images of McQueen’s working process with rigorously produced photographs of landfill sites and recycling plants, to create a powerful commentary on destruction and creative renewal.

The photobook that resulted from this collaboration is unlike anything of its kind. Waplington and McQueen worked on the book together and a large maquette of the book, which they shared as they edited the work will be on display in the exhibition.

For more information about Alexander McQueen
For more information about Nick Waplington
For more information about the exhibition
Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG

Exhibition dates: 10th March – 17 May 2015
Opening times: 10.00–18.00 daily
Admission: Adult £16.00 (without donation £14.50)
Concession £14.00 (without donation £12.70)

Images ©
1. Untitled from the series ‘Alexander McQueen Working Process’ 2008-09 – Nick Waplington
2. Untitled from the series ‘Alexander McQueen Working Process’ 2008-09 – Nick Waplington
3. Untitled from the series ‘Alexander McQueen Working Process’ 2008-09 – Nick Waplington

Metro is delighted to produce silver gelatin limited edition prints at the new exhibition supporting the launch of ‘Archive: McQueen: Backstage – The Early Shows’ the first book from Big Smile Publishing, Commemorating the fifth anniversary of McQueen’s untimely death, the exhibition features select and never seen before images by Gary Wallis, renowned British photographer and Big Smile founder.

Having met whilst studying at Central Saint Martins, photographer Gary Wallis and Lee McQueen, later known as Alexander McQueen, began their long term collaboration when Lee asked Gary to shoot his MA graduation collection ‘Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims’.

The pair next met shortly before McQueen’s ‘Banshee’ collection at Café de Paris, when Wallis was asked to make a short ‘home movie’ including the show backstage plus shooting pictures. For McQueen’s next four shows  ‘The Birds’, ‘Highland Rape’, ‘The Hunger’ and ‘Dante’, Wallis was given backstage access to take pictures.

It is these mainly unseen images that make up the first book from the ‘archive’ series – a library of images which has been hidden away in filing cabinets for 20 years until now. Wallis’ images provide a true insider’s view into a rare moment in time, as McQueen pushed the boundaries of convention and rose up to be the rebel king of British fashion. This intimate collection, published as a beautiful litho printed hardback, is a must have for any discerning lover of McQueen and fashion alike.

Proud Galleries has been a resolute supporter of British photography for over 20 years meaning there is no better place to display the genius and talent of two British boys at the onset of their careers.  An exclusive preview copy of the book at a discounted price will be available at the exhibition as well as the opportunity to view and purchase limited edition prints.

Proud Galleries, 161 King’s Road, London, SW3 5XP

Exhibition dates: 4th March – 5th April 2015
Launch date: 3rd March 2015
Opening times:  Monday to Sunday: 10:00am – 7:00pm
Admission to the exhibition is free

For information about Alexander McQueen
For information about the book ‘Archive – McQueen: Backstage – The Early Years’
For information about the exhibition

Images © Gary Willis
1.  Lee doing cartwheels across the lawn at Hilles House 1994
2.  Lee  at Hilles House 1994
3.  Isabella Blow asleep at Elizabeth Street after a weekend filming at Hilles House with Lee in 1994


Metro interview Carl Bigmore, winner of the London College of Communication MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography & the LCC Metro Mentorship Prize 2015

1. Firstly congratulations on winning this year’s LCC MAPJD award – it’s an award held in high esteem, what does it mean to you to have won?
Thank you, I’m really pleased to have won. There were so many great projects produced on the MA course that it’s a real honour for my work to be selected. I took a bit of a creative risk with the work that won me the award so it’s nice to have that validated. It’s also special because Metro was the first lab I used in London when I started photography.

2. One of the prizes is a year’s mentorship with Metro Imaging, what are you looking forward to learning or hoping to gain from the experts here at Metro?
Having just completed the MA I feel it’s a really critical time for my career in photography to grow. I see the mentorship as providing me with support and inspiration as I continue my journey in photography. The facilities are amazing so I’m really looking forward to experimenting and pushing my practice with the help of all the experts there. The opportunities seem quite limitless which is exciting.

3. You have a young, yet established career what effect if any, do you think or hope the prize will have on your future?
I hope it will help me refine and challenge my current practice. Having a company like Metro show interest and belief in my work really means a lot. I think it will give me the confidence to carry on and persevere. It’s not an easy time to be a photographer so this really helps me retain my focus and continue working towards my goals.

4. You won your award with your MA work entitled “Between Two Mysteries”. It’s a wonderful collection of landscapes images mixed with interesting portraits; can you explain a little about the background of the project?
Sure, it’s a project I’d been thinking about for many years. I was fascinated with the Pacific Northwest of America and I always wanted to produce a project there but I could never put my finger on what it was that I wanted to explore in the work. After some time I realised that a lot of my associations with the region were through popular culture. Whether that was David Lynch’s Twin Peaks or the music of Nirvana and the grunge movement of the nineties. I basically went in search of places I knew through popular culture and used that to find the real people of the Pacific Northwest. Those people’s stories then became fused with my fictional understanding of the region. So the project became me creating my own interpretation of the Pacific Northwest through a collection of images that mixed elements of fact and fiction.  To echo this idea I wanted the photographs to feel like film stills that dealt with themes of the American Dream, myth, history and popular culture.

5. What is your ideal subject matter, people or landscapes? Or perhaps something else?

I’m really fascinated with the relationship between people and place. All my favourite films, music and photography explore this theme so I would say my ideal subject is a fusion of both, probably an environmental portrait. Whether I’m photographing a person or a landscape it has to be the same response or feeling I have that motivates me to press the shutter.

6. Can you tell us what camera and equipment you are most comfortable working with & why?

That will be my 1958 Rolleiflex. It was given to me broken about 10 years ago, I got it fixed by one of the last Rollei repair guys in the country and it has been my main camera ever since. I’ve had Mamiyas and Hasselblads as well but nothing matches the Rollei for me. I don’t know what the reasons are but the pictures that come from it have a quality that I love, it’s almost painterly.

7. What sparked your interest in photography and have you always had an ambition to become a photographer?
From a very early age photography was always around me, my Granddad worked for Kodak and always took pictures. Then when I was 18 I started working in London and quickly got introduced to a lot of photography books that became really informative for me. It doesn’t show in my work but Larry Clark’s Tulsa was a big influence when I started taking pictures. Ever since then it’s been what I’ve wanted to do.

8. Do you have any interesting current projects or upcoming exhibitions you’d like to share with us?
I currently have an exhibition on in Toronto until June at the Harbourtfront Arts Centre, it’s a collection of work exploring the theme of the Deep Woods. Other than that I am working on raising funds to go back to the Pacific Northwest to work on a project that addresses climate change in the region. I’m particularly interested in exploring how fiction and mythology inform peoples anxieties and fears over climate change. I see this project as a continuation of the way I worked on Between Two Mysteries whilst incorporating a more topical narrative.

9. Are there any photography/career goals you’d like to achieve?
As I said photography books are a huge influence for me so I’d really love to publish my work. I’ve self-published a small run of Between Two Mysteries and the book format really suits the project. I was able to incorporate text which I feel really enriches the photographs. It’s something I’m keen to do more of.
Beyond this I want to keep producing my personal projects alongside commissioned work.

For information about Carl Bigmore
For information about  LCC MAPJD Course
For information about ‘Deep Woods’ Exhibition
Exhibition dates: 24th January – 14th June 2015

Images © Carl Bigmore/Between Two Mysteries