WE ARE The RPS Women in Photography Magazine, March 2023

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TheRPSWomeninPhotographyMagazine ThisisStrength
March2023
WEARE
byAllysonKlein

RPSWIPCommittee

Chair: TeriWalker

Events/OnlineTalks: Vacant

WEARE AssistantEditor: AliceChapman NinaRaingold

WEARE Designer: AllysonKlein

WEARE ProductionAssistant: PoppyFrench

WEARE Editor: Vacant(TeriWalkerinterim)

WebsiteandFacebook: SueWright

Memberw/outPortfolio: FrankieMacEachen

MemberAdvisor: JulieDerbyshire

SocialMedia-Instagram: VictoriaStokes

WSPOTYDevelopment

IrinaPetrovaAdamatzky

TheRPSWomeninPhotography(WIP) Group’sobjectiveistofacilitatethecelebration,educationandcollaborationoffemale andfemaleidentifyingphotographers.

Wearenotagenre.Theseareourstories. Wearethediscussionthatdrivesagreater awarenessoftheimportanceofwomenphotographerspast,presentandfuture.

MembershiptotheWIPgroupisavailable exclusivelytoRPSmembers. Visitourwebsiteformoreinformationabout whoweareandwhatwedo.

www.rps.org/womeninphotography

©2023Allrightsreservedonbehalfofthearticle contributors.Nopartofthispublicationmaybe reproducedorcopiedinanyformwithouttheexpress writtenpermissionoftheRPSWomeninPhotography GroupEditorandthecopyrightholder.

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3 InThisIssue 6 2023WomanSciencePhotographeroftheYear 12 TheArtoftheStoryteller AninterviewwithJuliaFullerton-Batten 20 ASelfieChangedMyLife ByKathrynChapman 26 EnjoyingtheUnpredictability AninterviewwithHelenSloan 35 LITTORAL:ACollaborativePhotobook PhotobookReview 36 ExploringtheSpaceBetweenFactandFiction AninterviewwithRhiannonAdam 46 AFemaleGaze AninterviewwithCharlotteWiig 50 DevelopingaSecondCareer asaPhotographerandSociallyEngagedArtist ByMargeBradshaw 56 PullMySelfToGetHer ByVanessaFairfax-Woods 60 CollegeBank:TheSevenSisters ByEllieWaters 65 Kanaval ByFrankieMacEachen 72 SamebutDifferent ByCeridwenHughes 77 CrossingLines AninterviewwithEveMilnerLRPS

FromtheWomenin PhotographyGroup

Welcometoourfirst WEAREMagazine for2023.Thisissueincludesarticlesandinterviews fromamazingwomenphotographersspanningawideanddiverserangeoftopics.Thankyou toallourcontributors.

TheRPSWomeninPhotographygrouphaskickedoff2023withourfirstWomanScience PhotographeroftheYearcompetitionwinnersbeingannouncedon10Februaryatanawards ceremony,andopeningfortheexhibitionatRPSHouseinBristol.Thankyoutoeveryonewho participated.Entrieswerereceivedfromaroundtheworld;fromamateurandprofessionalphotographersalike.CongratulationstoMargaretLeJeune(USA)whoseimage WatershedTriptych wonherthe2023WomanSciencePhotographeroftheYearawardandtoKellyZhang (USA)whoseimage TheBeautyofSoapBubbles wonfor2023YoungWomanSciencePhotographeroftheYear.TheresponsefromthepresshasbeenreallyexcitingaswellwithcoverageinphotographyandscientificjournalsfromtheUK,Germany,ChinaandtheUSA,to nameafew.ThisdigitalexhibitionwillrunatRPSHousethroughendofMarch,2023.Weare indiscussionswithothervenuestotourtheexhibitionthroughtherestoftheyear.Seepage 10formoreinformationaboutthecompetition.

IncelebrationofInternationalWomen’sDayon8thMarch,theWomeninPhotographygroup launched AMultifacetedView,ourfirstmember-onlyexhibitioninanoutdoorinstallationat RPSHouseinBristol.TheexhibitionwillrunthroughtheendofApril.Congratulationstoour 20photographerswhoseimageswereselectedfollowingavotebyWIPmembershipandcuratedwiththeassistanceofTracyMarshallGrant.Theselectedimagescanalsobeviewed online andarebeingsharedonoursocialmediaaccounts.Wearedelightedtofeaturetwoof theseimagesonthecoversofthismagazine.ThankyouAllysonKleinandAthenaCarey.

We’vedoneawrap-upofourperformancein2022andI’mveryhappytosaythattheWomen inPhotographygrouphadareallygoodyear.Wehostedtwelveonlinetalks;featured46articlesandinterviewsinfour WEAREMagazine issues;grewourInstagramfollowersby26%; increasedourwebsitepageviewsby80%overthepreviousyear;createdaFacebookgroup andpagetoexpandoursocialmediareach;heldnumerouscompetitions;andawardeda £3,000bursarytoawomanphotographygraduate.Moreimportantly,wegrewourmembershipby24%.

Everythingwedoisacollaborativeeffortsothankyoutoallourmembersandnon-members whocontinuetoprovidesupportandcontributetheirwork,timeandenergy.

Wehopeyouenjoythisissue.

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PhotoOxford2023Portfolio Reviews

Saturday29April,09:30-13:50

45minutetimeslottomeet2reviewers

StandardTicket£45,StudentTicket£35

email portfolioreviews@photooxford.org forstudentbookings

TicketsSalesNowOpen-TicketSalesclose3April

Venue:Blackwell’sBookshop,48-51BroadStreet,Oxford,OX13BQ

ThePhotoOxfordFestival2023offersadayofone-on-oneportfolioreviewswithnationalphotographyexperts.Thisopportunityisaimedatalllevelsofphotographicpractitioners;fromthosewho arejustbeginningtoexperimentwithphotography,tothosewhohavebeenworkingwiththemedium forsometime.Theeventwilloffertheopportunitytoputyourworkinfrontofleadingspecialistsin thefieldofphotography.

Whetheryouarecurrentlystudyingphotography,wishtopursueacareerinphotography,orwishto expandoncreativeoutputorexplorenewdirections;thesereviewsofferinvaluablefeedbackand adviceonyourartisticpracticeandcreativeorprofessionaldevelopmentaswellaswideningyour network.Participantswhobookareviewwillhaveone-on-oneaccesstotworeviewersduringa periodof45minutes(two20minutesessionswitha5minutechange-overtime).Bookearlyto secureyourpreferredreviewers.

Reviewerbios,furtherdetailsandbookinglinkarehere: https://www.photooxford.org/programme/portfolio-reviews

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Images©

PhotographeroftheYear

2023WomanScience
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ThefinalistsoftheinauguralWomanScience PhotographeroftheYearcompetitionwere announcedatanawardsceremonyhostedbythe RPSWomeninPhotographygroupinBristol aheadoftheInternationalDayofWomenand GirlsinScienceon11February,asinitiatedbythe UNGeneralAssembly.

Followinganinternationalopencall,submissions werereceivedfromacrosstheglobeandjudged byapanelconsistingofprofessionalphotographersYasCrawford,KymCoxandGigiWilliams,as wellTeriWalkerwhochairstheRPSWomenin PhotographyGroup.Thefinalselectionreflects theaward'smissiontocelebratetheremarkable storiesbehindscientificexplorationandapplicationthroughafemalelens.

Thewinningphotographis WatershedTriptych by MargaretLeJeune(USA).JurymemberYas Crawforddescribesthepanel'srecognitionof

LeJeune'sartisticinterpretationofoneoftoday's keyenvironmentalissuesas“anendorsementof justhowfarwecangowhencombiningscience andartinathoughtfulandinformingway”.

TheBeautyofSoapBubbles byKellyZhang(USA) wasannouncedasthewinnerofTheYoung WomanSciencePhotographeroftheYear.Yasreiteratestheimportanceoftheawardas“itnotonly representsanachievementbutalsoservesasan encouragementforotherwomenandgirlsto pursuetheirpassionsandcareersinscience.”

Nanosatelite byLinaYeleuova(Kazakhstan) wasselectedastherunner-upintheYoung WomanPhotographercategoryforherdocumentationoftheUniSatNano-satelliteEducationalProgrammeforGirls(UNEPG),ajointinitiativeofUNICEFandAl-FarabiKazakh NationalUniversity.

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AwardwinnerMargaretLeJeunestressesthe importanceofTheWomanSciencePhotographeroftheYeartowardsachievingbalanced representation:“Thisawardcallsattentiontothe excitingcreativeresearchthatmanywomenidentifyingartistsaroundtheworldaredoingin theirstudios,labs,andclassrooms.Representationhelpstoinvitethenextgenerationtofollow theircuriosityandgetinvolvedinthefieldsofscienceandart.”

Thedigitalexhibitionofwinning,finalistand shortlistedentrieswillbeondisplayatRPS House,337Paintworks,AmosVale,BristolBS4 3ARuntil30March.

Allexhibitionimagesmayalsobeviewedonthe WomeninPhotographywebsite: WomanSciencePhotographeroftheYear

TheBeautyofSoapBubblesbyKelly Zhang“notonlyrepresentsan achievementbutalsoservesasan encouragementforotherwomenand girlstopursuetheirpassionsand careersinscience.”-YasCrawford

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TheArtoftheStoryteller

AninterviewwithJuliaFullerton-Batten

JuliaFullerton-Battenisafine-artphotographerrenownedforherhighlycinematicvisualstorytelling. Herlarge-scaleprojectsarebasedaroundspecificthemes.Eachimageintheprojectembellishes hersubjectmatterinaseriesofthought-provokingnarrativestoriesusingstagedtableauxand sophisticatedlightingtechniques.

Julia’suseofunusuallocations,highlycreativesettings,street-castmodels,accentedwithcinematic lighting,arehallmarksofherstyle.Sheinsinuatesvisualtensionsinherimagesandimbuesthem withamystiquethatteasestheviewerintocontinuallyre-examiningthepicture;somethingnew comingtotheforeeachtime.

Herfine-artworkisgloballyrenownedandexhibited.Shehaswoncountlessawardsworldwide,is frequentlyportrayedinphotographicjournals,haspublishedthreebooks,isaHasselbladAmbassador,afrequentspeakeratinternationalworkshopsandajurorofinternationalcompetitions.Her imagesareonthefrontcoverof AGuidetoCollectingContemporaryPhotography.ShehasapermanentcollectionattheNationalPortraitGallery,Museedel’Elysee,LausanneandtheParliamentary ArtCollection.

WIPChairTeriWalkerspeakstoJuliafor WEAREMagazine

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TheMetzOperaHouse ©JuliaFullerton-Batten

HiJulia.Thankyousomuchfortakingtime toshareyourworkandphotographystory withourreaders.Whatinitiallyencouraged youtotakeupphotographyasaprofession?

Iwasinitiallyinspiredbymyfatherwhowasan enthusiasticamateurphotographer;hehadhis ownmakeshiftdarkroomathome.Onquitea fewoccasionswechildrenwouldhavetowaitfor thebathtobeclearedofprintsbeforewecould haveoureveningbath.Igrewupfascinatedwith hisimagesandgraduallyhadthecourageto ‘borrow’onehiscameras.Hefinallygiftedmehis MinoltawhichIstartedexperimentingwith.Atthe time,Ihadnoideaphotographycouldbea properstandaloneprofession,letalonethata

careerinartphotographywaspossible.Welived insuburbiainGermanyandintheUSAuntilI wassixteen,whenwemovedtotheUKandI begantorealisethatsuchpossibilitiesexisted andIbegantothinkmoreaboutmyfuture career.AftercompletingmyeducationIdecided tostudyphotography.

Howhaveyoudevelopedyourskillsasaphotographer?

Aftercompletingmyphotographycourse,I movedtoLondonandworkedasafreelance assistanttoprofessionalphotographersforfive years.Althoughalongtime,itwasafabulously formativeexperienceasIworkedwithmanydifferentphotographerscoveringaverydiverse

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FloodingofTateBritain ©JuliaFullerton-Batten

rangeofgenres.Iwouldcollectthediscarded Polaroidsattheendoftheshootandspendtime writingupreportsoflightingtechniquesinmy workbooks.Itwasstillthetimewhenmostassistantsweremale,andIhadtocompetewiththem forjobsandnotshuntheheavyliftingitoften entailed.Itwashardworkbutgreatfun;Itravelledandlearnedalot.

Iappliedforandgotamonth’sworkexperience at Vogue magazinewhereImetmanytalented peopleincludingMarioTestino.Iworkedunder IsabellaBlow,whowasarealtoughnutand alwaystoldmeto‘justgetonwithit’.Atthatpoint KateMosshadbecomethenewtopmodel.I rememberhandlingmanyphonecallsfrom motherswhorang Vogue tocomplainabouther look.Theycouldn’tunderstandwhythisyoung skinnygirlwasfeaturedsooftensittingonabed inunderwearon Vogue fashionpagesandfeltit wasn'tagoodexampleforfuturegenerations.

Thatperiodwascertainlyaneyeopenerforme. Itwasnewandexciting.Ilikedthecreativefreedomthatfashionphotographershad.Theywere abletobeexperimentalandoftentechnicalmistakesweresomethingthatcreativesloved,such asa10x8sheetoffilmaccidentallybeing polarised.ButthenIrealisedthatitwasn’tfor me;Ihaddevelopedadesiretoshootabroader rangeofsubjectmattersthatmeantmoretome.

Istartedenteringcompetitions,winningprizes andbuildingupareputationasanup-and-comingphotographer.Thebreakthroughcameafter aseriesofimagesshotinVietnamwonawhole batchofprizesattheAOPStudentAwards.This drewtheattentionofaGermanagent,who promptlygotmemyfirstcommission,toshoota largecampaigninAustralia.Withthis,I achievedthebreakthroughandbecameaprofessionalphotographerinmyownright.

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EglisedesTrinitaires ©JuliaFullerton-Batten

Icontinuedforawhileasacommercialphotographerbutalwayshadahankeringtodevelop myownphotographicstyleasafine-artphotographer.MyseriesofimagesthatIhadshoton theanguishofthetransitionofyounggirlsto womanhood(basicallyavisualautobiography) thatIenteredinacompetitionwonamajorprize. Thisprizeenabledmetohavemyfirstbook The Act;FeralChildren publishedandtheimages exhibitedingalleriesinEuropeandNewYork. ShortlyafterthissuccessIwasinvitedbythe NationalPortraitGallerytoshootportraitsofthe sixteenmostimportantmedicalpeopleintheUK atthattime.Theimageswerehunginthe Galleryandarenowinpermanentcollection.

Thereisnodoubtinmymindthatasaphotographerwearealwayslearning.Notonlyabout technicalskills,butalsoaboutourselvesandthe worldaroundus.Ioftenquestionwhyhasone photographergreaterinterestinonesubjectthan anotherorsucceededmoreinourrespective preferredgenres.Perhapsthereasonsformy ownreasonablesuccessisadrivetosucceed, mycuriosityinmanydiverseaspectsoflife,and thatthesubjectmattersIhavechosenare basedonanempathyforthesubjectmatterand thesittersthatIengagetohelpmeportraymy stories.

Wheredoestheinspirationforyourprojects comefrom?

Astimegoesonmyworkismoreinvolvedwith delvingintothepastandlivinginthepresent.My choiceofsubjectmatterforaprojecthassofar beenbasedonanumberoffactors:myownpersonalexperiencesofgrowingup(TeenageStories);feminism(TheAct);historicaleventsthat touchmyheart(FeralChildren);thehistoryof theworldIlivein(OldFatherThames);and socialthemes(BlindandUnadorned)etc.Once Ihavedecidedonaproject,Ibreakitdowninto sub-sectionslikethechaptersofabookand researchthesubjectmatterexhaustively.Iama sticklerforintegrityinthecontentanddetailof myimages.DuringtheresearchprocessIsearch forthemeaningbehindthedetailineachand everypartofmyplannedimage.Iensurethat

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ThamesDisaster ©JuliaFullerton-Batten LookingoutfromWithin© JuliaFullerton-Batten TimAndrews ©JuliaFullerton-Batten
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BathingbyTowerBridge© JuliaFullerton-Batten

thereisasignificanceandrelevanceinthe choiceandsetting,aswellasthemessage impliedinmyimage;likewise,theimportance ofstaging,clothing,bodypostureandan expression.Thedayoftheshootistheculminationoffulfillingtheinspirationprocessstarted sometimesseveralmonthsearlier.

