INTERVIEW: BETH KANE (PHOTOGRAPHER, CURATOR AND FOUNDER OF LOST GENERATION)

FFO: INTRIGUING INSIGHTS INTO EXISTING BRITISH YOUTH AND MUSIC SUBCULTURES SHOT ON FILM, DOCUMENTING BRUM’S THRIVING NORTHERN SOUL SCENE RIGHT NOW!  (AS WELL AS MENTIONS OF PHOTOGRAPHERS THAT ARE CURRENTLY KILLING IT WITHIN THE UK PHOTOGRAPHY SCENE THIS YEAR, AND FINALLY A SUBMISSION OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUR WORK TO BE FEATURED IN THE NEXT LOST GENERATION EXHIBITION)

… (possibly the longest intro written for DIY YOUTH yet, but there’s a lot to cover in this v cool and v exciting interview…)

 

Who are you and where are you based ?

Beth Kane, Birmingham.

 

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Image taken from the series All Because Of You: Northern Soul Portraits’ by Bethany Kane.

 

What is your current photographic work about?

I’ve just currently worked on a group exhibition titled Lost Generation with Ashley Rommelrath, Broth Tarn, Fletch, Leigh Harrison, Jamie Shipston, Sophie Wedgewood and myself that explores millennial youth culture and political animosity amongst young people and working class communities.

 

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Poster for the Lost Generation exhibition @ Tilt, Birmingham 11th-16th Aug 2017.

 

Within my own photographic work, I have always alternated between a medium format camera and 35mm point and shoot and generally seem to document music scenes that I am involved in or different environments that seem interesting to me. My recent work documented younger scene participants of Northern Soul has currently just been exhibited at mac Birmingham.

 

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Image taken from the series All Because Of You: Northern Soul Portraits’ by Bethany Kane.
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Image taken from the series All Because Of You: Northern Soul Portraits’ by Bethany Kane.

 

Did you initiate the collaboration between the photographers exhibiting at Lost Generation? What was/is your role within it?

I am Lost Generation’s everything person, from realising its concept to marketing to curating to installing. With Lost Generation’s first exhibition at TILT Birmingham, I handpicked some of my favourite artists whose work also fit the exhibition’s overall concept.

 

Did all the photographers exhibiting know of each other (and their work) before collaborating on the exhibition?

I went to university with Leigh Harrison and was introduced to Broth Tarn through Leigh’s exhibition People like Us at Doomed Gallery in 2015 (I think.) I connected with the other photographers through Instagram.

On Instagram there is a really strong presence of photographers who use medium format and 35mm point and shoot cameras to document parts of their lives, almost like an online community in itself. So I guess most of the exhibiting photographers are well aware of each others work.

As part of my research for university I want to show how Instagram as a platform can be used to connect creative individuals and provide such outcomes as Lost Generation.

 

What were the intensions of the Lost Generation exhibition? 

Lost Generation was something I wanted to do for a while as I really enjoy organising exhibitions. I wanted to put on something that wasn’t just my work but included some of my favourite contemporary photographers.

I wanted to bring new work to Birmingham and show the local art scene this other realm of photography that you do not normally see being exhibited here.

 

What got you interested into photography and taking images?

I have always loved art and at an early age was really inspired and taken back by the work of Gee Vaucher and Linder Sterling. I found their work through collecting punk records from car boots when I was just 13. I wanted to be just like them.

I wanted to do art in college after school however my parents didn’t think this was “sensible”, however I eventually swayed them into believing that photography was worthwhile. (I think I told them I wanted shoot weddings or something.)

 

Would you ever consider a “formal” career in photography? or would you prefer to just spend your free time photographing your own personal bodies of work?

I do work as a freelance for NME magazine and I really enjoyed it. I would love to do more work like this, which in turn could financially support my future personal bodies of work.

 

How did you find photographing young people within Birmingham’s Northern Soul Scene? And is there any reason you only photographed young people within that music scene, specifically also within Birmingham?

Most of the images within the project consist of my friends who I met
through attending events within the scene. The project came about from a small exhibition I had in Coventry that displayed my 35mm black and white images of my friends within the scene that I took when attending all-nighters myself.

After the exhibition BCU PhD student Sarah Raine who was researching young people
within the scene approached me and asked if we could collaborate and work on an image and text based exhibition. Birmingham was important as the younger scene was growing here due to the Night Owl opening; the UK’s first bar dedicated solely to Northern Soul.

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-03 at 13.58.40
Image taken from the series All Because Of You: Northern Soul Portraits’ by Bethany Kane.

 

Are there any music scenes you’re keen to document in the future within your practice?
I only tend to document scenes that I am involved in and therefore surrounded by it as I choose to attend such gigs and dos because I love it.

 

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Image taken from the series UK Oi! by Bethany Kane.
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Image taken from the series UK Oi! by Bethany Kane.
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Image taken from the series Subcultures and Music Scenes’ by Bethany Kane.

 

Who are you inspired by?

I really love the work that is coming out at the moment especially of those who have built up their own following through DIY zines, exhibitions and Instagram pages. Meanwhile and Snoar put out some great work too.

 

Are there any zines and/or exhibitions you’ve taken direct inspiration from recently?

Leigh Harrison’s Spare Time that he specially created for the Lost Generation exhibition in Birmingham.  Fletch’s It Might Never Happen published by Snoar Press. There is some great work featured in Loose London first self-titled zine too.

I am yet to buy from Blame Your Parents Press but they look great and right up my street!

 

What are your future aspirations?

I would like to organise and curate more group exhibitions and produce a few zines under the Lost Generation name. I have really enjoyed working with other photographers and creating this platform for us to all to enjoy and take what we will.

 

What advice would you recommend to young photographers today?

Never go outside without your camera.

 

Lost Generation is currently taking submissions for its second exhibition in Derby coming this October/November! If interested, send your photos to bethany-kane@outlook.com

 

You can keep up with both Bethany Kane’s work via her website and Instagram. You can also keep up with Lost Generation here.

 

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