WASH AWAY A WOMENS IDENTITY WITH COVID UNCOLOUR YOUR LIFE CAPSUALS
Following the success of my award winning ‘Washing Machine Girl’ image in the ‘A Day in Your Life Photography Competition www.dayinyourlife.co.uk founded by the BAFTA and multi award-winning artist Alison Jackson @alisonjacksonartist and I was kindly gifted the amazing and thought provoking book ’Feminist Avent-Garde: Art of the 1970s by Gabrielle Schor. from Hundred Heroines www.hundredheroines.org @hundredheroines , the compelling images in this book by photographers Karin Mack & Renate Eisenegger inspired me to create a series/ story by making 2 more images, giving the original image a beginning and an end.
I sent the images to Hundred Heroines to show how they had inspired me and they asked to interview me. I feel so deeply honoured and excited to see the interview which will be published on international women’s day, immaculately written by Phillipa Kelly.
DOLL THEMED SHOOT IN HONOUR OF OUR OLD FAMILY HOME AND CHILDHOOD MEMORIES PLAYING DOLLS & DRESS UP
I photographed this doll themed shoot to pay homage to our quirky old family home which sadly had to be sold and the happy childhood memories of my daughter and little sister growing up there, playing with dolls and dressing up.
The house was an old thatched cottage, with lots of pink and cream inside, hence the colour palette of the styling. These are the last photos I took there.
Playing with dolls as a child formed a huge part of who I am and what I do. It was an introduction to fashion, I loved selecting outfits for the dolls and feeling the textures and little fastenings of their clothes.
I could play out stories from my imagination or if I had something bothering me I could play it out with dolls and give it the ending I wanted.
I am excited to create more work which explores significant experiences in women’s lives that influence how they see, behave, think or cope with the world.
I am the proud & humbled winner of the 'A Day in Your Life' Photography Competition, curated by BAFTA and multi award winning photographer/ artist Alison Jackson.
My image was chosen by an esteemed panel of top industry & celebrity judges, and I received the 'Hundred Heroines' prize, for the style of feminist avant garde.
I was gifted an incredible camera and offered an apprenticeship with Harrod's as part of my prize.
The image theme was to represent a day in lockdown. I choose this image to submit because I felt it communicated how many women felt during lockdown, stuck at home, anxious, frustrated and longing for the experiences that brought them joy in their normal life, to be dressed up but there is no where to go, therefore one can get dressed up only to do the mundane chores. Getting dressed up always makes me feel better about myself, even if no one else can see me.
The head inside the washing machine symbolises the need for escapism, the subject is trying to find a Narnia style world inside it to escape or perhaps its a place no one can hear her scream, or she cant hear the children bickering.
The washing machine also represents the cycle of going round & round, lockdown has felt like ground hog day.
I have cut the identity of the woman because I feel lockdown has left many women feeling they have lost theirs in the pandemic. They have been expected to simultaneously work from home, whilst being home schooling teachers, nurturing mothers and run a home, the pressures and expectations for many women have been overwhelming and detrimental to their mental health.
Guy Bourdin was a photographer often criticised for cutting a woman’s identity and I used his work to influence the narrative of my image because I feel like the pandemic has sent many things backwards, with women stuck at home again doing the lions share of the chores and family care falling to them, their desires and needs coming second.
There is humour in this image and for me personally humour is what kept me going through lockdown.
SHOOTING PROMOTIONAL IMAGERY FOR A FANTASTIC BRAND THAT RAISES MONEY AND AWARENESS OF MENTAL HEALTH
I have been putting off writing this bitter sweet story as its about my now passed friend Steven 80(. He lost his battle with mental health at the end of 2020 but he leaves a wonderful legacy and example of how fashion can be used to raise awareness of important issues.
Steven had suffered seriously with mental health and addiction, he recovered and decided he wanted to help others like himself. Steven was always incredibly talented in art and had the most creative and charasmatic personality which led to his great idea of starting a street wear, clothing brand called ‘Men tally up’ in collaboration with the ‘Sir Norman Lamb Foundation’ , Steven donated 50% of everything he sold to charity to help others like himself.
He asked me to shoot the promotional imagery which I did willingly for free as I am always happy to help a good cause.
Steven wanted the brand to be inclusive to any gender and age , so I sourced models of all kinds and did 4 shoots (see in my portfolio).