MarionTandeofMoMawrotetheforewordfor mymostrecentbookonCovidlockdowns LookingOutFromWithin.Shesummedupmy imagerybeautifully:

“Traditionally,storytellershavebeenthekeepersofasociety’shistory,passingtalesdown throughgenerations.Thesetaleshaveinspired peopletocreativelymakesenseoftheworld, andhaveeducatedchildrenabouttheirculture, moresandsocialconduct.Throughherseries titled LookingoutfromWithin JuliaFullertonBatteninvitesviewerstovisuallylistentoher intimatestories.”

Howwouldyoudescribeyourwork?

Iamavisualstoryteller.Iliketofeedmymind withideasandthencreateanimageinwhichI cansharemyideaswithviewersconsciously.

Duringmylastinterviewsomeoneaskedmeif Iamahistorian.Iliketofeedmymindwithstoriesburieddeepinthepast,butstillofsignificancetoday.Ialsofeelthatsharingknowledge isoneofthegreatestgiftsapersoncangive.I getgreatsatisfactionfromsharingsubject matterthatIhavedugupfromthepastandconvertingitintoabeautifulphotographthatmight beviewedandsharedbymany.

Youusealotofproduction,staging,costumesandspecialeffectsinyourwork. Whydidyouchoosetopursuethatstyleof imagery?

Iwouldn’tsaythatIdeliberatelychosethis process,itjustmaterialisesoutofmypsyche. IwillworkonanideaforalongtimebeforeI starttheproduction,bywhichtimeIamfinally andfullycommittedtotheproject,suchthatall mycreativeenergyisimmersedinit.Iamvery muchinfluencedbywhatIseeinmymind’s eye,thenwithanemptycanvasinthesame

wayasanartistembellishestheirpaintingwith content,Ibegintoaddfeaturestomyimage, addingdepthtomyimagewithstaging,costumes,props,etc.

Whatareyoucurrentlyworkingon?Are thereanynewprojectsthatyoucanshare withus?

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1814FrostFair-Contortionist ©JuliaFullerton-Batten

Iamcontinuingmy OldFatherThames project. I’mplanningonpublishingtheprojectinbook form;aprospectthatbothdauntsandexcites me,beingtheclimaxofnearlyfiveyearswork.I haveanumberofexhibitionopeningsandtalks linedupfor2023.

2023soundslikeit’sgoingtobeabusyand excitingyearforyouandwelookforwardto seeingyournewbookinprintsoon.Thank youagainfortakingtimetospeakwithus.

www.juliafullerton-batten.com @julia_fullertonbatten

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ASelfieChangedMyLife

Pleasenote:Thisarticlecontainsreferencestosuicidewhichsomeindividualsmayfinddistressing.

Kathisaportraitandself-portraitphotographer,speakerandmentor,specialisingintransformation throughcreativity.Sheisapassionatefelt-senseadvocate,fascinatedinexploringthepowerful potentialtoseeourselvesbetterthroughart.KathwasinterviewedbyRankinin2021andselected forhis2022 Unseen exhibitioninLondon.ShespeaksregularlyattheNEC’sPhotographyShow,is aproudmemberofthe Uninvisibility movementandwasoneof100UKphotographerstobechosen forthe 2020VisionProject

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IusedtoloathewhoIwas.Ihatedmybody,my mind,myface,myhair,myvoice,mylaugh,my innercritic,myfeelings.Ihadnoself-compassion andabsolutelynoideahowtolovemyselforeven whatthatmeant.IdideverythingIcouldnotto feelmyemotionsplusIwasragingagainstsomethingthatwasmakingallthebadthoughtstrue.I existedinadissociated,confused,numbed-outtuned-inagony.SometimesI’dfeelincandescent rageandinjustice,othertimesinfiniteemptiness.

WhenIreachedrockbottom,Itriedtotakemylife. Iendedupinhospital,afterwhichIembarkedon 25yearsin-and-outoftalkingtherapy.Iachieved littleandwasleftfeelingdrained,hopeless,uselessandvery,verytiredoftalking.

In2015mymentalhealthhitamassivelowwhen IwasknockedoffmybikeandIfellintoanother deepdepression.Asubsequentpsychassessmentrevealedclinicaldepression,severeanxiety and'offthescale'PTSD.Theseverityofwhatwas reflectedbackwasashockandIpromisedmyself I’ddothingsdifferently.Myway.Onethingata time.Onceandforall.

IstartedwithCBTandtackledtheself-medicinal anaesthetisingIwasdoingwithalcohol.AsI drankless,buriedtraumassurfacedanditwas herethatIfinallystartedtogetahandleonmy why.Ithelpedenormouslytounderstandthe anger,butdidn’tstopthecycleofdepressionand ferocityofmyinnercritic.

Themirrorheldupduringthepsychassessment had,however,plantedaseed.Threeyearsafter theaccident,Ididaself-portraitshoot,holdinga mirroruptomyself.Iwantedtoseeifeverything wasasbadasitfelt,tolookmyselfintheeyeand facemyselffully.SoIgotintothestudio,satwith mymostdifficultemotionsandphotographed whatwasthere.Icalledtheshoot, FacetoFace Ihadn’tthoughtabouthowI’dreacttotheimages -whatI’dthinkorfeel,orwhattheymightteach me.Butthere,lookingbackwasawomanin agony,desperateforloveandcare,andtheonly personwhocouldgiveherthatwasme.Itwasan emotionalandpowerfulmoment.

Amongstthepainandhurt,Isawvulnerability, courage,resilienceandstrength.HereIwasinall mybeautifulmessandIdidn’thatewhatIwas lookingat.ItwasthefirsttimeIfullysawandfully acceptedmyself;thefirsttimeIgiftedmyselfkindness,patienceandgentleness.Icouldn’tdeny whatwaslookingbackatmeandIexperienceda deepself-compassionthathasremainedever since.TheimageschangedwhatIthoughtof myself,whatIsaidtomyself,whatIsawinmyself, whatIdidtomyself.Itwastransformative.

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ItwasthecatalystIsodesperatelyneededto beginself-careandfeedmysoul.Irealignedwith myspiritualneeds,discoveredawaytoquieten myinnercritic,thesurprisingresultofasecond self-portrait,andIcelebratedmysenseofemotionalfreedomviaathird,my FreedomShoot

Iwokeupeverydayfeelingbetterandbetter,I wasn’tdepressedanymore.I’dfoundmyrecoverystrategyandwantedtoseeifthisapproach couldbenefitothers.Ispentayeartrialling Face toFace andtheresultswereamazing.Iwas affectingmeaningfulandlastingchangethrough myartanditfeltincredible.Soonafter,Ialsostar-

tedoffering FreedomShoots andtherevelations frommyinnercriticself-portraitformedpartof eachprocess.

I’dunexpectedlyfoundmylifepurpose.Thatwas nice.Byholdingupmyownmirror,I’mnowable toholdupmirrorsforotherssotheycanseehow courageous,brave,beautifulandpowerfulthey are.Tobearwitnessandloveallthattheyare.To knowthatthey’reenoughandtoseethemselves better.It’shugelyimpactfulandincrediblymoving.

Mypassionforusingphotographythiswaygrows everbigger.I’vecometorealisethatallI’dever

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wantedisfortheemotioninmyarttobefelt;forit toevokeastrongresponse(whateverthatwas) inthosewhoneededtofeelit.Thefeltresponse ishugelyimportantforpersonalinsightand growth,andwecanaccessiteverywhere.It’smy fundamentalcalltocreateandI’veneverwanted myarttobeviewedinanyotherway.Ibeganto wonderifotherphotographersfeltthesame.

In2022,Icreated FeltPhotographic,anonline galleryofimagesselectedpurelyonemotional responses,celebratingourhumanitythroughthe feltsense.Iwonderedifanyonewouldbeinterestedinit.Andifit’dbehelpfulforthem.Ormaybe they’dthinkIwasaweirdo.EitherwayI’dwin.So Isetitup,curiousaboutwhatwouldhappen.

FeltPhotographicistheantidotetoopencalls, existingtochallengethenormsofartisticjudgementandhelpdeconstructtheelitismandintellectualisationofart.There'snocritique,scoring,technicalappraisalorjudging-itiscurated entirelyonthefeltsense,fromhowthepanel selectimagestohowthegalleriesarearranged. TheFeltProcess.

Itexiststocelebratethereasonwecreateinthe firstplace-fromemotiontobringforthemotion, helpingbringusbacktoouruniversalexperience. Andthephotographerswhotakepart,lovethat theirworkisheldinaplaceoffeeling.Wecan’t getourcreativitywrong-judgingcaninhibitthe creativeprocessandcrushconfidence.

Thepanel(mostarenotpro-photographers)likeit becausetheydon’thavetoknowanythingabout photographyorarttoimmersethemselvesinthe experience,andvisitorsareinvitedtonoticewhen they’rehavingastrongresponsetowhatthey’re lookingatandhowthiscanhelpinformwhatthey need.It’sabeautifulwaytoexperienceartand whatitmeanstobehuman.

Myfirstopencall, LOSTFORWORDS,exhibited inMayandthesecond, RAINWILLFALL,in November.Mythird, HATE-MODERN,was launchedinFebruaryandinvitesphotographic responsestotheimpactofhateinourmodern world.Theaimistobearwitnesstotheeffectit causesandpromotepeace.I’mthrilledtobepartneringwithandraisingmoneyfor StopHateUK

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“Ihadn’tthoughtabouthowI’dreacttotheimages-whatI’d thinkorfeel,orwhattheymightteachme.Butthere,looking backwasawomaninagony,desperateforloveandcare,and theonlypersonwhocouldgiveherthatwasme.Itwasan emotionalandpowerfulmoment.”

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Iloveexperimentingwithadifferentapproach toart,itfeelslight,easyandfree.Itfeels inclusive.We’reallthesame-fragile,vulnerablehumansimprovisingourwaythroughlife onamassivespinningrocksomewhereinthe universe.

Ibelieveallartisvalidandallresponsessubjective-howevermuchknowledgewehave. Arthasthepowertospeakdeeplyandhasthe innatewisdomtoprovidenewperspectivesfor meaningfulchangeandtransformationalhealing.Arthealedmewhennothingelsecould.

Lookingback,IrealisethathowevercloseI came,Inevergaveuphope.Inevergaveup thinkingtheremustbesomethingorsomeone thatwouldmakethedifferenceIneeded.The somethingthatmadethemostdifferencewas myfirstshootandthesomeonethathelped turnmymostsignificantcornerwasme.I becamemyownlight.Ouranswersarenotout intheworld,they’reinsideofus.Sometimes wejustneedabitofhelptonoticealltheamazingthingsweare,whilstnavigatingthestorms.

Thefeltsensecreptuponmeasabeautiful forcewhichnowdriveseverythingIdo,andin aworldwherewe’rebeingencouragedtodestroyorignoreourconnectionandwhatunites us,artcanhelpusreconnectinsuchawonderfulway.

Beyourownpriorityandkeepsearchingfor whatyouneed,trustinginwhoyouare.And mostofallhavehope,becausewithouthope wehavenothing.

www.feelmorecreative.org

@feelmorecreative

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“Ihadn’tthoughtabouthowI’dreacttotheimages-whatI’d thinkorfeel,orwhattheymightteachme.Butthere,looking backwasawomaninagony,desperateforloveandcare,and theonlypersonwhocouldgiveherthatwasme.Itwasan

EnjoyingtheUnpredictability

AninterviewwithHelenSloan Images© HBO/HelenSloanSMPSP

HelenSloanisatelevisionandfeaturefilmphotographerbasedinBelfast,IrelandandIceland,but workingworldwide.SheisknownforherroleastheprincipalstillsphotographerforthehitHBOseries GameofThrones,forwhichsheshottheunitphotographyforalleightseasons.Sheisalsoresponsibleformanyinternationalkeyartpostermarketingcampaigns.

SloanisaNikonEuropeAmbassador&wasrecentlyappointedastheEuropeanVicePresidentof theSocietyofMotionPictureStillPhotographers(SMPSP).

HelenspeakswithAllysonKleinfor WEAREMagazine.

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Yourworkissobeautiful,Helen.Canyoutell mewhenyougotinterestedinphotography andhowyougotinvolvedwithworkingin stillsasaprofession?

Inmylastyearofprimaryschool,myfatherlent mehiscameratogoonaschooltriptoYork.It wasclearthatIhadabitofaknackforit!Being

myever-encouragingdad,henotonlyletme havethecamerawheneverIwanteditbutalso convincedhispalwhoworkedatthelocalnewspapertoletmecomeinandlearnhowtodevelop andprintinthedarkroom.

ImovedtoBelfastatseventeenandimmediately soughtoutaphotocommunity.Luckily,Icame acrossBelfastExposed(BX),whichstartedout asagroupofphotographerswho,overthelast fewdecades,haverecordedvariousaspectsof NorthernIreland-thetroubles,thepeople,the communities-tocreateanamazingarchiveof sociallyandpoliticallyengagedworkthathelps toshapeanddefinethepeopleofBelfastandthe restoftheworld’sunderstandingofNorthernIreland.Inexchangeformakingcupsofteaand cleaningthedarkroom,MervynSmythtaughtme howtoprintandletmelookthroughtheir impressivebackcatalogueofnegativefolders.I wastaughthowtolook,particularlyinplaces whereothersaren’tlooking.MytimeatBX undeniablyhelpedmedeveloptheabilityto negotiatewithpeopleonfilmsets.

Onedayinabarwithsomefriends,wegotchattingwithagroupofclownswhoaskedifwe wouldphotographthemforsomepublicitymaterial.Weproducedsomeweirdandwonderful shotsinaforest.Wordofmouthspread,and morepeopleintheBelfastcircuscommunity cameforwardneedingphotography.Soon,Iwas havinganamazingtimetravelingtodifferent partsofEuropewithcircusperformersfromall overtheworld,shootingtheirpromotionalmaterial,liveshows,andcabarets.ThatSummer,Igot thechancetoworkonafriend’sshortfilmabout agoldfish,andthenagainonalowbudgethorror film.Thenaphonecallcamefromtheproduction officeofabigmoviefilmingdowninthePaint

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Hall.Theyhadoneoftheworld’sgreatestphotographersonboard,KeithHamshere.Hewasso lovely;encouragingwithoutbeingunrealistic.

DuringmytimewithKeith,theVFX(visual effects)producersEricDurstandKimJorgensen AdamswereseekingoutahelperfortheVFX department.Theyneededsomeonewhocould handlecomputersandtakesometexturephotography.Thiswasmychancetospendtimeona bigfilmsetandseehowthingsreallyworked. Thetexturephotographyhappenedwhenthe crewleft,whichwasfineasitgavemethis incredibleopportunitytowanderroundagiant filmsetonmyownandtrulyinhabitafantasy world.Tothisday,oneofmyfavouritepastimes iswanderingaroundsetsalone;it’satotal escapefromtherealworld.Awell-designed, well-dressed,andbeautifullylitsetistrulyathing tobeholdandcreatesapowerfulsensationthat you’vebeendroppedintoanalternateuniverse.

Thelittlegirlwiththebigimaginationinme enjoyseveryminute.

Myintroductionto GameofThrones camewhile Iwasinlineforacupofcoffee.AtthetimeIwas workinginVFXonanotherfilm,andacolleague saidtome:“There’sthisbigHBOpilotcomingin, andit’sgotwitchesandmagic-allthatnerdy stuffyoulike.Youshouldputyournamein.” Strangelyenough,theproducerMark,whowas bringingtheshowtoIreland,cametotalktome laterthatdayonsetaboutthestillsposition.He warnedmeitwasabigproductionbutthoughtit wasstillworthatry,andhehelpedmethrowmy hatinthering.AcallcamefromVicky,thephoto editorontheproduction,whosaid:“Weloveyour styleandthinkit’sverymuchinkeepingwiththe storyofthisshow.Wouldyouliketojoinus?” HBOsawsomethinginmystylethatmatched theirvisionfor GameofThrones,sothereIwas fromdayoneofthepilotuntilthelastday.And,

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ofcourse,Vickywouldbecomemypartnerin crimeforalleightseasons.

