I was a sculptor for eight years and ended up living from a converted dairy farm in the countryside because I needed lots of equipment and space to make my work. I got fed up of the isolation and someone suggested I took up photography so that I could be more physically mobile. It’s working out pretty well and it’s very much my life.
People often comment on how patient I must be to wait around capturing all those carefully selected moments. They also want to know about my thing for putting flies in my still life images. In reality, I’m just getting on with my daily life, and I naturally have one eye dedicated to seeing photographic moments. I sometimes go out at night and photograph using a tripod and exposures that last up to fifteen minutes. I might only take two or three pictures in a night. A lot of those photos look like they were taken in the daytime, apart from a few subtle clues. Those pictures take patience, I’ll warrant that. As for the flies, that’s a bit of a mystery.
As a photographer, I love the variety of places and things I see on the job. I love art in general, so seeing exhibitions before they open is always fun, and going to gigs is a bonus. I also get to meet really creative people and actually collaborate with them on a creative level. I’m naturally inquisitive and I take photos because it helps me to see things in a new light. I don’t come up with special strategies on how to be different! In some ways I think uniqueness is overrated. I like how something that can be seen in the real world is also very much an abstract idea in the form of a few glossy pages in a magazine. It’s based on something that actually happened in a studio or on location, but it’s also a delightful farce.
I now realise that I have a strong personal style, but I didn’t nurture it – I didn’t even know it was there until quite a few people told me about it! I like strong horizontals and verticals, and more generally speaking I like things happening within the frame that expand the ‘story’ – maybe something that doesn’t fit, or something that makes you wonder what the image is supposed to symbolise. It’s important that my pictures are a surprise to me as well as to others – if I carry on being excited by the results, so will other people. Somebody once commented online on a photo of mine of a dog pissing on the floor, they said it was a “pervy” photo. Thankfully others came to my aid and called her a perv for thinking of it as pervy. I mean, maybe there are a lot of people who find dogs having a wee erotic, I don’t know. For me it was a photo about a few things, but it’s odd that something thought I must have dirty thoughts about dog urine!