Aleesha's Pay Phone picture

University student has work featured in exhibition alongside world famous photographers

Aleesha Coker, 18, has her ‘pay phone’ photo featured alongside photography greats in the David Hill Gallery’s ‘Street Life’ exhibition.

The exhibition features 30 photos from 18 photographers and showcases street and documentary photography.

Opened to the public on March 1, the exhibition is in collaboration with Framelines, a quarterly magazine, with a large YouTube presence.

Aleesha said: “I was excited when I found out that I was going to be in the David Hill gallery, and I am proud of myself.

Aleesha poses next to her photo.
STANDING PROUD: Aleesha is proud of her achievement (credit David Hill)

“It has been a journey and there have been times where I have given up, but ultimately decided to get back up.

“There have been times where I asked myself why am I doing photography, but I told myself I just need to keep going.”

Some of photography’s greats feature in this exhibition such as Larry Fink, Baldwin Lee and Aleesha’s inspiration Nico Froehlich.

NICO FROEHLICH's  work features in the exhibition
ALEESHA’S INSPIRATION NICO FROEHLICH: Froehlich’s work features in the the exhibition (credit David Hill)

During A-levels Aleesha embarked on a series of work where she was taking pictures of people though glass, so this was part of a body of work she was doing.

Aleesha currently studies photography at the University of Westminster.

Aleesha said: “I Just wanted to continue my photography journey and have others look at my work, it’s my passion and the main thing I enjoy.

“You are surrounded by other people who are genuinely passionate about photography, you can learn from other people and lecturers.”

Aleesha was out with her two sisters and on the way to the shop, when she decided to take picture.

The ‘Pay Phone’ image was shot through glass, from exterior to the interior, to illustrate how the surface of glass can interact with the atmosphere’s elements in different ways.

Aleesha recounts how when she first took the photo, she instantly knew that it was a good one.

A common theme in Aleesha’s work is the veiled component to her work.

”Aleesha’s has kindness and warmth to the way she shoots”, Hill added.

Aleesha said: “I like to portray an interaction between people and the world.

“There’s always a narrative but the audience can determine what they see and feel”.

the gallery featuring the exhibition
STREET LIFE EXHIBITION: Street Life pictures on display in the David Hill Gallery (credit David Hill)

Aleesha visited the gallery in 2022 as part of an A Level school trip and recounts how her teacher, Joseph Cartwright, has played a key role in her photography journey thus far.

Cartwright believed in Aleesha even when she didn’t believe in herself and ultimately brought the attention of Aleesha’s photography to Hill.

Her family have also played major supportive role and are very proud of Aleesha’s achievement.

Although only becoming interesting in photography during sixth form, Aleesha has identified as a creative, studying graphics at GCSE and drawing from a younger age.

Hill recounted his background in photography as he studied photography for three years.

Hill has had the gallery for nine years, after previously working in music industry for 25 years, owning a record label and producing music too.

Larry Fink works features in the exhibition
LARRY FINK: Photography legend whose work features in the exhibition passed away in November 2023 (credit David Hill)

Hill wanted a range of pieces to be represented in the exhibition and explained how everyone who visited the exhibition has a different favourite, which indicates the balanced selection of photos.

Aleesha has lofty ambitions in photography as in the future she has dreams of seeing her work featuring in exhibitions in America.

All images courtesy of the David Hill

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