Howdoyoufindworkasastillsphotographer?Doyouhaveanagentorisitpredominantly"whoyouknow"?

It’ssimilartothewayIfoundmyselfonsetto beginwith.Lifeisaseriesofmeetingsandpartingsandthat’susuallyhowwefindworkinthis game.Wordofmouthspreads.Thereareso manyphotographersintheworldandsoword doesn’tspreadasfarthesedaysasitdidinthe past.Iguessthat’swhyalotoffilmcrewchoose toseekoutanagent.Ihavebeenapproacheda fewtimes,butneverfeltitwassomethinguseful forme.Itisworthnotingforpeoplewhomay wanttojoinusinthisworld,thattheindustrycan befickleandoftenpeoplearen’thiredonthe strengthofworkalonebutonpersonalitytoo. Thatcanbejarringforshyfolk.Andnothinghappensovernightbutkeepputtinginthehardwork

andyouwillberewardedinsomeway.Thisisnot likeotherindustries.Thereisnoladder.It’smore likeaclimbingframe.Onedayyou’reonthe swingshavingthebesttime,thenext,you’ve fallenoffthemonkeybarsandyou’reinthemud. That’sjustthewayitis.Learntoenjoytheunpredictability.

Canyoutellusaboutsomeofthechallenges youhavewithworkingonafilm/tvset,such aslighting,beingincrampedspaces,the soundofacamerashutter,etc?

Onadailybasis,IamexpectedtobeaJill-of-alltrades:landscapework;portraitworkinavailable light;photostudioflashset-ups;andbehind-thescenesdocumentarywork.There’screativity everywhereonaset.I’msurroundedbyartisans. Sothat’sahugedrawofcoursebutfilmworkis notforthefaintofheartorthoseseekingglamour. Itcanbearollercoasterandcommitmentiskey inthisgame.Idolovethejobitselfandthemadnessitbringsbutit’ssoimportanttofindabalanceforyourhealthandcareer.

Everyonehasajobtodoonset,andrespectis paramount.Seeminglycavernousfilmsetscan becomeveritablesardinetinsoncewegetallthe crewandequipmentinthere.Itcanbetrickyto getyourshotwhenshootingonasetusingmultiplecameras.Yousometimeshavetodoabitof humanorigamiwiththeothercrewaroundthe camera.Youmustbecomeachampionnegotiator.Thestresslevelsareprettyhighfromdayto-dayaswell.Standinginaquarry,ankledeep inrain,mudandblood,with400screaming extrasswipingtheirswords,yourgeariswetand muddy,yourbrainistiredandthere’sstillsix hourstogoofthissixdayweek.

Weshotmanytechnicallydifficultsequenceson GameofThrones.Ahugearmyofzombies, someonfire,inablizzard!Justatypicaldayat theoffice.Weweredealingwithtorrentialrain, galeforcewinds(helloIreland)andfakesnow beingblastedonsetthroughhugefans.Weshot aparticularlycrazysequenceinanabandoned freezingcoldquarryoutsideBelfast,sotheglamourlevelswerenothightobeginwith.Addontop ofthatanenormousshotlist,incrediblydifficult

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stuntsequences,highlychoreographedfights, hugespecialeffectsrigs(includingnumerous explosions),verycomplicatedVFXsetups,andof course,hundredsofcast,supportingartists, extrasandcrewallsimultaneouslytryingtodo theirjobstoamassivelyhighstandardwhilethe worldwatches.Andthatwasjustoneofthese sequences.Therewereusuallyseveralper season.Camera,sound,grips,AssistantDirectorsandspecialeffectsteamsallscrambling behindthelensonabattlefield,followingthe actionasitplaysoutacrosstheset.Everyone constantlyreadingthemovementofthecrew aroundthem.Doingtheirowntaskswithoutdisrupting,distractingorfallingoveranyoneelse.It’s hardtoexplainthisbizarredancetoanyonewho hasn’tbeenonafilmset.Yoursensesarebombarded.Allyoucanhearisthewindmachines, theshoutsoftheextras,squigglingmudbeneath yourfeet,bloodandrainhittingyouintheface (fakeblood...hopefully).Oftenmyperipheral visionwasblockedbythehugeheavysound blimpencasingmyDSLR(thankgodforthe NIKONZseriesnowmakingthatahistorical anecdote)andmyheadandbodywerewrapped upincopiouslayersofraingearandworkboots. Superglamorous.

Thepressuretogettheshotunderthoseconditionsisimmensefortheentirecrew.Sometimes wecanonlydothingsonce.Andifyoudidn’tget it?Youdidn’tgetit.Oftenthereareuptothree, maybemore,moviecamerasshootingsimultaneouslyonasetupwithdifferentfocallengths.I needtogetasmuchmaterialaspossibleinone take.Someofthatisdonewiththelens,and somewithmyfeetifwearemovingduringatake (mostofthetimeweareplayingstatuesand barelybreathing-soasnottodistracttheactors orinterruptsound).Thougheverytime,speed andaccuracyiskey.Iftheydon’trollagain,Ineed toknowwearecovered.There’squiteanadrenalinerushinthisjob.Orstressrush,hardtotell! Throwin60+charginghorses-yourhearthasto beabletotake,itIcantellyou.

MostofthejobsIseemtoworkonaredark,both intermsofmoodandlumens.Definitelyachallengetoshoot.Today’smoviecamerashave

incrediblesensors.Thismeansprimesforthe darkerscenes;yousimplycannotjustdropthe shutterspeedwhenshootingafightbyfirelight. Thisbeingasurprisinglycommonoccurrencefor me,youneedbeautifullensglassandhighISO capabilities.WiththeadventofmirrorlessIcan nowshootwithoutworryingaboutshuttersounds, whichwerepreviouslysmotheredbytheblimp. TheNikonZ9shootsbeautifullyandsilentlyinthe darkandIcanbefreerwithmymovement.

Afteradecadeofbeingon GameofThrones,I

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feellikeI’mjuststartingtocomfortablywearthe coatofbeingastillsphotographer.Aswithany job,inthebeginningyoucanfeellikeanimpostor who’sgoingtobefoundout,andthenthere’sthe addedpressureofglobalexposureandgrappling withbeingcritiquedonadailybasisontheinternet.Everyyear,theshowwouldgrowexponentiallybigger,aseachseasongainedmore momentum,morecharacters,moreelaborate sets,andmorecastandcrewmembers.The workmultipliedtenfoldovertheeightseasons,yet

becauseithappenedorganically,wewereableto learnhowtomanageit.IfI’dbeenthrowninto somethinglikethefinalseasonformyfirst season,myheadwould’veexploded;theworkloadwasmammothcomparedtotheothers.Not tomentionthehellishmentalgymnasticsthat waselevenweeksofnightshootingabattlein minus-zerotemperatures.Itrulylearnedmycraft on GameofThrones andfeelthatanysituation onanyfilmsetwithanyactororanycrew memberisnoproblem,becauseinthoseten

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yearswehaveencounteredeverything.Been there,donethat,gotseveralcrewt-shirts!Idon’t thinkmyphotographyhaschanged,buttheway Ifeelaboutithas.I’vedevelopedaconfidence withshootingthatcomesfrompractice,experience,gettingolder,andgettingmoreaccustomed withtheworldIinhabitasaphotographer.

Beingfemaleinamale-dominatedindustry mustposesomechallenges.Canyouexpress someofthechallengesyou'vefacedandhow you'vebeenabletoovercomethem?Doyou feeltheseareindustry-wideandhaveyou

seenanychangessinceyoufirststarted? Howhaveyoubalanceddealingwithfamily whilemeetingthechallengesofademanding career?

Luckily,I’vehadsomanyreceptivemaleco-workerswhoareinterestedtoknowhowitfeelstobe afemaleinthisindustry.NotcaringifI’maman orawoman,wouldactuallynotbethatforwardthinking.Pretendingorignoringgenderlike there’snodifferenceisludicrous.Hearingmyperspectiveandrealisinghowexperience,expertise anddiversityofallkindsaddstoaprojectisreally

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crucialtomakingarealshifttowardsequalityfor all.I’veevenbeenluckyenoughtohavebrilliant co-workerscorrectwrongsandimbalancesthat haveaffectedme,whenthesewereexplainedto them.ItdoestakegutstospeakupthoughandI realiseI’mluckytobeinaseniorposition,and wellestablished.

Unfortunately,manywomeninmale-dominated workplacesstillfacechallengesthatmensimply don’tneedtothinkabout,orlearnhowtonavigate.Goingtoworkeverydayalreadyanticipating certainnegativesituationsisaweightthattheir

malecolleaguesdonothavetoshoulder.Many mensimplyjust“gotowork”whereasforus,even thesimplestofdayscanbeanuphillbattle,dealingwithdiscriminationorharassment.Itruly believealotofmendon’tunderstandtheemotionalweightwomensufferthroughinrelationto theircareer,becausetheyhavelittletocompare ittothemselvesanditseemstherehasn’tbeena successfulwayacrosstheboardtoapproach openingarespectfuldialogueabouttheseissues.

“Howdoyoubalanceeverything?”iswhatwomen getaskedallthetime.Well,youcan’t,it’s

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impossible.Andtheexpectationissohighfor women.I’veneverheardamanbeaskedthat question.Aremenreallyhappytohavetheiremotionalpresencebeconsideredlessimportantfor theirchildren?Let’sflipthescriptonthatold story.Mendeservejustasmuchofanimportant roleathomeasinwork.Inabalancedlife, responsibility,careandloveissharedout.And thatlooksdifferentforeveryone.Thebalanceof mylifeisdifferentdependingonwhat’shappening.Sometimesfamilyneedsmore,sothebigjob getsshelved.Sometimeseveryoneiscooland theweightcanbeshared,soIgotoshootsand sets.Careerisfleetinghowever,it’sjustsomethingthatIdo,andIwouldbedisappointedifit wasever“whoIam.”

Yes,therehavebeenmoreopportunitiesfor womeninthepasttenyearsbutwestillhavea longwaytogo.Istilloftenfindmyselftheonly womanonthefloor.WomenIknow,myself included,havebeenoverlookedforpositionsand it’sglaringlyapparentthatitwasn’taboutexperiencebutratherthepeopleinchargedidn’twant toupsettheworkenvironmentwithsomethingas challengingasintroducingafemale,Godforbid. They’remorecomfortablehavingaman.Iknow thistobeafactbecause,incredibly,it’sbeensaid tomeinthoseexacttermsmorethanonce.Ser-

iously,it’snonsensicalandgivesustheadded burdenofbeingemotionallyexhausted.

Formeaningfulchangetohappen,menand womenneedtocometogetherandhaveproductive,ongoingdialoguesthathelpbothsides understandthebestwaystomoveforwardwith mutualrespect.Itwillobviouslyleadtostronger, andmoreeffectiveproductions.It’sthesmarter producersanddepartmentheadswhowillinvite thisforwardmomentum.Otherwomenseeing meinthisstrongcareerpositionisencouraging, andIrealisethat’simportant.Itcomeswith responsibility.Yes,sometimeswearemakinga fuss.That'snotabadthing.I'mmakingafussto ensurethatotherwomenhaveopportunities,the sameonesI'mluckyenoughtohavehad.Inmy careerI’vebeensupportedbytwocompanies withbrilliantwomenatthehelm-womenwhoput theirneckouttomakesureIwasn’toverlooked whenthatwouldhavebeentheeasyoption.

It’samountaintoclimbwithheavybaggage. Now,it’smyturntoputoutmyhandandpull someoneup.Maybewecanallsummittogether withpride…butifI’veretiredbythen,it’senough toknowthatI’mjustoneofthemanyfemales plantingseedsthatwillgrow.

www.helensloanstills.com

@helenstills

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LITTORAL PhotobookReview

ACollaborativePhotobook

ProceedsbenefittheRNLI

Thishardbackbookincludes35blackandwhite imagesbythreetalentedwomenphotographers -LynnFraser,AliLewisandFionaMcCowanaroundthethemeofcoastalfringes.

Fiona,amemberofWomeninPhotography, wasawardedFRPSin2021forherhandmade photobookIn TheOffing.Sheisalsoamember oftheRPSPhotobookDistinctionPanel.Lynn isaphotographerlivingintheScottishHighlandsandAliwaschosentotakepartasoneof thecontestantson TheGreatBritishPhotographyChallenge

Thephotographsarelinkedbyareflective essayonmemoriesandpersonalstoriesfrom JeffYoung(authorof GhostTown-ALiverpool Shadowplay).Inaddition,thebookbenefits fromaforewordwrittenbydocumentaristJack Lowe.In2015,Jackembarkedonamajorpho-

tographicmission TheLifeboatStationProject Usingawetcollodionprocess,hewillphotographallofthe238RNLIlifeboatstationsinthe UKandIrelandonglass.

Everyoneinvolvedintheprojecthasdonated theirtimeandallproceedsfromthebookare goingtotheRoyalNationalLifeboatInstitution (RNLI).

Littoral willbepublishedinJune2023.Aswell asthestandardhardbackedition,sixlimitededitionprintsarealsoavailableinadditiontoa deluxepackagewhichincludesthestandard book,afullsetofprintsandahandmadebook withbespokeslipcase.Pricesstartat£20and areavailabletopre-orderuntil30thApril2023.

Followthelinkforfurtherdetailsandtopre-order yourcopy: littoralphotobook.co.uk

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TheLoneliestGirlintheWorld,PitcairnIsland ©RhiannonAdam

Exploringthe SpaceBetween FactandFiction

AninterviewwithRhiannonAdam

RhiannonAdamisanaward-winningphotographer whoseworkisheavilyinfluencedbyhernomadicchildhoodspentatsea,sailingaroundtheworldwithherparentsontheirlive-aboardboat.Herlong-termprojects straddleartphotographyandsocialdocumentary,while subjectmatterisoftenfocusedonnarrativesrelatingto myth,loneliness,andthepassageoftime.

In2015,supportedbytheBBC/RoyalGeographicalSociety,AdamtravelledtotheremoteislandcommunityofPitcairnintheSouthPacific,whichishometojust42British subjects,descendantsfromthe MutinyontheBounty.A decadeago,theisland’sromanticimagewastarnished byastringofhigh-profilesexualabusetrials.Adamwas thereforthreemonthsandhersisthefirstin-depthphotographicprojecttotakeplaceontheisland.Theresulting book, BigFence/PitcairnIsland (BlowUpPress),was publishedinApril2022.

Adamhasrecentlybeenannouncedasoneofeightcrew membersselectedforthefirstcivilianlunarorbitalmission; dearMoon,fundedbyJapaneseentrepreneurYusaku Maezawa(MZ).Thetripwilllastforapproximatelyone weekandiscurrentlyplannedfor2023aboardSpaceX’s Starship.

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Canyoutellmealittlebitaboutyourbackgroundandhowyougotintophotography?

Ineverformallystudiedphotography.Igotinto photographyatschoolbecauseIwastryingto cutmyselfofffrommyfellowclassmates.Ihad beensailingaroundtheworldonaboat.When ImovedtotheUKasateenager,Iwaslikean aliendroppeddownfromouterspace,withno formofculturalreference.Ifoundmyselfdrawn tothingsthatIhadspenttimeentrenchedin whenweweretraveling,likereadingormaking art,becausethoseweretheonlythingsthatI hadaccesstodo.Idiscoveredthedarkroomat schoolanditwasamazing.

ThenIdidworkexperiencewithaTVcompany andtheyusedPolaroidalotforcontinuity.Iwas abletoaccessPolaroidfilmforfree.Ilikedhow PolaroidwaslinkedtothewayIcollected

objectsinthepast.Wenevertookanypictures ontheboat,Iusedtocollectobjectsinstead.

IgotintoPolaroidinamassiveway.Iwouldgo tocarbootsalesandpickupeverypieceof PolaroidequipmentIcouldfind.Iamasseda hugecollection,anditdominatedmuchofmy existence.SinceIwrotethePolaroidbook,I haven'treallyshotmuchonPolaroid.Now,I mainlyshootonmyHasselbladormyMamiya.

