Some of the questions I am frequently asked by strangers are things such as who or what do I shoot and why? And how did I get into photography? I’ve sort of struggled to reply to those questions in the past because I don’t think my work fits into a genre of photography, and I sometimes like to gloss over the fact that I was a model and this is how I first came to develop an interest in taking photographs. Being a model and then becoming a self-taught photographer was something that used to be used against me to discredit my work in some way. I suppose the longer that you take photographs, the more you realise what your ‘thing’ is and what it is that you want to create. Time also allows you to become better at rejecting negative views as to how you started out in a field of work because it differed from others. I’ve always made pictures, it’s just that the medium I use for making those pictures has changed. When I painted, much of my paintings were self-portraits or of friends. I think that my eye has always been for people and it makes sense that I’m still creating images with them as my main focus.
What I feel photography is for me, is in a very simple way sharing things that I love, and those things are infinite in their variety. Some of them go back to my childhood, be that films or music, and other aspects are the locations I like, which hark back to where I grew up. I’ve shot a lot of work that has real meaning to me, but so much of the time I just like to insert objects or abstract ideas that I simply think will look cool. Not everything has had a real intention beyond that, and even the ideas that have, the viewer probably interprets entirely different to me. I don’t like to get too caught up in caring about images needing to have a meaning beyond their basic aesthetic. Photography is my way of expressing myself and sharing my interests, it’s even more thrilling when you get to work with someone with similar interests. For the last few weeks Faye and I have been making the most of the weather and our shared love of brutalist architecture and grotty seaside toilets, to go on shooting adventures. For about three weeks in a row, we seemed to be always out shooting on a Wednesday, hence the title of this blog. In actuality, we’ve been doing this for quite some time, and have developed an organic set-up where we will take turns at photographing one another in the same place. Our styles sometimes mix – I think a lot of my flash work came around from working with Faye – but essentially what we end up with is two perspectives on the same setting. It maybe seems pointless to travel hours on the train to Cleethorpes to then end up shooting more images in the public toilets than outside at the beach, but we are forever stumbling upon places like this and feeling inspired to shoot!
What I love about brutalist architecture is the futuristic look of the buildings. We moved house six times when I was a kid, and we always lived in council houses where concrete and roughcasting was a big theme. Playgrounds were also full of equally not child-friendly surfaces (I was always the child falling over and splitting her head and knees open) and a lot of the time when we go visit these old housing estates and buildings, I’m reminded of where I grew up. We didn’t have anywhere as grandiose as Park Hill, but if it was somewhere built to house working-class people, they would be concrete structures which turned grey and dank due to the British weather eating away at them. It’s been a sort of mission and obsession with Faye and I to seek out more before they’re all bulldozed and eroded from the landscape. Often we spend entire days there exploring and walking around, planning concepts for future visits and reading up on the history of the buildings. It feels like we’ve never really touched upon what we could do with the space, and at times I think we’ve both struggled with taking it all in and figuring out what we want to do. I think I’d like to work harder on recreating the memories I have of running around as a child playing and that feeling of fun and havoc.
We’ve been preparing for the weather to suddenly turn sour on us: although yesterdays mugginess seems to suggest that the heat is holding on for a bit longer! So that means perhaps a handful of more day-trips and places to scour for inspiration. Hopefully there will be something more reminiscent of the things I have running around in my head to share from those trips. As always, it feels like I’m not even close to what I am trying to achieve visually, but the trying is the fun part. I don’t think I’ll ever run out of things that I want to take photographs of, and new methods I want to try mastering in order to make those photographs.
All of the images in this post were taken by either me, or Faye (zombieneko.com)