Rachael & June
J: Can you tell me a little about your practice?
R: I’m an artist working primarily with photography, and I produce projects and curate exhibitions both as part of my own practice and in my role as a teaching assistant at Manchester School of Art.
J: What was it like working with so many photographers on the Bathroom Project, particularly when it came to putting together the exhibition?
R: Because of the size of the darkroom the artists completed their residencies one at a time, so halfway through the project we held an interim exhibition and potluck in the house so that they could all meet each other and see what the other artists were working on. We ended up with thirteen artists and a craft collective producing twelve pieces for the final exhibition, so I worked with each artist individually to discuss the presentation of their work. Sometimes this was fairly straightforward as we had talked about the final exhibition as they were producing the work or during the interim show, and with some we would pass diagrams and reference images back and forth until we’d agreed.
I hung the show myself, with the support of people who were not involved in the project which was really useful for an objective view. Because we were working during the week most of the artists couldn’t be there for the install which actually helped us to work more efficiently and then send photographs for final approval rather than having too much of a dialogue as we were working, which with so many artists would have been a struggle to manage.
J: You seem to like artist books - how important do you think they are to photography and in practice?
R: I love making artist books because they allow you to work with images in a completely different way. The scale, materials, construction and sequencing can dramatically change how the audience interacts with the work in a format much simpler, more affordable (usually) and with more longevity than an exhibition.
They are also much more affordable to purchase than prints despite the amount of work that goes into producing them, which can be both positive and negative for artists, but explains the demand for books and huge rise in their popularity over the past few years.
J: How do you think being a member of FORM will affect your photography?
R: I have no idea which is why I’m so excited to be working as part of FORM Collective. Having been in an Art School environment for a long time it’s great to be working with people with such a range of experiences and backgrounds who approach the same problem in a completely different way and I think we can all learn a lot from each other.
I also definitely benefit from having a deadline to work to, and being part of FORM gives me regular checking-in points to have work ready to show and discuss which has already really helped me to be more productive. When it comes to our first exhibition, having my work curated by the rest of the collective will be really interesting and I’m looking forward to being less precious about the final presentation because I’ve definitely been guilty of that in other projects.