Ishootdigitaloccasionally,buttheprocessofit isnotasfun.Withfilm,IlikethatthepersonI'm photographingdoesn'thaveauthorshipoverthe image.Ithinkthere'ssomethingabouttrustthat happenswithfilm,wherethesubjecthastotrust youtodoagoodjob,trustyoutorepresent them.Withdigitalyoucanshootmore.You're morelikelytocapturethosein-between moments.Butthere'ssomethingabouttheprice

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SteveChristian’sBlackEye ©RhiannonAdam

offilmbeingverydeliberate.

CanyoutellmeabitaboutyourPitcairn project.Wheredidyourideascomefrom?

Howdiditallcomeabout?

Beforewewentsailingontheboat,mydadgave meacopyof The MutinyontheBounty.Hesaid we'regoingtoliveonthisboat.You'regoingto giveupallyourfriends,everythingyouloveand everythingyouknow.Butdon'tworry,it'sgoing beagreatrip-roaringhighseasadventure.I lovedadventurebooks.BeingontheSouthSea soundedincrediblyalluring,havingbeencreatedformebythisfictionalversionwritteninthe early20thcentury.Actually,ourwholelifefell apartwhenwewereontheboat.Myparentsgot divorcedanditwasaprettyawfultimeforme.It allimplodedfromthispointofchasingthis utopianvisionthatdoesn'treallyexist;tryingto chaseafterthispotofgoldattheendoftherainbow.Manypeoplerunawayfromsomething andthenendupcreatingthatthingthatthey’re runningfrom.Pitcairnseemedtobetheultimate versionofthat.Thesemenrunningawayfroma tyrannicalcaptainonlytocreateatyrannyof theirown.Therewasabigparallelinthat.In somewaysIdidittocompletethejourneyfor myself.Itwaslikemeclosingthelidonthatpart ofmylife.

Whatdidyouhopetocreatethere?Orwas itmoreofaquestionofgothereandsee?

Iknewalotatthatpointaboutthehistoryof The MutinyontheBounty.Ispentalotoftimeinthe NationalMaritimeMuseum.AsIwasresearchingtheisland,Irememberedtherehadbeen thisscandal.Iwasinterestedinthisideaofthe completefantasyislandthathadbeenbuiltup byHollywood,versustherealityofthishellhole thathadbeencreatedforwomenandchildren. WhatIrealisedwasthatthisfantasyhadalways coexistedwiththishell,andHollywoodhadjust decidedtoignoreit.Thestorywastoldfroma whitemalefantasyperspective:heroicwhite mengoingtosavetheday,takingwomenby forcefortheirownpleasure.Andthathadbeen repackagedsomehowasromance.Wehave turnedablindeyetoitbecausewewantedso

badlytobelievethisutopianromanticvisionof thewhitemalehero.So,Ihadalltheseideasin thebackofmymind.

Youwenttherewithradiofunding,didn't you?

Insomeways,IregretIdiditinthatway becauseIarrivedonPitcairnIslandholdinga recorderandthatsetmeoffontheback-foot becausetheislandersimmediatelyputmeinthe ‘journalist’category.Itmademyearlydayson Pitcairnparticularlydifficult.Butmaybeifit hadn'tbeensuchadifficulttime,theproject wouldhavebeencompletelydifferent.Maybeit wasthebestthingthatIthrewmyselfinatthe deepend.Itmadetheprojectmorehonestand allowedmetohavemoreempathyforthe womenwhohadsufferedinsuchagreatway, becauseIwastreatedwiththesamehostility andmistrust.Iftheytrustedmemore,mywork maybeenmorepositiveandglowingbutthat wouldn’thavebeenatruthfulrepresentationof theisland.

Youarethefirstpersontodoanin-depth photographicprojectonPitcairn.Youwere treatedwithalotofhostilitybythesounds ofthingsandyouwerelivinginpeople’s homeswithnoeasyescape.Whatwouldyou saywasthebiggestchallengewhileyou werethere?

Everydaywasachallenge.Ihadtogivemyself apeptalkeverydaytogetoutofbed.Beingon PitcairnistheclosestI'veevergottoexperiencingdepression.Therewasnoonetheretogive meanysenseofperspective.IfeltthatIwas drowning.Iimagineit'swhatitwouldbelikein prison,exceptthatinprison,I'msurethatthere aremorestructuredactivitiesandIwouldn't havefeltsoataloss.Ifelttheprojectwasslippingawayfromme.EverydayIwasthere becameharder,noteasier.So,Ibuiltthingsinto mydays.Forinstance,Iwouldcatchfishinthe mornings.IscaledthemandIdeliveredthemto thisoldladywhorefusedtospeaktome,who shoutedmedownandtoldmetogetoffthe islandfromdayone.Iwasdeterminedtowin herover.TherewerethingsthatIdid,dayto

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day,thatgavemesomesenseofstructure.Ididn'tknow ifitwasevergoingtogetmeanywhere,butIfeltlikethere wasapointintheprocess.

Andthatwasyourprocessofpersuadingpeopleto sitforyou?

Therewereacoupleofpeoplewhowerenicetome,but byandlarge,peoplewerenot.WhenIphotographed them,Ididn'thaveaclearvisionofwhethertheproject wasgoingtobepositiveornegative.Withmostpeople,I onlyhadoneopportunitytophotographthem.Iwould havebeentryingtopersuadethemfortwomonths,and thenIwouldhave30minutes.Itfeltabitridiculous becauseIhadlesstimewiththesepeoplethanIwould havewithacelebrityIwasshootingforaweekendmagazine.AndhereIam,onthisislandwithoutmuchsenseof urgencythere.

WhatIhadn'tnoticedatthetime,isthateveryoneIphotographedwasontheirown.Noonewantedtobephotographedwithanyoneelse,ortobephotographedoutside,ortobeseentobeinteractingwithme.NowIlook backattheimagesandrealisehowcoldandlonelythey feel.It’sessentiallyasetofsingleportraits.Theway peopleinteractedwithmecreatedaparticularkindof image,whichwasactuallytheperfectstorytellingdevice andnowI'malmostthankfulthathappened.

IcamebackandIwasdisappointedbecausetheimages feltsocold.ButthenasIwasdoingtheedit,Ithoughtthis iswhattheplaceis.Itissimultaneouslyclaustrophobic andtheloneliestplaceonearth.Therearesofewpeople interactingwithoneanotherinawaythatfeelswarmand meaningful,orhonest.Itwasalonelyplaceandthosepicturesfeellonely.

Itmusthavetakenalongtimetopieceitalltogether afterwards

Itbasicallytookthebestpartofsevenyears.Iwrotethe Polaroidbookinbetweenreturningfromthetripand puttingthePitcairnbooktogether.Afterthatcameoutin October2017,IgotstuckintoPitcairnagain.Ittookthat amountoftimetoruminateontheoutcome,tobeableto bringittoaplacewhereIfelthappywithit.IfIhadjust gonewithmyfirstgutinstinct,itwouldhavebeensucha differentproject.IneededtoshowitafewtimesbeforeI feltatthepointwhereIcouldthinkaboutpublishingit. Workingonitoveraprolongedperiodoftimewasthebest outcomeforthatproject.

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PiratePawlWarren,PitcairnIsland
BrendaChristian,PitcairnIsland
©RhiannonAdam
©RhiannonAdam

RealChristiansNeverDie,SeventhDayAdventistChurch,PitcairnIsland ©RhiannonAdam

SaltonSeaFoam,CaliforniaRiviera ©RhiannonAdam

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©RhiannonAdam
©RhiannonAdam

Whathaveyoubeenphotographingsinceyou wenttoPitcairn?

I'mdoingaprojectabouttheSaltonSea(inCalifornia),whichgroundtoahorriblestandstill becauseofthepandemic.I'vebeenusingthesalt waterfromtheSaltonSeatomakesaltprints.It’s talkingabouttheclimatedisasterinaslightlydifferentway.I'mtryingtomakequitebeautiful imagesusingthatmethod.Butyoushouldnever beabletomakesaltprintsusingsaltwaterthat youjustgatherfromasearightthere.It'snotusuallysalineenough.Thefactthatthisissosaline, andIhaven'thadtoaddanysalttoit,isthepoint. I'mmakingtheseprintsdirectlyusingthewater includingallofthelittleshrimpandhorriblelittle bugsthatarecaughtinthewater.It’sallabout embracingimperfection.I'vegonebackto makingthatproject.Andthen,obviously,there's space,thefinalfrontier!

Canyoutellmeaboutyourspacemission? Howdidthatallcomeabout?

Iappliedforit.Itwaslikeanartistresidency.I wasspendingalotmoretimeonsocialmedia thanInormallywould.IthoughttherewasnothingtolosesoIthrewintheapplicationanddidn't thinktoomuchaboutit.Itwasmonthsand monthsofnotknowingwhetherIhadmadeitto thefinalselection.WhenIfoundoutaboutitwas justquiteshocking,honestly.It’snotathingthat youthinkisevergoingtohappentoyou.

What'stheidea?Isitagroupofartistswho aregoingandtheideaisthateveryonecapturessomething?

Differentcreatives,differentdisciplines.MZ,who isfundingit,wantedartiststotranslatetheidea ofworldpeace.Itsoundsverytrite.However,I doresonatewiththeideathatinspace,noneof theusualrules-theagreementsandtreatiesthat preventusfromstartingwars-apply.Inspace, thedivisivenessthatwehaveonEarthdoesn't reallyexist.Thereissomethingquitebeautiful aboutthat.We'reaverymixedcrewandthere arepeopleonthistriprepresentingcountriesthat haveneverhadanopportunitytosendanyoneto space.Therehavebeenveryfewqueerpeople

evergotospace,letaloneoutqueerpeople,and Ithinkthat'simportant.Ourcrew,beingwhowe are,isagoodexampleforothersthathaving thesesillydreamsisnottheworstthing.And beingabletotranslatetheexperienceofotherness,ofbeingabletolookback,isimportant. Astronautshavespokenaboutthisextensively, thatyoulookbackatthebluemarbleandrealise thatwe'realoneintheuniverse.

Istheideathatyouwillcreatesomething togetherordoyouhavethecreativefreedom tomakewhateveryouwant?

Therewillbesomecrossover,Iimagine.But we'reallworkingonourownprojects.Wedon't havetoproduceacommunalwork.Therearea coupleofpeoplewhomakemusic,achoreographer,anactor,afilmmaker,anotherphotographer.It'squiteamixedbag,andeveryone pitchedtheirownindividualideasandprojects, andthemselves,inaparticularway.

Doyouhaveideasandplansofwhatyouare goingtocreate?

Iwanttobeabletomakeanalogueworkin space.I'mnotinterestedinbeingadocumentarianinthetraditionalsense.There'sanotherphotographercalledKarimIliya,andhewantsto takeonthatrole.I'mdelightedforhimtodothat. Originally,Ipitchedideasthatwereabout Polaroidandtheconnectiontothespaceprogram.ThefounderofPolaroid,EdwinLand,was anadvisortotheEisenhowerspaceprogram. ThePolaroidSX-70cameracameoutin1972, thesameyeartheApollomissionscametoan end.Thatwasthelasttimethatpeoplewereanywherenearthemoon.

EdwinLandtalkedaboutwantingPolaroidstobe likedocumentingeverydaylifeandhadwanted themtobeusedasoftenasapencil.WhenIwas doingresearchforthePolaroidbook,Icame acrosssomanyspacereferences.SometechnologythatwasdevelopedforPolaroidhasactuallybeenusedinmakingrocketsandtheway thatwetranslatelightwaves.So,therewasan interestingcrossoverbetweenthathistory.But also,beingabletodevelopsomethingsolelyin

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spacethatabsorbstheenvironmentwithinthe spacecapsuleiskindofincredible.Beingableto makeanimageinrealtimewherethepeoplethat arearoundyoucanhandleitandtouchitand leavetheirmarkonitasit'sbeingbornintothis place,whichisanoman'sland.Thereissomethingbeautifulaboutthat.WhatIreallywantto doisbeabletodowetprocessing,whichisvery difficultbecauseyouwouldhavetoredesignthe waythatyouprocessbecauseyouneedtohave pressureandsuctiontomakethoseprocesses work.I'mexcitedabouttheprocessofbeingable toworkonthingsthathaven'tbeendonebefore.

Insteadofjustusingdigitaltechnology,whichis obviouslyveryeasytodo,Iactuallywanttomake thingsdifficultformyself.

Howareyoufeelingaboutitall?Areyou excited?

I'mreallyexcited,muchmoreexcitedthanI seem.It’sfunnybecauseIhaveknownaboutit forawhile,foroverayear.Lastyear,Iwasreadinglotsofthingsaboutspaceandallthedifficultiesandevensillythingslikeanormalpen doesn'tworkinspace.We'vegottelescopesthat takebeautifulpicturesofspace,Idon'tneedto

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PoodleTrainspotting,CaliforniaRiviera ©RhiannonAdam

dothat.Wealreadyhaveimagesoftheblue marble,whichIthinkisanincrediblyiconicimage forsomanyreasons.Imakealotofworkthatis connectedtoclimatechange.Onebigcriticism ofthisprojectisthatitwilluseupalotofrocket fuel.Butthenwhatpeopledon'trealiseishow muchthatbluemarbleimagechangedthe courseofhowwestartedtheenvironmental movement.Thereisvalueinmakingworkthat reflectsonthehumancondition.That'swhatwe willallbetheretodo.

Lastly,youhavesaidbeforethatyou'reinterestedinexploringthespacebetweenfactand fictionorutopiaanddystopiainyourwork. YouhavetouchedonthatalreadybutIjust wonderedifyouwantedtoexpandonthat.

ThePitcairnbookisallaboutthatspacebetween factandfiction,utopiaanddystopia,butit'salso aboutthefactthatoneperson'struthdoesn'tdis-

countanotherperson'struth.Therecanbetwo simultaneoustruthsexistinginonespace.Alotof myworktreadsthatline.Justbecauseonething istrueandreal,andanotherperson'sversiondiffers,itdoesn'tmeanthattheycanceleachother out.Theybothcancoexist.Everystoryisintrinsicallybiased.I'mveryinterestedinexploring whereourbiascrossesover.Theideaofthephotographastruthhasalwaysbeenquestioned. AndIlovethatwehavethismediumthatisostensiblyafactualrecordbutintroducessomany morequestionsthanitdoesanswers.Something thatI'mcontinuallyfascinatedbyistheamountof conspiracytheoriesthatsurroundspace,thesciencefictionnatureofitversusthegrittyreality.

WithSaltonSea,inthe1950s,itwasmarketedas beinglikePalmSpringsbythesea.Itwasmeant tobethisincredibleplacewhereyoucouldgojet skiingandsailingandlivethehighlife.Theynick-

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SalvationMountain,CaliforniaRiviera ©RhiannonAdam

namedittheCaliforniaRiviera.Buttherealityis thatithasturnedintoanenvironmentaldisaster.

Thisinlandseahasshrunkasclimatechange hasnowtakenatightgripontheplace.Andthere isalsoalltheagriculturalrunoffthathasended upthere.It’saseathatisfullofheavymetals, thatalmostcan'tsustainlifeanymore.Fishdie, thebeachismadeupofdeadfishbones.From faraway,youlookattheSaltonSeaandit'sa glitteringmirage.Itlooksincredible.Itlookslike thisheavenlybody.Andthenasyougetcloser, thesmellstartstofillyourlungs,andyourealise thattheseaisrotten.Itwasthismis-sellingofthe AmericanDreamthatpeoplecouldgothere,buy cheapland,buildthedream.Peopleboughtthis landandthentheyweretrappedbecausethey couldn'tselliton.Itbecamelikeagoldrushall overagain,arealestategoldrushthatfellapart. I'vealwaysbeendrawntotheseplaceswhich havethissortoffalsepromise.Ithinkwebuildso

muchofourlivesonfalsepromises,ratherthan justexistingandtryingtomakethebestofwhere weare.

