MA Commercial Photography students have been talking to AUB after their MA Show in the Northlight Studios. Here Andy Cope discusses his work

Can you tell us a bit about your work?

It’s a documentary piece about a specific character called Steve who’s turned his life around. He’s gone through lots of trials and tribulations, including prison, drugs and homelessness, and through the act of recycling furniture has found his salvation, inasmuch as he’s now potentially making a living out of it.

He met his partner, he’s now in a house and all this is through the recycling process – he sees it as he’s recycled himself, like he’s brought himself back into functionality with society.

I was doing a project on recycling and I took him as a portrait while he was recycling some furniture – I got talking to him and he told me his story about his life and it seemed like a really interesting story.

When I came to my next project, I lost my original subject and this was a fall back option, but I’m really glad I fell back on him. I then followed him around for weeks, videoed everything and shot it all in black and white because of the timeless quality it has and it also focuses on prison reform.

I also went into Guys Marsh Prison and interviewed the Governor there – I photographed an inmate and some of the artwork in there and now there’s a potential for me to go back and teach in the prison.