What topics interest you, both visual and contextual? and why?
When I first started studying in the creative industry I studied fashion design and textiles and then went onto studying fashion media and promotion at the University for the Creative Arts. The only element of the course I enjoyed was the photography side, so I left the course and switched to photography. I was really interested in fashion photography at first due to the past courses I have studied but decided not take the fashion photography course as I knew I had so much more to offer and wanted to broaden my photographic skills and did not want to limit myself at all. I was interested in other aspects that are not just fashion based.
I have always had a passion for staged photography as it allows you to express yourself in the free-est of forms. You can turn whatever you may imagine into a reality and capture it in a single moment. I adore the freedom of staged photography as it gives you chances to not only bring your thoughts to life but to recreate actual problems and issues that occur in everyday life, giving viewers an insight of events that take place and helps raise awareness of it, this certain subject is something I really enjoy researching and writing about. Portraiture and emotive photography is another aspect in which I am highly interested in and would like to try out more. I want to incorporate these elements of photography into my final project and am really excited about playing around and experimenting with emotive portraiture as they capture a certain mystery and wonder. They manage to get to you and make you think about the possible narrative, I find this type of photography absolutely captivating. Fine art photography is a topic in which I have never really understood but have always wanted to learn about. I have recently researched into fine art photography and love the blurred lines between fiction and reality, which stems from my passion for staged photography. I am searching more for this type of photography and am currently experimenting with fine art photography to create images of my own full of mystery and illusion.
What particular themes arise from or are dealt with in your work?
I have delved into storytelling within my images before the storytelling unit even came around. Being able to share a narrative through an image is extremely important for me as a photographer as I believe every image can affect people differently and I want my images to be thought about. I want people to question the narrative behind it and even come up with their own personal ideas of what the image is portraying. The power a single image can hold I find fascinating. In the first year of the course, I covered the area of youth within the image making unit. I wanted to my images to portray youth in its prime as well as capturing the emotion youth goes through, I wanted to show the viewer that not all youth is ‘reckless’ and young people experience negative events just as much as the older generation, even in youth the deepest of upsets can occur.
At the end of the first year, I covered a subject that was very raw and delicate to both me and my family along with many other families and individuals all over the world. Displacement is a photo series that I based on dementia and mental health. The project was a way for me to express the emotion I was feeling at the time of the loss of my great-grandparents due to this illness. This is the only photographic series I have done in which I am the model. This was due to the fact of the project being so personal, I used it as a form of self-expression and it helped me relieve many emotions. The photographs I produced using long exposures captured the loss of sense-of-self. I included two songs from an English singer-songwriter, Lucy Spraggan. The songs were about mental health and Alzheimer’s and gave another way of giving the viewers an insight of the journey.
In both first and second year, I focused some of my projects on the environment. This began from the environment unit at the very beginning of the course and the passion for it only grew. I discovered that I loved photographing in nature as it makes me feel calm and free, it is where my ideas flow. I continued my Into the Woods project further, creating a two-part series as I loved the outcome of part one so much. The original concept of this series was to photograph in any kind of environment. I chose the woods as when I was younger, my family and I would visit my granddad’s farm almost every weekend and play in the woods. We felt free and at ease, we were young and naive and didn’t know much about pain and or risk, we felt safe. This series has been perceived in many different ways, most connecting it with fairy tales, though this was not the main concept, it was influenced by fairy tales as me and my sister (who was the model in part one of the series) would binge-watch film adaptations of book and fairy tales and still do to this day. This series is one of my favourite projects to date. Knowing the concept and story behind the images takes me back to when I was younger and encourages me to continue producing work down within nature.
What is the link between your theoretical work, choice of research and your practice?
I feel as though when I am writing my essays, I tend to look at photographers who have continued to inspire me mainly Cristina Otero and Gregory Crewdson. Though there work is different, elements of both their styles I include in my own. I always begin my research with them. This is because no matter what my project may be about, their work has continued to make an impact on me. I like having some sort of link through my projects as a whole as that way there are more elements on which can help explain the concept and reasoning of why I decided to do things the way I did. Throughout my projects with the exclusion of two, I have used red as the signature colour, this helps link all of my visual work together even if the images do not relate at all. It is also a colour in which I feel strong in and is a colour many get drawn to. The constant strive to make my work tell a story, links within all elements of my projects: theoretical, research and visual. I try my very hardest to make every element make sense to one another and try to support each of them with another. I believe by doing this it bring my projects together nicely, it offers a further insight into my project, reasoning, explanations and further information about them. I try to make every element compliment each other nicely like each element of the project is a chapter of the final story itself.
What approaches do you take to developing your work (consider both practical elements and contextual), in other words, what stages do you tend to go through to develop, realise and communicate ideas? Is there a pattern to your process?
I am rather quick when it comes to ideas and normally have around 20 of them by the end of the briefing. My imagination tends to run wild and that can either make developing my idea easy or extremely hard. I spontaneously jot down whatever pops into my head and then that develops into many other ideas that I may be able to use, this process helps a lot as you will always have a backup plan in case things fall through. I then go ahead with researching my ideas by making collages which leads to finding photographers and/or works that associate with that particular idea and that can help influence my work project further. I then begin shooting and adapting elements of my idea until I am happy with the result. I document every piece of research in my notebook which I then copy and rework onto my blog. I ask friends and family for advice and their opinions which I take on board and I think helps me get an overall idea of how others view my work.
If you were to assess your approach in both areas, what do you feel works and what doesn’t? and where do you see the need for development?
If I was to assess my own work, I would say to involve my self in more extensive experimentation and use a broader range of mediums. I would also advise myself to research thoroughly before beginning an essay as I will have more developed references to help support my points, doing this will help me gain a better bibliography and give me more to talk about. Though I do believe I have improved on this greatly with my last essay. I believe this is because I wrote about something that I was extremely passionate about. I will try and find passion in every idea and essay I write as I will enjoy it more.
Where does your work sit in terms of genre and the creative industries? Think about the strengths of your working practices as well as interest – and whether these fit? And why?
At the beginning of the course, I did not have a certain genre that I fit into at all. I thought this as I photographed in many different styles and didn’t have an obvious prominent flare in my work. As the course has progressed I have found a passion for staged and conceptual photography and have just recently gained a new interest in fine art photography. I believe my style could fit into the industry in any way. My photographs can fit into editorial or fine art and many more, though I may not have an obvious genre of my work, I work in many styles and that fits into a range of genres. I am very confident in the ability to convey a narrative in my work which works well as emotion is what draws viewers in.
Where do you see your career heading?
I have always wanted to work in the creative industry. Working in theatre, film or entertainment would be a dream for me. I would love to produce the photographic images for films, posters, album covers etc. To be able to photograph around the world would be amazing, I believe by the kind of career I am interested in this could happen. I have always been interested in staged photography so these paths would be wonderful.