Wearealmostmaintainingthisliewherethe worldispurerandmoreperfectandmorepristine thanitreallyis.Ifonlywerealisewhatwe've donetotheplace,maybewewouldactdifferently,butwe'reallinonthelie.I'mdrawnto makingworkthatexploresthatconcept.For instance,inmakingquitebeautifulpictures,but usingmaterialsthatarehorrible,likethesalt prints,itmakesitlookbeautifulandpalatableand peoplethinkit’sreallyprettyandthentheyread thecaption.I'vealwayslikedthattension.Itryto bringthatoutinthework.Iliketoencourage peopletoquestionwhattheyseeatfacevalue.

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@rhiannon_adam
www.rhiannonadam.com
Christian’sCave,TheOmniscentEye,PitcairnIsland ©RhiannonAdam

AFemaleGaze

AninterviewwithCharlotteWiig

Withtheexhibit AFemaleGaze,agroupoffemalephotographersexploreconceptsofmasculinity, themale,andthefeminineperspective.Somehaveexaminedtheirownandtheirsubject’svulnerability.Othershaveconceptualisedthedynamicbetweenobserverandobservedandthetension therein.Theexhibitalsotouchesuponthemessuchasidentity,desire,intimacy,genderroles,and family.Thecentralquestioncentresupontheexistenceofaspecificfemalegaze.Doesiteven exist?Ifso,whatdoesitentail?Whatshapesandinfluencesit,culturally,personallyandsocially? Theyhavefolloweduptheirfirstexhibitionwithasecondproject, MotherNatureonASaturdayNight, agroupexhibitionthatexploresNorwegians’relationshipwithnature,andchallengestraditional expectationsofnatureandlandscapephotography.Theexhibitionwasshownforthefirsttime duringtheOsloNegativPhotoFestivalSeptember23rdtoOctober16th,2022.

WomeninPhotographyChairTeriWalkerspeakstoCharlotteWiigfor WEAREMagazine about whatinspiredhertoreachouttofellowwomenphotographerstoformthisexcitingnewcollective.

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“Themainchallengewithrunningsuch acollaborativegroupisthateveryone hasasayineverydecisionwemake.”
CharlotteWiig
©CharlotteWiig

HelloCharlotte.Thankyouforspeakingwith WEAREMagazine. Canyoutellusabit aboutyourselfandyourwork?

IamaNorwegian-Britishphotographer,currentlybasedinOslo,Norway.Mybackgroundis inphotojournalism.IstudiedinLondon,whereI completedaPostgraduateDiplomainPhotojournalismatLondonCollegeofPrinting(now calledtheUniversityoftheArtsLondon).Since thenIworkedfreelanceasaphotojournalistin bothLondonandNorway,beforemovingto Osloin2012.Istilldosomephotojournalism, butIhavesupplementedmyincomewithmore commercialwork,andmorerecentlydelvedinto artphotography.

Youarethefounderof AFemaleGaze.What inspiredyoutocreatethiscollective?

Ithappenedinthepandemic.Suddenly,almost overnight,allmycommissionswerecancelled orpostponed.Iwasluckytoreceivecompensationfromthegovernment,andwasabletokeep mystudio.Iwaskeentonotwastethetime,so Iaskedseveralphotographers-allwomenwhoIadmired,iftheywouldbeinterestedin workingonagroupprojectduringthistime.

Almostallsaidyes,andwebecameacollective ofelevenwomen.Itwasimportanttometohave varietyinthegroup,fromage,genreofphotography,someveryestablishedandwellknown andothersalmostatthestartoftheircareers.I thoughtacollectivelikethiswouldbeagreat waytomakenewcontactsandforusalltohelp eachotherout.Thisprovedtobethecase. Whatopportunitiesdidbeingamemberof thecollectiveopenupforallofyou?

Wehavevastlyincreasedourpoolofcontacts, andmadefriendsalongtheway.Photographers oftenworkontheirownanddon’tgettoknow otherphotographers.Someofthemembers joinedthegrouppreciselytomeetotherphotographers.Beingelevenpeopleworkingtowards anexhibition,meanseleventimestheamount ofexperience,areasofexpertiseandcontacts intheindustry.Personally,thegroup hasinspiredmetokeepmakingnewgroupprojectsandIwillbegintheworkonourthirdexhibitionprojectin2023.Wehaveexhibitedinfive places,includingseveralphotofestivals,butI

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©TinePoppe ©CharlotteWiig

amnotsureIwouldhavemanagedthatif itweren’tforthegroup'sbacking.

OurfirstprojectwasexhibitedatOsloNegative PhotoFestival,NordicLightFestivalofPhotography, ShootGallery (acommercialphotographygalleryinOslo),andCopenhagenPhoto Festival.Oursecondprojectwasexhibitedat OsloNegativelastAutumn,andwearecurrently waitingonvariousexhibitionspacestoanswer ourapplications.

Whatchallengesdidyouhavetoaddressto ensurethatthecollectivewasofvaluetoall ofyourmembers?

Icheckedinwitheveryoneregularlyand arrangedforsmallergroupmeetups,forthose whowantedtodiscussthethemes(oftheprojects)inasmallercrowd.Thewholeprocesshas beenverycollaborative,anditisveryimportant tomethateveryoneinthegroupfeelsthatit istheirproject.Thatwaytheyputmoreeffortinto ittoo.Whenwehaveexhibited,everyonehas alsohadachancetopartakeintheartisttalks anddebateswehaveorganised.Themainchallengewithrunningsuchacollaborativegroupis thateveryonehasasayineverydecisionwe

make.Thisisbothastrengthandaweakness.It makesalotmoreworkforme,asIneedtocheck thatweareallinagreement,butatthesame timethegroupreallyappreciatesthisapproach andweallpullinthesamedirection.

Howdoyousee AFemaleGaze evolving fromhere?

InitiallyIthoughtImightorganiseanewproject /exhibitioneverytwoyears,butaswe arehavingalotoffunandagoodresponseto theworkwehaveproduced,ithasbecomea yearlyevent.Wearecurrentlyapplying forexhibitionvenuesforournewestproject MotherNatureonaSaturdayNight,andin amonthorso,Iwillstarttheworkonourthird project.Idon’thavealongtermplan,butwill keepgoingaslongasit'sfunandchallenging. Itisalsoagreatwaytoforcemetoproduce morepersonalwork,notcommissioned.And havingagroupthatdependsonyou,makesme finishwhatIstarted!IamnotsureIwould havefinisheditifitwasasoloshow.Personal workhasoftenfallenbythewaysidewhenpaid workturnsup.

www.afemalegaze.com

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©RebeccaZeller ©CharlotteWiig

"Asanartistworkingmostlyaloneithasbeenveryrewardingtobepartof thisgroup.Beinginvolvedineachothersworkhasbeenveryinteresting andthoughtprovoking.Butalsothenewfriendshipswithotherwomen workingwithphotographyhasbeengreat.”ErleKyllingmark

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©MayaØkland ©ElenSonjaKlouman

DevelopingaSecondCareer asaPhotographerandSocially EngagedArtist

MargeBradshawisasociallyengageddocumentaryandportraitphotographerinterestedinpeople, place,andheritage.Sheusesamixtureofphotographyandethnographicresearchtosharethe storiesofparticipants;oftengivingaplatformforvoicesincommunitieswhoarenotusuallyheard. Shealsoworkscommerciallyasaculturaleventsphotographer,brandphotographerandfamilydocumentaryphotographer.HerworkhaspreviouslybeenexhibitedatOpenEyeGallery,Museums Northumberland,BoltonMuseumandGallery,andtheScienceMuseumLondon.IthasbeenpublishedinvariousnationalandspecialistmediaincludingtheBBCandTheGuardian.ShewasshortlistedfortheRPSSciencePhotographeroftheYearin2019.

Margehasalsoworkedfreelancesince2008asanArtsandHeritageConsultant.Shesupports museums,galleries,libraries,archives,andheritagesitesacrosstheUKwithmarketing,audience development,evaluation,andcommunityconsultation.

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Barrie,parttimefarmworker,HowfenPortraitsSeries ©MargeBradshaw

OnahoteveninginJuly2019IfoundmyselfjostlingforspaceinthephotopitatLythamFestival alongsideotherphotographersvyingforthebest shotsofthebandonstage.SixmonthsearlierI’d neverevenheldaDSLR.

I’veworkedasanartsmarketingprofessionalfor museums,galleries,andarchivesformostofmy workinglife.Iwentfreelancein2008tohelpculturalorganisationsallovertheUKwiththeircommunicationandcommunityconsultationwork.But inmyearly40s,Iwantedtoshakethingsup.I’d beenahobbyistphotographerforyearsand decideditwastimetoprofessionallystartcreating myownwork,ratherthanpromotingother people’s.Thechallenge?Ineededtomakeit workalongsidemyotherfreelancebusiness.

Gettingmyfootinthedoorandlearning

fromfailure

Asamusicfan,Igotintouchwithsomeofmyarts marketingcontactsatindependentvenuesand startedshootingvariousgigsandfestivals.I boughtsomesecond-handgearandfiguredout

howtouseit.IsoakedupeverythingIcouldfrom othercreatives,includingthebrilliantPhlockcommunity.Butthebestknowledgecamefromactuallygettingstuckinandlearningfrommymistakes.Ifyoucansuccessfullyshootmusicunder stricttimerestrictionsandchallenginglighting conditions,Ithinkyoucanprobablyworkjust aboutanywhere.OnceIbecamemoreconfident, Istartedofferingculturalevents,brand,and familydocumentaryphotography.Butalongside privateandcommercialprojects,Iwantedto developmypracticeasanartisttoo;creatingmy ownworkandcombiningmyphotographyand communityconsultationskillstosharethelived experienceofpeoplewhodon’talwayshavea platformfortheirvoice.

Leveragingpersonalprojectsandstanding

byyourwhy

In2020IstartedshootingarangeofsocialdocumentaryandportraitureprojectswhichIthought wereimportanttocoverandarchiveduringthe pandemic.Iworkedwithgrassrootsmusiciansin my FrontofHouse seriestosharetheirstoryof

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Nathan,WhyWeRingseries ©MargeBradshaw

howCOVID-19wasimpactingthem.IsuccessfullypitchedtheworkforaBBCfeature,andit wasalsoexhibitedatWarringtonContemporary ArtFestivalthefollowingyear.Idocumented oneoftheveryfirstPfizerclinicsatmylocalvaccinationsitetosharehowstaffandvolunteers werecoping.Idevelopedabrilliantrelationship withNHSBoltonCCGasaresult,andthey’re nowacorepartnerforanewproject, Whose Menopause?Ialsoraisedfundsforvolunteers sewingPPEkitforhospitalworkersbytaking doorstepportraitsonmydailywalk,resultingin theseries HowfenPortraits.Thisworkwas spottedbyMuseumsNorthumberlandwhothen commissionedmefor HiddenHeroes,asocial documentaryseriessharingthestoriesof hiddenkeyworkersinthecounty.Offthebackof that,BoltonMuseumandArtGalleryaskedme todosomethingsimilarwithlocalpeoplewho’d madeasignificantimpactduringCOVID-19; CaringBolton.

Ididn’tsetouttoachieveanyofthesethings throughpersonalprojects.ButI’verealisedthat theycanhelpyoubuildrelationshipsandopen doorsto(paid)commissionsifyouwantthemto. Idon’tbelieveinworkingforfree.ButI’mabigfan ofpersonalprojectsaslongastheyeitherbenefityourparticipantsinsomeway,oryouasthe photographer-whetherthat’screatively,emotionally,financially,buildingreputation,orsomething elsethat'smeaningful.Ultimately,they’reaway todosomethingcreativewithouttherequirementsofabrief,funder,oranyotherstipulation. It’sessentialwithpersonalprojects(andyour workgenerally)toknowyourwhy;andmywhy maybedifferenttoyours.I’vefoundcomingback tomywhyalsogroundsme(andmyimposter syndrome)whenlookingatothercreatives’work. It'simportanttoacknowledgethatit’shardtodo personal,unpaidprojects.Ihavetofitthem aroundmycaringandotherworklifecommitments.Ineedtousemyotherfreelanceincome

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IntheStreetFestival,forWonderArts,StHelens ©MargeBradshaw

tofundmytime–andnoteveryonehasthe luxuryofbeingabletodothat.It’shard,butI absolutelyrecogniseI’mspeakingfromaposition ofprivilegebyhavingtwojobswhereonecan feedtheother.

Thesesocialdocumentaryprojectsincreasedmy knowledgeandhelpedbuildmyreputationand style,butIcametorealisethatthereweren’tas manypositiveoutcomesforthosewho’dtaken partastherewasformyself;therewasn’tan equalbalancebetweenphotographerandparticipant.Andthat’swhenIbecameinterestedin sociallyengagedpractice.

Developingasociallyengagedphotographic practice

Sociallyengagedphotographyiscollaborative, participatoryandusuallyfocusesonhowartists workwithcommunitiestodocumentwhatis importanttothem,ratherthantheartistdocumentingitforthem.AfterbeingonOpenEyeGallery’sCrossingSectorsprofessionaldevelopment

programmeandtryingalivesociallyengaged projectwith TheTurnpike’sMakingofUs project, Irealisedthatmyotherfreelanceskillscouldhelp ratherthanhindermysociallyengagedpractice. Andthat’sbecauseyouneedawholerangeof skillsalongsidecreativity:facilitation;empathy; listening;understanding;andorganisational skills.Therearelotsofdifferentinterpretationsof whatsociallyengagedpracticeshouldlooklike. Myownapproachisinclusiveandprocess-driven, whereconversationswithandbetweentheparticipantsisofequal(ifnotmore)importancethan thefinishedoutput.It’seasytogetobsessedwith havingafinalresultbuttheprocessisthework. Andthat’satrickythingtogettogripswithwhen you’vecomefromaworkenvironmentwhereit’s allaboutproducingadefined,high-quality product(andthere’softenanexpectationfrom fundersonwhathighqualitylookslike).

AftercompletingDevelopingYourCreativePracticeandacoupleofmicrocommissionsincluding HowfenPractice,Iwasfortunatetogainalonger-

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PortraitofDominafromPreciousGems,CaringBoltonCommissionforBoltonMuseumandArtGallery ©MargeBradshaw

termPhotographerinResidenceroleatthe WatchFactoryinPrescot–anextracaresetting –withfellowartistSamBatley.FundedbyCommunityIntegratedCareandOpenEyeGallery,we workedfornearlytwelvemonthswithparticipants toexploretheirstories,interests,andcustodianshipofthehistoricbuildingthroughconversation andcreativepractice.Wedocumentedtheprocessalongtheway;theupsanddownsandthe discussionswehad.Theparticipantswerekeen tosharetheirwork,andwegotpermissionfrom thehousinggrouptodisplayaselectionofpieces acrosstheWatchFactory.WorkingcollaborativelywithSamandI,theparticipantsdecidedon thethematicapproach,format,andwhereit wouldbeexhibited.It’sagreatexampleofinclusiveandsustainablephotographypractice-we designedanapproachwhereeveryonecould takepart,nomatterwhattheirneed,ability,or background.Thisincludedusingcamera-less processeswhichwerenotonlyaccessiblebut wereeco-friendlytoo–somethingI’vecommitted toinmysustainabilitystatementafterbecoming acertifiedcarbonliteratephotographerfollowing trainingwithRedeyePhotographicNetworkand TheCarbonLiteracyTrust.

Sociallyengagedcommunityworkisajoybutit’s hard.I’velearnedthatit’simpossibletoknow what’sgoingtohappennext.Thisworkhastobe iterativetotrulybeof/by/for/all.Participants mightnotshowup.You’reoftenworkingwithvulnerableindividualswherelifejustgetsintheway. Youneedtohaveastrongnerveifyou’reaplanner(likeme)andtrustintheprocess.Yourcommunityparticipantswillultimatelyleadtheway.

Tipsforgettingintosociallyengaged practice

•Sociallyengagedpracticeisn’tforeverybody. Findaprofessionaldevelopmentprogramme ornetworktogetinvolvedin(forexamplethe SEPN or AxisSocialArtNetwork)orworkon aliveprojectwhereyoucantestwhetherit’s somethingyoureallywanttodo.

