The Fresh Young Talent section is seeing an influx of blog entries as I become more emerged in the blogging community. For today’s guest blog post, I invited Lotte Simons to share her thoughts on photography. She’s at the ripe age of 18 and her talent is evident in the rawness of her photographs. I hope you enjoy her work!
Whilst trying decide what I should use this post to talk about, my friend suggested that I “make it sound magical” to which I responded: “magical just isn’t my thing. I just imagine people dancing in cute little dresses round toadstalls with fairies and pixie dust giggling and spinning and seemingly high on something. Then there’s me, in my jeans, hoody, jodboots and chaps covered in mud with my hair a mess from the wind holding onto two lunatic chestnut horses and not giving a shit that I look a state!”
And I think that gave me an idea for what I wanted to focus my post on. For as much as I could have blogged about a shoot and made the whole thing sound very fairytale and dreamlike, it would’ve been a waste of an opportunity. It’s not who I am, it’s not how I see the world and it’s definitely not my work. So I thought instead i’d share who I think I am, how I view the world and most importantly, what my work is.
“My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph”- Richard Avedon
I’d like to think that at least holds partly true for me as well. Aside from the blindingly obvious that although the photo is of someone else, it’s the photographers view of them, I photograph what appeals to me visually and (if you can comprehend this) emotionally.
I try to get my work to reflect energy, for example dancers can leap, horses can gallop and fabric can float. These three key things are featured in my work quite often, though I try not to overuse the idea, otherwise it would become very repetitive. Although I do admit I have to ban myself from touching the chiffon these days!
There was a period when I was very satisfied with my work, I’d dislike it a few weeks after shooting it but that was normal self criticism to me and encouraged progression, I could look at my work and be satisfied that i’d captured whatever it was I was looking for. Then it slipped and it felt like nothing was working and nothing was ever good enough, none of my photos were making me feel fulfilled as a photographer or a person. I couldn’t get over the feeling that every photo had something missing from it and I can only describe it as feeling hollow. After a while I figured out the one essential element that was left out of my work, me. At some point i’d stopped really shooting what I love and I think that showed in my photos. So I went back to basics and literally put myself back in my work by taking numerous self portraits.
It worked. I could experiment freely without worrying if i’m making sense to a model with what i’m asking them to do and I could just leap straight in and get the shot in my head. I don’t believe i’ll ever be able to look at any of my photos and think i’ve finally captured what I was looking for, woohoo the gaping hole in my existance is filled, being unsatisfied with my work is what motivates me creatively to try harder. The day I am content with my work is the day i’ve given up as a photographer, which i’m not sure is possible.
I didn’t want to give a lecture and i’m not here to preach life lessons, it’s merely my opinion that I think it’s important to photograph what you love and put yourself into your work.
‘There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.’ ~Ansel Adams
And the viewer can tell if the photographer is missing.