Becky & Joanne
B: Your images are beautiful and despite a broad variety of subjects, I can see a strong visual identity. Is this connection something you created consciously?
J: I’ve had to think quite long and hard but love this process of artists asking each other Q’s and generating topics for debate amongst each other. I often think image seen by a hundred different people is a different image each time. My work explores issues that are close to experiences, stories that I am in position to tell. The same story will be different for each viewer, we’ve had unique life experiences. I can explain projects as much as possible but this doesn’t mean it will be the same story. Instead I try create a narrative, the heart of the story in a subjective way. My subjects are people who I highly respect and connect with. There is a gentle connection. My visual identity is me, it’s as close as I’ll ever come to being biographical. It’s a reflection, stillness, depth, unhurried, reflecting on dreams, memories and intimate ebb and flow of everyday life. I think it’s allowing the subconscious into my work, creating a stream for it to flow.
B: Your work with LensThink and the Dalby residency are incredible examples of your commitment to supporting other photographers, do you see this as part of your practice, or a separate strand to your work within the industry?
J: Lens Think was created out of the need to start a diverse and supportive network; to have socials, to take the pressures off artists working alone, create a supportive space. In the Arts there is a lack of regional diversity, a lack of diversity in class, of gender, of LGBTQ+, of POC artists. These are huge issues and I can’t hope to tackle them all BUT I wanted to create a place where we can speak about this, and everyone is welcome. I wanted to create events that are safe spaces to come meet others, very relaxed. It’s also grown. Before you asked me this question, honestly . . . I hadn’t thought about it as part of my practice BUT I’ve stewed over this question for a few weeks. Speaking up about class and issues is who I am, Lens Think is who I am. Again it’s a self portrait of my values. At the heart are all the things I care deeply about and a certain stubborn subtle strength where I want to solve this deep rooted and complex issues. Ask questions, create conversations...Which is also what I want my work to do. It’s all about social change, and so is my work.
B: You describe your approach as “democratic and poetic” which I love. Can you tell me more about it and where this came from? Do you draw on other art forms (like poetry) to influence your work?
J: Other art forms are more important to my practice than photography. I find so many flaws with the photographic image. Even the term photographer, what does that mean, really? I am opposed to objectivity. Tarkovsky expresses this sentiment beautifully. “We can express our feelings regarding the world around us either by poetic or by descriptive means. I prefer to express myself metaphorically. Let me stress: metaphorically, not symbolically. A symbol contains within itself a definite meaning, certain intellectual formula, while metaphor is an image. An image possessing the same distinguishing features as the world it represents. An image — as opposed to a symbol — is indefinite in meaning. One cannot speak of the infinite world by applying tools that are definite and finite. We can analyse the formula that constitutes a symbol, while metaphor is a being-within-itself, it's a monomial. It falls apart at any attempt of touching it.” Andrei Tarkovsky. Allowing the beauty in a much feared imperfect world, allowing the unconscious to creep in. Allowing questions to be raised in a unsettling and mysterious way.