•Ifyoucanaffordthetime,gainexperienceby volunteering–followsociallyengagedphotographersonsocialmedia,orfindthemvia

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PeterHouseSurgery,vaccinationsitedocumentaryseries ©MargeBradshaw SheridanSmith,LythamFestival ©MargeBradshaw

yourlocalartistnetworksandaskifyoucan helpwiththeirprojects.

•Takenotice.There’ssomegreatsocially engagedpublicationsoutthere,like Social Works.Followcontemporarysociallyengaged photographers:you’llfindsomereallyspecial workhappeningbyandwithphotographers youdon’talwaysseeintheheadlines-includingHafsahNaib,CiaraLeeming,Emma Case,FionaRobinson,MarieSmith,and GwenRileyJonestonamejustafewwho inspiremeeveryday.

•Considerwhetherapplyingfora DYCP isa worthwhileuseofyourtime.It’shighlycompetitivebutmygrantgavemepermission(and budget)todevelopaninclusiveapproachto sociallyengagedpractice.Italsoopenedupa rangeofnewcontactsandnetworks.

•Applyforsociallyengagedopportunitieswhich arephotography-based.Ifounditreallydifficulttogetcommissionswhichwereopentoall artformswherethepool/demandwaslarger; competitionisfierce,anditcanbedemoralisingwhentherejectionemailsstartpilingup. Bepersistentwithgettingfeedback,usethe processtolearnsomething,dustyourself downandtryagain.

•Understandhowtoworkethically–the Photo Ethics podcastisagoodstartingpoint.

What’snext?

IsuccessfullyappliedforanArtsCouncilEngland NationalLotteryProjectGranttofundanew inclusivesociallyengagedprogrammeonmenopausewhichstartsthisSpringinBolton.I’malso continuingwithcommercialworkandmypersonalprojectsincludingdocumentingand respondingtomyDad’sWW2socialdocumentarycollection.MostimportantlyI’mcontinuingto headupmysteeplearningcurve–there’sso muchmoretoexplore,Ijustneedtofindafew morehoursintheday.

www.margebradshawphotography.co.uk

@margebradshawphoto

55 ©MargeBradshaw
©MargeBradshaw

PullMySelfToGetHer

Pleasenote:Thisarticlecontainsreferencestosuicidewhichsomeindividualsmayfinddistressing.

VanessaFairfax-Woodsisaconceptualphotographerandfilmmakerwhoworkswiththeissuesof mentalhealth,bodyimageandfeminism.Perceivedempowermentversusactualempowermentare commonthemesinherwork.Herworkisperformative,playfulandsubversive;choosingtoapproach seriousissueswithahumourthatallowsaconversationtoopenup,ratherthanshutitdown.

ShehasrecentlycompletedanMAinphotographyatFalmouthUniversitywithadistinction. PullMySelfToGetHer washerfinalmajorprojectforherMasters.Shehaswonprestigiousphotographyawardsandexhibitedinternationally.Herwritinghasbeenpublishedinseveralinternational journals.

Sheisonehalfofwoidexfairfax-acollaborationwithHenryWoide.Together,theywontheLifeframer SeriesAwardandhaveshowntheworkattheContourGalleryinRotterdam,SomersetHousein LondonandOpenEyeGalleryinLiverpool.

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Diaryentry ©VanessaFairfax-Woods

“Wearetheonlyspecieswhocancutoffthelimb wearesittingon.Wecandestroytheearthwe dependon,butwecanalsoreinventourselves.”

JohnConger

In1995Iwashospitalisedduetomentalillness. Iwas14yearsold.In2022,attheageof41,I wasadmittedagain.Duringthisbreakdown, stormsravagedourroof.Diaries,sketchbooks, andphotographskeptsincethe90swereruined. Thispersonalarchiveincludedmysuicidenote (adrawing)andadiaryentryfromthedayafter mysuicideattempt.Writtenwithmywronghand becausedoctorshadputthedripinmywriting hand,thewordsscrawlacrossthepagewiththe sameangryconfusionthatIfeltatsurviving.Photographicchemicalsthathadcreatedthephotographsmergedandmingled,creatingchaotic patternsonthepaper.Thesebroken,distorted memoriesmirroredwhatwashappeninginmy mind:chemicalimbalancescreatingdistorted viewsofmyself.

Theseearlydocumentscametoformthebeginningofalongformprojectdocumentingmy ongoingrelationshipwithmentalillness.It’sa journeywhereIusephotographyandperformancetobettergraspmychangingsenseofself throughoutboutsofdepression.

DuringmymostrecentbreakdownIwitnesseda powerfulsenseoffragmentationandmanyofthe attemptstoputmyselfbacktogetherfailed.Itwas liketryingtobuildatownwithnoplans:roads wentnowhere,Iwouldfindmyselflostinamaze, Iwasbackatthebeginningafterweeksof searching.Whilstinrespitecare,Iwasencouragedtotakeupdifferenttaskssuchaspainting bynumbersandpuzzles.Oneofmyfellow patientscarriedaRubik'sCubewithhim:it helpedhimwithhisanxiety.WhenIbeganto recover,Irealisedthatthesetaskswerenotonly beneficialtogettingourmindstoworkbetter,but alsomirroredwhatwewerealltryingtodo:to pieceourselvesbacktogetheragain.Thistensionoftryingtomakesenseofourselves intriguedmeandIwantedtoexplorethisfurther.

In PullMySelfToGetHer,Ihaveusedacombinationofarchivalmaterial,performativeworksand stilllivestocreateabookwithsixchapters. Chaptersvaryinlength,energyandstyle,echoingthevariedphasesofmybreakdowns.Even thoughthebookbeginswithmyfirstsuicide attemptitisnotintendedtobechronological;or logicalforthatmatter.

IrealisenowthatIhavebeenarchivingmyself, eitherinwordsorimages,sinceIwassmall.

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Polaroid ©VanessaFairfax-Woods Rubiksframed ©VanessaFairfax-Woods

WhatwasitthatIwantedtopreserveforallthese years?DidIalwaysknowthattheselfwould becomeakeyelementofmypractice,beitperformativeorautobiographical?Whydidthis archivepresentitselftomeinitsnewformwhilst Iwasinanewlydisturbedmentalstate?Idon’t havetheanswersbutcreatingthisworkhasgiven meachancetoexplorethesequestionsfurther.

PullMySelfToGetHer exists,inpart,withinthe intersectionbetweenFrancescaWoodmanand TraceyEmin.Woodman’swork,likemine,isperformative,usingherselfintheimagery.Hersuicideattheageof22cannothelpbutinfluencethe wayweviewherartandIfinditdifficulttothinkof mentalillnessdepictedthroughartwithoutcoming backtoWoodman.Muchlikemywork,Woodman isoftennaked,butthenudityisnotsexual.Itmay bebeautifulandtextured,butherbodyisnoton viewforustoadmire.Instead,sheusesherbody asatooltoconveyheremotionalstate,becoming morenakedthananyoneelse.

TraceyEmin’sworkisbothangryanddelicate. Sheisknownforherexplorationofdarkterritories andrawemotions.Emin’sinfamous1998piece MyBed isdisplayedwithbothvulnerabilityand brazenness.Mydiaryentryandsuicidenotehold asimilartension.Theviewerfeelsasthoughthey areimposingthemselvesonaprivatemoment.It isuncomfortabletowhoeverviewsit.Itholdsa rawnessofemotionthatwedon’tliketobeconfrontedwith.MuchlikeEmin,myintentionwith thisprojectwastolaybarethevariousstagesof whatIwasgoingthrough.Amessy,incoherent narrativethatmirrorsmentalillness.

Forthemostperformativepartoftheproject,I usedYvesKlein’s1960performance, Anthropometries ofthe BluePeriod asafoundationintoa moreexpressivewayofdepictingmydescent.By discardingtheeleganceandformalityofKlein’s performancepiece,theworkbecomesferal.By thetimemyperformancewascomplete,mybody andmindhadgonethroughmanyofthephases Ihadexperiencedwhilstinmybreakdown.

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Baptism ©VanessaFairfax-Woods

Thisformofreenactmenthasbeennotedasan effectivetechniquetoreconnectwiththeself.By re-encounteringtheseproblematicphasesina safeenvironment,Itaughtmyselfnewcoping strategies.

Theclunkofthebutton,theflashinmyface,the churningofamechanism,thespittingoutofan image;shootingmyselfwithaPolaroidcamerais aphysicallyimposingprocess.ThischaptercontainsatangibleenergythatbothWoodmanand Eminincorporateintheirwork.

Iwasrestrictedtomyhomeforseveralmonthsby myownanxiety.Byboxingmyselfintoaphysically limitingframe,Iaimtoportraytheclaustrophobia ofthatmentalstate.Thesoftfocusanddarkness ofthePolaroidfilmhelpscreateanatmosphereof uncertainty:adisconnectionfromreality.The tightnessofthecropcreatesafurtherlackofcontextthatresonateswithone'sthoughtsduringa breakdown.

Manyoftheimagesinthisworkhavebeen

defacedoralteredasIexploredthedesireto escapefromtheframeIhadsetinmyownhead. TheDIYmanipulationoftheimages-thescratching,thecutting,thescrawling-helpedportraythe physicalityofmymadness.

ThemoreIhealed,thesafertheoutdoorsfelt,and Ifoundrespiteinthelocalbrook.Theritualof plungingintothewaterwasreminiscentofabaptism.Theprocessofholdingmybreath,plunging intosomethingunknownandemerging unscathed,helpedbuildupmyresiliencetoother elementsofmylife.

WhilstinoneofthedarkestphasesofmybreakdownIfoundmyselfinacatatonicstate.AsI foughttoemerge,IfeltasifIwastrappedunderwaterand,onceIhadescaped,Igaspedforair asthoughIhadbeensubmergedagainstmywill. Reenactingthisinthebrook-repeatedlybreaking throughthesurface-feltlikearebirth.

PullMySelfToGetHer hasbeenpartofmyhealing process.OverthelastsixmonthsIhaveconfrontedmyillnessandevenimmersedmyselfback intoterritoriesIdidn'texpecttogo.It'sbeena challengingexerciseinbalancingemotionand creatingsomethingmeaningfultonotjustme,but tothepublic.

Ithasmademeawareoftheimpactmymental healthhashadonthoseclosetomethroughout theyears.Byshowingsuchrawness-inparticular thearchives-Ihavebeenfacedwithhowmy familycopedbackthen,andagainlastyear.

Ihavealwaysaimedtoprovokeareactionwith myart,butthistimeIhaven'trelishedtheproddingwithquitesuchglee.I'mgladIhaven't softenedtheproject,butIapproachtheshowing oftheworkinafarmoreconsideredmannerthan withpreviousprojects.

Bycreatingthisbodyofwork,IfeelasthoughI havemorequestionsthananswers.Maybethat’s thepoint.TheMAisnowover,butI’mnotsure thisprojectis.Iamactivelyseekingapublisher forthisphotobook.

www.vanessafairfaxwoods.com

@vanessafairfaxwoods

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Baptism3 ©VanessaFairfax-Woods

CollegeBank:TheSevenSisters

EllieWatersisaBritishbornartistbasedbetweenNorthernEnglandandAotearoa,NewZealand. Herpracticeispredominatelygroundedinphotographywithaninterestintext,audioandvideoand how,whencombined,theseelementscanemotivelyportrayasetofnarratives.

Sheiscurrentlyassociatedwiththeartsorganisation,EborStudioinRochdale,GreaterManchester, wheresheisworkingonvariouslong-termsocialdocumentaryprojects.

Mygrandfather,MJBurgess,wasakeenphotographer.Iknewthisfromanearlyage.Hekepta smallcameraattachedtohisbeltatalltimes, readyforwhatevermomentmightunfoldinfront ofhim.Irememberhe’dsay,“there’saphotographtheresomewhere”,beforesnappingafew shotsandmovingontosearchforthenext.

IreturnedtoEnglandattheendof2021,four monthsaftermygrandfather’spassing;four monthsofpreemptingmygrandmother,pleading withhertonottouchor,Godforbid,binanyofhis

photographs.Shestayedtruetoherword,andI arrivedatmygrandparents’housetoawallof folders,boxesand“strangeplasticsquares” (memorycards,itturnsout).

Thephotographerinmebeingdesperatetosee, andthegranddaughterdesperatetoconnect,I’ve spentthepastyeararchivinghislife’swork.What I’vefoundhasfarexceededmyexpectations, takingmesomewhatfullcirclephotographically andgeographicallytoourhometownofRochdale,GreaterManchester.

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‘RochdaleAug80’ ©MJBurgess FairScenes ©MJBurgess

HavingworkedforBritishTelecom,mygrandfatherwouldfrequentlytraveltheinnersuburbs ofRochdaleandashabitwouldhaveit,beinga mantruetohispassion,hewouldhavehis camerawithhim.Scanafterscan,Iwasnoticing apatternofstreets,architectureandfashionbut moreimportantly,Iwasnoticingthesamehorizon -sevenstoicbuildingslookingdownonhimas helookedup.

ThesearetheCollegeBankbuildings,seven high-risesocialhousingblocksknownlocallyas

TheSevenSisters.CentraltotheRochdaleskyline,thebuildingsaresymbolictomostlocals,a sixties-builthomingbeaconslapbanginthe middleoftheborough.

Atthetimemygrandfathertookthesephotographs,homesatCollegeBankwerehighly soughtafter.Theyprovidedachanceforyoung professionalstogetoutoftheirparents’homes andforcouplesandfamiliestohaveaspaceof theirown.However,inmorerecentyears,the flatshaveearnedalessthandesirablereputa-

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‘SavetheSevenSisters’campaignstickers,MitchellHey,CollegeBank-April2022 ©EllieWaters
62 WinkieandSarah,CollegeBank-October2022 ©EllieWaters

tion,nosugarcoatingintended.I’vebeentold postalworkerswon’tgouptoindividualfloors anymore.JustEatdeliveries?Justleaveitinthe foyerandhopeforthebest.

IknowthisbecauseoverthepastyearIhave beenvisitingtheCollegeBankflats.Justlikethat JustEatorderwhichdidn’tquitemakeittothe rightfloor,I’vebeencirculatingtheblocks, camerareadyanddictaphonerecording.Talking toresidentsandpassersbyalike,creatingmy ownarchiveasaresponsetothatofmygrandfather’s,partdocumentationandpartre-familiarisation;acontemporaryrecordofRochdale throughthatoftheCollegeBankflats.

Asfatewouldhaveit,I’vefoundmyselfbackin England-backinRochdale-withthisarchival walloffolders,boxesand“squares”,atthe sametimeplanswerereleasedtodemolish four,ifnotall,oftheSevenSisters.Planscostingupwardsofamillionpoundswithalossof overfourhundredhomes,inaregionmayIadd withasocial-housingwaitlistlongerthanmine, yoursandyourneighbours’arms,joined togetherandquadrupled.

AfterIfirstvisitedtheflats,Iwroteanoteabout clocks;thenumberofclocksinSylvia’sflat,two inthelounge,threeinthebedroomandfourin thekitchen.AlltickingrhythmicallyasIwaitfor hertofinishaphonecall.Afriendcallingtotell herthelotterynumbersasSylviadoesn’thave theinternet.

Shelia’salarmclockproppedamongstother essentialitemsonherzimmerframe.Shetells meshemetherlatehusbandBarrywhenshe movedintothisflat,hewasaconciergeback wheneachblockhaditsown.Shecallsherself lucky,formeetingBarryandfortheirhomewhich shenowshareswithhersonandcarer,Con.

Shetellsmeabouthersisterwho,likeme,has beenlivinginChristchurch,NewZealand.Thousandsofmilesawaybutstillconnectedbyregularphonecalls,forthisshegesturestowardsthe clock.I’mnotsurewhybutinmynotes,Iwrite “timekeeping?”.

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Despitetheobviousreferencetotimeandthe potentiallackthereoffortheCollegeBankbuildings,I’mtellingyouthesestoriestobringattentiontothepeoplewhocallthisspacehome. Sylvia,whohaslivedinherflatintheTentercroft buildingforoverfortytwoyears;SheilainTown MillBrow,thirtysixyears.AstoryoflongevityI’m learningismorecommonthannot.