I wanted to capture Stevens vision of a cool streetwear aesthetic so I researched brands like Carhartt and Stussy for inspiration in terms of model poses and urban locations. Steve wanted people wearing the brand to have a good time, doing things to help their mental health. I achieved this by using props like skate boards and directing the models to jump in the air and dance to show joy. I shot models together to emphasise the importance of friendship in combatting mental health.
I also wanted there to be some more impactful imagery because the reality of mental health isn't all smiles and jumping in the air, so I took serious, moody images of some of the male models but captured the the rays of the sun on their faces to show that there is light in darkness.
It breaks my heart that Steven wont get to continue this journey, but he has helped and inspired so many people with the great work he did.
THE IMPACT OF COVID ON FASHION DESIGN - FED UP BUT DRESSED UP
No one can deny this has been the strangest year for fashion and most peoples social calendars look like they have been playing noughts and crosses because of all their Covid cancelled plans.
We have largely spent 2020 at home, barefoot and braless in elasticated waist bands.
One designer who has had enough of boring casuals and drab colours is Molly Goddard, her latest collection was alive with cheerful colours and patterns, after all we need all we can in these dark times to brighten our days.
This flamboyant attitude seemed to set the scene at LFW with Bora Aksu, Temperley and Mark Fast bringing upbeat offerings of colours and glamour.
MY FIRST SHOOT SINCE LOCKDOWN
Fashion designer EGK Textiles approached Becky Louise Photography to shoot her latest collection. I was commissioned as a stylist and creative director for the festival themed shoot.
The beautiful collection was crafted from sleeping bags and other materials left over at festivals, thus making them completely sustainable.
I sourced the location of Firs Glamping site to host the shoot, the long grass and naturally beautiful environment leant itself perfectly to the summer festival vibe we were looking to capture.
Prior to the shoot I identified key elements associated with festivals and created a PDF with mood boards and suggestions of ideas, props, how to best utilise the site and for the two models to interact in order to communicate a strong festival narrative of girls having fun.
One of my ideas which worked out better than I could have hoped, was to blow a giant bubble into the shot as I hadn't seen this done before and I felt the purple/ green colours from the bubble would compliment the colour palette of the collection.
I also suggested the models using a Polaroid camera as a prop in some shots to strengthen the narrative of girls larking around, documenting their festival experience. The small rainbow logo on the Polaroid camera worked so well and subtly with the shoot colour palette.
I really enjoyed helping the designer create the set by dressing the tent with gorgeous fabrics she had screen printed, colourful ribbons and props.
It felt absolutely amazing to get back to work, I had missed shooting so much.
The pictures Becky has taken and retouched look fantastic and its not surprising they have just been published in www.boyfriend-mag.com .
The masks seen here are from Marnie Serre's Paris Fashion Week show in September 2019, she must of had a crystal ball.
I HAVE BEEN AWARDED A FIRST CLASS BA HONS IN FASHION COMMUNICATION AND PROMOTION
For the last 3 years I have been studying Fashion Communication and Promotion at Norwich University of the Arts, whilst working full time and being a mum.
It's been rather a bonkers and challenging few years; I am not sure how I managed to juggle everything but I did some how. I thrive on being busy and am always pushing myself to do better so I enjoyed the challenge and feel proud of myself.
University has completely opened my mind and fed my curiosity for wanting to better understand the ins and outs of the Fashion Industry at all levels, past, present, future and I have gained experience, knowledge and skills in all areas of fashion communication and promotion, from journalism, branding, marketing to photography and styling. I am now putting everything I have learned into practice and strive to make a positive impact on the industry.
Creative people solve problems and I am confident the fashion industry, full of creative people will find innovative and creative ways to overcome the challenges brought about by the pandemic, making positive changes for a better future.
PUBLISHED FOTO NOSTRUM GALLERY BARCELONA
I was delighted to discover an image I styled, sourced the models. location and collaborated on the creative direction for Jo Lauren Photography has been published in the Foto Nostrum Magazine for their contemporary photography art gallery in Barcelona.
This project Jo created was an exploration into unexplained events, 4 poor boys found a skull in a tree, in Birmingham in 1943 whilst foraging for food.
I had not worked on a project like this before but I really enjoyed it, it was fascinating to research the war time era in which they lived to help me understand how these boys would have lived, what they would have worn and what they did for fun. Research is a key part of my work as producing work which communicates authenticity and respect of the subject is very important to me.