Nottopaintafalsepicture,notallresidentsare elderlywomen,vulnerableanddisconnected fromthedigitalinformationtheirlandlordswould rathercirculate.There’sthemanwiththesmiley fivemontholdbaby,theyoungcouplewhomeet dailytosithandinhandonthegroundfloor benchandthere’sWinkieandSarah,wholook disappointedwhenItellthem“no,I’mnotfrom theBBCandtheywon’tbeontheTV”.

Residentshavebeenslowly,activelyvacated fromtheflatseversincedemolitionplanswere announced.There’samonetaryofferupfor thosewillingtoleave,nottomentionthesweet promiseofabungalow.“Whatbungalows?”I hearafrustratedtenantask.“Theremustbea secretvalleyofbungalowssomewhereweall don’tknowabout.”

It’snotuncommontoleaveyourfrontdoorin themorning,tofindtwoothersonthesame floorboardedup,asignthatlifehasbeen movedalong.Despitethepsychologicaldistress thisisinflicting,it’sdishearteningtoknowthat behindthoseboardsareliveablehomes,arealitydrivenfurtherhomewhenIseeamansleepingroughbetweenfloors.

Centraltothisstory,andcentraltothiscommunity,istheresident-ledcampaigngroup, SavetheSevenSisterswhohopetodojust that.Theymeetregularlyandwidelydiscuss theimportanceofretaininghomesatCollege Bank.It’stheirvoicewhichwillleadthenarrative ofthiswork.

Paralleltotheselivesandthesephotographsof myown,arethoseofmygrandfather,amodest manwhosworehedidn’thavemuchtosay,let alonemuchanybodyelsewouldwanttosee.A projectwhichinitselfisfarfromcompleteaswe

continuetofindmoreboxes,inmoredrawers, inroomsmygrandmothercouldhaveswornhe neverused.

It’shopedtheprojectwillprovideaplatformfor metotellhisstoryalongwiththatoftheCollege Bankcommunity,onewhichlikemanyothersin theNorthWestisbeingoverlookedandunderplayed,sweptintothediscourseattheearliest conveniencebecausethebudgetisn’tthereand noone’spaidenoughtocare.

It’sastoryaboutSylvia,Chris,Roy,Mark, AudreySheila,ConandDave(tonameafew) ofCollegeBank:theSevenSisters.

www.elliewaters.com @_ellie_waters

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MitchellHey,CollegeBankfrom ClementRoydsStreet-August2022 ©EllieWaters Sylvia’sdiningroom,Tentercroft, CollegeBank-April2022 ©EllieWaters

Kanaval

LeahGordon(bornEllesmerePort,UK,1959)isanartist,curator,writerandisCo-Directorofthe GhettoBiennaleinPort-au-PrinceinHaiti.HerworkexplorestheintervolvedandintersectionalhistoriesoftheCaribbeanplantationsystem,thetransatlanticslavetrade,theEnclosureActsandthe creationoftheBritishworking-class.Inthe1980sshewrotelyrics,sang,andplayedforafeminist folkpunkband.Gordon’sfilmandphotographicworkhasbeenexhibitedinternationallyatthe MuseumofContemporaryArtinSydney,theDak’artBiennale,theNationalPortraitGalleryinthe UK,andtheNortonMuseumofArtinFlorida.

Additionally,GordonwasacuratorfortheHaitianPavilionatthe54thVeniceBiennaleandCo-Curatorof Kafou:Haiti,History&Art’ atNottinghamContemporaryintheUK,and

PÒTOPRENS:The

UrbanArtistsofPort-au-Prince atPioneerWorks,NYCin2018andMOCA,Miamiin2019.In2022 heraward-nominatedfeaturelengthdocumentary Kanaval:APeople’sHistoryofHaitiinSix Chapters wasbroadcastinselectedcinemasandonBBC4’sArena.In2022Gordonexhibitedin andcuratedthe AtisRezistans|GhettoBiennale exhibitionatStKunigundisChurchatdocumenta fifteen,Kassel;herworkshowedatMOCANorthMiami;PowerPlantGallery,DukeUniversity,NC, USA;andHausderKulturenderWelt,Berlin,Germany.

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LansèKòd|GasonBóLanmé-a(RopeThrowers|BoybytheSea)2000 ©LeahGordon

“Itwaslikedancingontheedgeofavolcano” recallsLeahGordonwhenlookingbackather timestudyingPhotography&FilmatthePolytechnicofCentralLondon(PCL)backinthe early1980s.Itwasaverynewcourseatthe time,and“incrediblypolitical-itabsolutelycelebratedbeingworkingclass”shesays.Itwas freshandnewandalignedverymuchwithher ownpolitics.“Thediscourseandthetheorythey werecreatingatthetimewewerestudying;it wasflowingout,itwashotlava,verymuchthe politicsofrepresentation”.

Beingaphotographerandfilmmakerwasnot Leah’sintendedvocation.BorninEllesmerePort intheNorthofEnglandintoaworkingclass family,hometoalargepetrochemicalindustry,it wasexpectedthatshewouldgodownthescientificrouteasaprofession.Whenshebecame thefirstpersoninherfamilytogotouniversity, Chemistrywasherchosensubjectbutshe

droppedoutafterafewmonthsinamovewhich leftherparents“prettypissedoff”asitwas unheardofthatanyonefromthetownwould studyphotography.

Fromanearlyage,Leahremembersplayingwith apretendtoycameraandhowshewasalways obsessedwithimagery,pouringoverthephotographsinthetwobooksof EncyclopaediaBritannicaherfamilyowned.Whenherfatherwona KodakInstamaticinacompetition,hegaveitto herandherloveofphotographygrewfromthere.

ShecitesherinfluencesasAugustSanderwho becameatouchstoneduetothesimplicityofhis style,alongwithDianeArbusandJoelPeter Witkin.Sheleanstowardsportraitureashermain focus.Shebecameinterestedinhistorylaterin lifeandthisplaysamajorroleinherwork,inparticularhistories“frombelow”.Shesaysthat “takingthehistoriesfromaboveandrewriting themfrombelow”reallyinfluencesher.

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VagabondajMawon:Sitadel(2019)fromKingdomofthisWorldproject ©LeahGordon/HandTintingMargDuston DavidandSandra|SilvingtonCommon|Rights:Grazing4beastsofeachsort; Estovers:Turbary;Pannage;Piscary(2022)

Sodoesphotojournalismdefineherwork?“Not atallactually.IguessIseemyselfasanartistof photographyandfilmandIkindofchoosea formatwhichsuitsme.IdidworkasaphotojournalistforawhilebutIdon’treallyhavealotoffaith initasameansofrepresentationinalotofways. Ifeelithasalotofshortcomings”.

LeahfirstwenttoHaitiin1991.Sheexperienced thecarnivalforthefirsttimein1995andmade repeatedvisitsinthelate90s.Shetalksabout herloveofHaiti:“IfoundinHaitisomethingthatI feellikewe’relosinginBritain,whichisacountry thatisstillproducingitsownculturefromthe bottomup;fromthegrassroots”.

BecauseofthecourseshehaddoneatPCLwhichwasshesayswasverycriticalandtaught hertoquestionhowherownimagesaredisseminatedintheworld-sheisalsoacutelyawareof howHaitianditsculturehavebeendemonised sincetheslaverevolts.Sheacknowledgesthat

herphotographofthetwomenwearingthebulls’ hornscouldbemisinterpretedasaddingtothat demonisationalthoughthatwasnottheintentof theimage.Shewentbackin2002andstarted collectingoralhistoriesandthatwaswhenthe projectbecamericherforher,throughrealising howthepeopleofHaitiareretellingtheirhistory. Shedescribeshow“theywereusingthemasks nottoconcealbuttorevealthesefantastichistoriesandthatwaswhenitbecameveryexciting”.

Hercreativeprocessfor Kanaval inparticularshe describesasmechanical.“Whenyouconsider thecameraisasoldasme,it’stotallymechanical.Awriteroncecalledit“performedethnography”.IspeakCreolewhichisessentialasyou havetospeaktothepeopleyouarephotographing;explaintheprojectwhiletheywaitformeto windthedamnthingon,cogtheshutter,dothe lightreading,getthepersonholdingthereflector togetthelightontheirface.Imean,that’salong

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DavidandSandra|SilvingtonCommon|Rights:Grazing4beastsofeachsort; ©LeahGordon/HandTintingMargDuston RoyGriffiths|StapeleyCommon|Rights:Grazingcattle,sheep,horses,pigs; Estovers:Bracken(2020) ©LeahGordon/HandTintingMargDuston

photographicprocesswhichIdon’treallyclassify asphotojournalism.It’smorelikestudiophotography,butonthestreet.”

Whenaskedhowshewouldclassifythepurpose ofherwork,shesays:“thethingthatreallyundercutseverythingIdoisclass,andanunderstandingofclass,andformetherealimportanceofthe Kanaval projectistoremindpeoplewhatwe’ve lost.It’stakingcultureandourhistoryintoour ownhandsandretellingitourselves”.

“The Kanaval projectispartofatrajectory.Iwas partofafeministpostpunkbandinthe80sandI hadbeenphotographingUKtraditionslikeGuy Fawkescelebrations.I’mverymuchintothishistoryasperformedonthestreetsbypeoplesoI wouldsayalotofthingsaretodowithcritiquing modernismandofhighlightingclassbased storytellingandperformance.”

Whenitcomestofindingideas,shetalksabout

howshe‘represents’,withtheemphasisonthe ‘re‘,becausewhatsheisdoingisshowingsomethingthatsomeoneelsehasalreadypresented. Sheexplainsthatforher:“thecreationoftheBritishworkingclassandtheplantationsystemare veryintertwined.Ironically,myhometownis exactlyhalfwaybetweenManchesterandLiverpoolsoI’mhalfwaybetweenacitywhoseeconomywasbuiltontheIndustrialRevolutionand anotherfromtheslavetrade.Iwasinvitedbythe MuseumofSlaveryinLiverpooltogotoHaitito commissionsomeartiststodoasculpturethat wouldbeapermanentexhibit,whichishowImet mypartner.Iwasinvitedtospeakataconference aboutthemonumentalisingoftheslavetradeand whattheMuseumofSlaveryhadbeentryingto achieve.WhenIwaswritingmytalk,Istarted googlingthesubjectandrealisedthereisno monumenttotheEnclosuresActinBritain.It becameimportanttometocreateanewhistory

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DeLansèKòd(TwoRopeThrowers)1996 ©LeahGordon

whichweavesthesehistories;theenclosures,the plantationsandtheindustrialrevolution,together.

Askingthatsimplequestionatthatconference: "whyistherenomonumenttotheEnclosure Act?”’,that’swhatstartedthiswholeproject, The MonumenttotheVanquished,intowhatis becomingthelongestprojectintheuniverse!”.

Thepresentationofherworkisveryimportantto Leah.“It’sbeenveryimportanttometonegotiate howit’sputonininstitutionsandexhibitions.The besttimeIeverhadwasatNewArtExchangein Nottinghamwhere,notonlydidweputthe Kanaval oralhistoriesastextonthewall,wealso workedwithalocalCaribbeancarnivalandwe gotthemtoreadouttheoralhistoriesinlocalNottinghamaccents.Ispendalotoftimethinking aboutinstallationandthinkinghowyou“de-other” thework.Itrytomakethelinksthatsay“you mightthinkthisistheexoticfar-away-otherbut,it couldbeourhistory”.Wealsohadashowin

Birminghamwherewehadalocalyoungblack rappingpoetrygroupcomeinandtheywrotelots ofslampoetryandgaveabigperformancebased onthe Kanaval photographs.Weinvitecarnival committeestoshowtheirworkalongsideitand weshowfilmsaboutBritishcustomsandtraditions.That’sabigthingformetomakethose links.”

Sowheredoesher Kanaval projectgonext?“I madeafilmfortheBBClastyear(watchallsix ChaptersonBBCiPlayer)andmynextjobisto gobackto Kanaval inFebruary2023.We’re goingtohireabigprojectorandscreenandwe’re goingtoscreenthefilmonthebeach.Thefilmis inCreole.ThereisnoEnglishvoiceoveraswe keptitashistoryfrombelowwhichishandyas nothingneedstranslatingwhenyoutakeittoHaiti. TheexhibitionisalsoonattheMuseumofContemporaryArtsinMiamiuntilApril2023andthey arealsoshowingthefilm.”

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SanctusBell,SouthwarkCathedral,London,UK(2013) ©LeahGordon

“I’vebeenphotographing bells foralongtimeand firestationdrilltowerstoo.”Forher DrillTowers work,LeahenlistedthehelpoflocalHaitianartist MichelLafleur.“WhenIwasphotographingthese towers,theyweresodull.Iwasphotographing theminblackandwhiteandwhilstIlovedtheir strangenessIcouldn’tmakethemseemuncanny asaphotographicprint.IworkedwithanartistI knowwhopaintsbarbershopsinHaiticalled MichelLafleur,andofcourseMichelhadnoidea abouttheclimateinBritain.Iwouldsendhimthe picturesinblackandwhiteandsaytopaintthem inwhatevercolourshechose.Soeverything wouldcomebackwiththebluestskiespossible andbrightcoloursinthetowers.Theyarelike paintingsbutthestartingpointsarethephotographs”.

Interestingly,Leahconsidersherselfafrustrated painterandifshewasofferedanewtalenttomorrowthat’stheoneshewouldgofor.Shesays that’swhysheworksverycloselywithMargaret Dustonwhocollaboratedonherproject TheCommoners;alsohandcolouredphotographs. “There’safeministtheoristcalledSylviaFederici andshehasthisideathatthewitchhuntsare

linkedwiththeEnclosureAct.Matriarchalpaganreligionslinkpeople withtheland.Ifyoudemonisethat religion,youfinditeasiertobreak peopleawayfromthelandandtheir culturalandspiritualinvestmentin theland.Iwasreadingheressays andIdecidedtodotheportraitsof TheCommoners withalevelof ‘trippyness’thatforme,youcouldn’t getthroughPhotoshop.Iphotographonfilm,haveitprintedin blackandwhitethenaskMargaret tohandpaintittoshowthatmore trippypaganrelationshiptothe land.”

Sheisactivelyworkingonotherprojectsatthemoment.“I’mtryingto workonaproposaltomakeafilm abouttheEnclosureActwhichwill probablybesimilarinformto Kanaval.Photographically,Ijusthadashowona verydifferenttypeofprojectwhichisaboutthe tensionbetweenmagicandmodernity.”

Lookingathowphotographyhaschanged,Leah talksaboutthesenseofbeinginthedigitalage. “Intheartworldthingshaven’tchangedbutcommerciallytherearesomanyjobsthatdidpayprofessionalphotographersandnowtheyjustget someonetogooutandtakeafewpictureswitha phone.”

Whenaskedwhatadviceshewouldgivewomen photographerscomingupinthebusinesstoday, sherecommendslearningtouseInDesignand creatingaprofessionalPDFtopromoteyourwork. “Alwaysgetawebsite.Iwasanearlyadopterof websitesandInstagramisgoodtoo.Theminute youstartputtingyourstuffoutthereyoubecome veryhypercriticalofyourworkinawaythatyou don’twhenit’sjustsittingathome.Websitesarea goodwayofre-evaluatingwork.Ithinkthattheart worldisbecomingmuchmoreexpansiveand openandisaplaceforrefuge.”

www.leahgordon.co.uk

@leah_gordon_1804

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Lanmò(Death)2019 ©LeahGordon
71 NoirfromtheCastePortraits(2012) ©LeahGordon

SamebutDifferent

CeridwenHughesisawidelyexhibitedartist whooftenusesphotographytoignitepeople’s curiosity;toexplorethestoriesofthosewho oftenfindthemselvesonthefringesofsociety. Herbodyofworknowencompassestenmajor projectsspanningsevenyears.

CeridwenHughes’youngestsonwasdiagnosed withanextremelyraredisease,Moebiussyndrome,whenhewasnearlyayearold.Itcauses facialparalysisaswellasotherissues.Oneof themostdifficultaspectsoftheconditionfor Ceridwenwasrecognisingthatpeopleoften founditdifficulttoseepastthedisabilityand thattheywouldmakeassumptionsbasedon thewayhelooked.Ashegrew,shealsostarted todreadschoolphototimeasheinvariably camehomewithanimagethatinnowaycapturedthechildthatshesaw.Assomeonewho hadpreviouslynoexperienceofrarediseases, itwasadifficultandlonelyjourneyforherand herfamily.Therewassolittleunderstanding andaconstantneedtoexplainhisconditionand itsimpact.Overtheyearsshemetmanymore peoplewhoexpressedthesamesenseoflonelinessafterararediseasediagnosisandasher knowledgegrew,sotoodidherdesiretodo somethingpositive.

Havingworkedinmarketingformanyyears,her passionforphotographywasignitedwhenshe hadtheopportunitytophotographlivemusicat astadium.Theexcitementfromthisfirstshow ledtomanymoreandshehonedherskillsin thisever-changingenvironment.

Asshedevelopedherphotography,sherealised itwaspossibletocombinehermarketingexperienceandjoythatphotographygaveherin ordertoraiseawarenessoftheimpactofrare disease.In2015shelaunchedSamebutDifferent,anotforprofitorganisationthatusesthe artsforpositivesocialchange.

Thelaunchofherfirstproject RareAware reachedaworldwideaudiencewhowere invitedtoexploretheissuesaroundraredisease.Thereachoftheseexhibitionshascontinuedtogrow.

Asaphotographer,shehasalwaysstrivedto createaconnectionwiththemodelandlooked beyondthesurfaceinordertoteaseoutthe personandisdrivenbywhothepersoninher imageis.Thisapproachliesattheheartofher earlierexhibitionsincluding BeautyofRare, Homeless,and EquippedforLife,tonamejust afew.Thenarrativesthataccompanymanyof

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DoRMichelleC ©CeridwenHughes

herimageshavebeenteasedoutthrough honestandopenconversationswithher models.Sheisoftenthefirstpersontheyhave spokentoabouttheirexperiences.Thisraw honestyisreflectedinherimages.Thishasled toexhibitionsinboththeHousesofParliament andtheSenedd(theWelshParliament)aswell asatvenuesthroughouttheUKandoverseas.

Overthelastthreeyearsshehascreatedshort filmstoaccompanythephotographs,thefirstof whichwontheRareDiseasefilmfestivalaward foracollaborativeproject.

Ceridwen’slatestexhibition, DaysofRare,startedwiththebuildingoftheRareRoom,apurpose-builtsetinthestudio,allowingthecreation ofaseriesofimagesthatgivetheviewera glimpseintotheworldofthoseaffectedbyrare disease.Eachsceneiscreatedafterdiscussionswiththeparticipantabouttheimpacttheir rarediseasehasonthemandthosearound them.Shetookthisapproachhavingrecognisedthatwhilstpeoplewerehappytoengage withimagesofchildrenwithrarediseasesitwas hardertodosowhenthepersonaffectedwas anadult.Inordertoovercomethisbarriershe

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createdimagesthatweredesignedto leavetheviewerwantingtoknowmore andtochallengetheircuriosity.

Hannah

Hannahis19yearsold,andalthough shestilllivesathomealongwithher littlesister,shedreamsofworkingasa modelandlivinginLondon.Hannahhas Hay-WellsSyndrome,anextremelyrare disorder.Shehashearingdifficulties andisalsoincrediblysensitivetoboth lightandheat,whichpresentsome dailychallenges.Hereyescanoftenget uncomfortableanditchyandpainfulin brightlight.Sunlightalsocausesher skintoburn,andherbodystrugglesto regulateheat.

MichelleH

In2014Michellebecameillnotlong afterherdaughterwasborn.Hersymptomspresentedinatextbookmanner whichhelpedwithafasterdiagnosis. Shewasdiagnosedwithacondition calledMyastheniagravis.MGisa chronicautoimmuneconditionthat causesneuromusculardisorderscharacterisedbymuscleweaknessand musclefatigue.“It’sevendifficulttoroll overinbedwhenyou’resoweakthat theduvetwon’tmove.”

Tayen

LivingwithhypohidroticectodermaldysplasiaissomethingthatTayen,aquietly assuredandconfidentfifteenyearold, simplytakesinherstride.Oneofthe mainsymptomsofherconditionishow itrestrictsherabilitytocontrolherbody temperature.Extremelyhighorlow temperaturesaredangerousfor anyone,butinTayen’scase,itismore likelytohappenifthesignsaremissed anditcouldbecomefatal.

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DoRBonnie ©CeridwenHughes DoRAvi ©CeridwenHughes

“Asaphotographer,shehasalwaysstrivedtocreateaconnection withthemodelandlookedbeyondthesurfaceinordertotease outthepersonandisdrivenbywhothepersoninherimageis.”

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DoRMichelleH ©CeridwenHughes DoRTayen ©CeridwenHughes

Avi

Avihasjustturned21andhehasFibrodysplasiaOssificansProgressivaorF.O.P;aconditionthatislife-limiting,degenerativeandcomplex.HismumRashmitadescribesF.O.Pas“a bonedisease,it'sbasicallywhereyourmuscles turntobone,andyougrowanotherskeleton insidethebody,youareturningtostone,soto speak”.

MichelleC

In2005Michellewasenjoyingherlife.Shewas veryactive,fitandworkedfulltimebutbecame chronicallyillfast.“AfterIhadmyson,myjoints startedswellingandIwasgettingheadaches.I couldn'twalk.Iwasinalotofpainanditjust seemedtocomeonovernight.”Shewasdiagnosedwithaveryrare,complexautoimmune diseasecalledBehcet’sDiseaseorBehcet’s

Syndrome.Itcantargetanyjointoranypartof herbody.“ThemostimportantlessonIhave learnedisnevertotakegoodhealthforgranted; toappreciatethelittlethingsthatlifehasto offer.”

Bonnie

BonnieliveswithHaemophiliaASevere.It’san extremelyrareconditionwithonlyapproximately 6000peopleintheUKaffected.Itisrarerstillin Bonnie’scaseassheisfemale,andtypicallythe conditionaffectsmales.Femalesaregenerally carriersorhaveamildertypeofbleedingdisorder.Todate,Bonniehasnotmetanother womanorgirlwithherconditionintheUK.

YoucanfindoutmoreaboutSamebutDifferent andviewadditionalexhibitionsat: www.samebutdifferentcic.org.uk

@ceridwenhughes

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DoRHannah ©CeridwenHughes

CrossingLines

AninterviewwithEveMilnerLRPS

EveMilnerLRPSisaLondon-basedphotographerwhosedigitalimageshavebeenexhibitedin London,Glasgow,BarcelonaandCroatia.ThreeofherportraitswonanHonourableMentioninthe JuliaMargaretCameronAwards2022.Sheworkswithavailablelightandusesportraiture,self-portraitureandsocialdocumentaryprojectstoexplorethemesofidentity,ageing,genderandmemory. EvespeakswithWomeninPhotographyChairTeriWalkerfor WEAREMagazine.

HiEve,thankyoufortakingtimetoshareyour storyandworkwith WEAREMagazine. Can youtellusabitaboutyourselfandhowyou gotstartedinphotography?

Thankyouforaskingme–it’sarealprivilegeto becontributingto WEAREMagazine!

I’llbe72thisyear,andcametophotography verylateinlifewithabsolutelynobackgroundin thecreativeindustries.Previously,Ihavebeen amodernlanguagesgraduate,abilingualsecretary,acharteredsurveyor,aTESOLteacher, amumathome,andaLondonBlueBadgetouristguide.Yes,Iwasalways‘thatirritating person’wantingtotakephotosonfamilyholidaysandatgatheringswithmypocketSony Cybershot.Myfamilyboughtmea one-day

beginners‘photographycourseformy65thbirthday,alongwithabasicCanonDSLRcamera,and thewholethinghasevolvedfromthat.

Ifolloweduptheone-daycoursewithacouple ofpart-timegeneralphotographycoursesat MorleyCollegepre-lockdown,butIfeellargely self-taught,especiallywhenIcomparemy experiencewiththerichdepthandbreadthof experiencesfellowphotographershavehad whiledoingdegreesandmastersinphotography.I’msureitwasthissenseoffloundering aloneintheshallowswhiletherearewhole oceansofpossibilitiesouttherethatdroveme totryfortheLRPS.Itwasextremelychallenging totacklethisduringlockdown,butsincelockdownputpaidtomybusinessasatouristguide, Iwasabletoconcentrateonmyphotography

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Self-portraitinatimeofCOVID ©EveMilner FacesofBankside-DedePreparingtoBox ©EveMilner

fulltime,andIhadfantasticsupportandmentoringfromtheRPSLondonRegion.Achievingthe LicentiateDistinctionhasgonealongwaytowards dispellingmyimpostersyndrome,andit’sno exaggerationtosaythatphotographysavedmy mentalhealthduringthelockdownyears.

Whohaveyourinfluencesbeen?

Iwouldseetheoddphotographyexhibition duringvisitstotheV&Aforexample,butIhonestlywasn’tvisuallyactivebeforestartingphotographysevenyearsago.IwarmedtophotographerswhocapturedthelandscapesandcityscapesIhadseenonmytravelsinwaysIcould onlydreamof.So,IbecameafanofbothAnsel AdamsandPaulStrand.ThenIwentthrougha timeofthinkingthatIwasmoreabookphotographer,ratherthanawallphotographer,andI stilllovetheworkdonebyAlexSothandRoy DeCarava.EventuallyIwasdrawntoportraiture -IguessbecauseIlikepeople.Ilovechatting topeople,hearingtheirstoriesandmakinga connection.IhavebeenseducedbyJuliaMar-

garetCameronandRichardAvedon,butinrecent timesmorepeoplelikeJaneBownandZanele Muholi.AndIsupposethoselasttwointerestsare comingtogethernowinapassionforsocialdocumentaryphotography-storytelling,ifyouwill.So, IparticularlyloveDorotheaLange,JamesBarnor, TomHunter,ChrisKillipandJoanneCoates.

Wheredoesyourinspirationcomefrom?

Attheriskofsoundinglikeacompletepseud,I havetosaylifearoundme!Thecityexcites me.Peopleexciteme.Humanendeavour excitesme.Thelightexcitesme.Ihadawonderfulcommissionlastsummerfrommylocal BusinessImprovementDistrictwhoaskedme tomakeportraitsoftwelvevolunteersfromour LGBTQIA+communitytocelebrate50yearsof PrideinLondoncalledFacesofBankside.My daughterisgay,andsheandherwifehave givenusthemostadorablegranddaughter,so thisisacommunitywhichisveryclosetomy heart,bothpersonallyandpolitically.Collaboratingwitheachperson,weagreedonalocalspot

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CrossingLines3© EveMilner

thatheldaspecialmeaningforeachofthem, andthat’swherewedidtheshootusingjustavailablelight,soitwouldn’tbetoooverwhelmingfor them.I’mveryawareofhowintimidatingitcan betohaveyourportraittaken,soIdidn’tgetmy cameraoutofitscaseforthefirsthourorso;we justchatted.Theywouldslowlysharetheirstorieswithme,andwewoulddiscusshowthey wouldliketobeseen.Ithinkgivingmycollaboratorsafeelingofagencyisparamount,soIsent eachofthemalloftheirimages,andtheychose theonetheywantedintheexhibition.Theyalso gotfinalapprovalofthetextwhichaccompanied eachimage,describingtheirlivedexperience.

IguessbecauseIhaven’tbeendoingthisfor verylong,everythingisgristtomymill,andIdo takemassesofphotographs!However,I’m beginningtofeelthatImightbereadytocall timeonthisscattergunphase.Iwouldliketo becomemoreconsidered,morethoughtful, moremindfulinmypractice,anddrilldowntoa deeperlevelintermsofwhatI’mtryingtosay withmyimages,andhowIwanttosayit.Inthat regard,peopleIhavemetthroughLondonInde-

pendentPhotography,andRPSLondonhave beenincrediblysupportive,andinspiring–such positiveandwelcomingcommunities!

Yourecentlyexhibited CrossingLines atthe JeannieAventGallery inLondon.Canyoutell usmoreabouthowtheconceptforthatprojectoriginatedandabouttheprojectitself?

Thankyousomuchforaskingaboutthat–it wassuchawonderfulexperience,andacompletedeparturefrommyusualpractice!

Thatshowwasverymuchacaseofonedoor closingandanotheropening.Ihadthegallery spacebookedtoshowalockdowncollaboration projectbetweenmyselfandthehugelytalented VanessaSimpson- 2Women, 120Miles, 120 Years -butwedecideditwouldbebettersuited toabook,andIwasabouttogiveupthespace whenIthought“Eve,you’re71yearsold.Ifyou don’tdoashownow,whenwillyou?”

So,Ihadalongdiscussionaboutwhatworkto createwithmycuratorSullenRiotCuration. CyanotypesarephotographsIpersonallyenjoy lookingat.Theyalwayselicitapositive,visceral responsefromme.Ithinkthegorgeousblue colourjustmakesmefeelveryhappy.Theyalso appealtomypenchantfornostalgia,and interestinthepowerofmemory.Pleasenote thatatthispointIhadneverevermadeacyan-

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CrossingLines1© EveMilner CrossingLines2© EveMilner

otypeprint.AsmynextexhibitionthisSummer isdefinitelygoingtobepurecyanotypes,we thoughtIshouldusethisopportunitytogetto gripswiththeprocessandtopushwelloutside mycomfortzonetocreatetonedcyanotypes.Eighteenimageswerecuratedfrommy archivewhichwefeltwouldtranslatewellinto tonedcyanotypes.Ialsofeeltheyreflectsome oftherecurringthemesinmypracticeoutside ofportraiture:urbanlife;man-madestructures; evanescenceandstillness.

Oncethesedecisionsweretaken,therebegan anintensejourneyduringwhichIhadtoconfrontmanydemons:lackofknowledge; impostersyndrome;mydyslexia;thefactI failedO-levelchemistryandphysics;thefactI

havenoaccesstofacilitiesandhadtoturnthe bathroomandkitchenofmyflatintoadarkroom /studiowithoutmyhusbandsuingfordivorce; andmylackofmanualdexterityandgeneral cack-handedness.Thereweretantrums,tears ofrageandfrustration;threeweekslosttoa cruelboutofCOVID-19;failures;re-prints;more failures;andendlessconsultingYouTube videosfor‘howto’andpossiblesolutions.Itwas aride!

Whatareyouworkingonnow?Doyouhave anythingnewcomingupthatyoucanshare withus?

IwillhaveanotherexhibitionintheSummerat somepoint.Ihavebeenworkingfortwoyears

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SiteHeroes-BillytheScaffolderwhoDreamsof WinningtheLottery© EveMilner

documentingtheconstructionofsomenew almshousesinBermondsey,London.During thistimeIhavemade-andammaking-atypographyofportraitsofthesiteworkers;the Site Heroes.Thisisaverytrickythingtoachieve becauseobviouslyonecan’tdisturbpeople whenthey’reworking!AlsoIdon’twantthemin hardhatsandhighvizgear-Ireallywantto capturethepersonunderneath.Therearealso issueswithgettingconsent,butwe’regetting thereslowly.Weworkedoutthatablackbitof hoardingwheretheworkerstaketheirtea breakscouldbethebackdrop,andIwouldjust useavailablelightontheday.Theseportraits havetobegrabbedveryquicklyduringthe workers’teabreaks,makingsuretheyalsosign

themodelreleaseforms!ButIdoaskeachof themtotellmesomethingtheydreamof(thank youGillianWearing!).Andagain,Isendeach participantalltheirimages,andletthemchoose theonetheywouldliketobeintheshow.

Myclientshaveagreedthattheseportraitscan havetheirownshowinthecompletedbuilding thisSummer.Becauseofthehistoryofthe cyanotypeasthefirstarchitectural‘blueprint’,I havedecidedtomakealloftheseportraits,and afewoftheactualfloorplansofthedevelopment,intocyanotypes.Ithinkthiswillgivethe portraitsatimelessnessandamonumentality whichbefitsthesubjects.

@evemilnerphotography

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SiteHeroes-RashidithePlumberwhoDreamsofBuildingin RwandaWhereheComesFrom© EveMilner
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