FFO: A MASHUP OF FINE ART / FASHION INSPIRED BOLD + VIDID TABLEAU IMAGERY, INFLUENCED BY THE GREATS OF CINEMATOGRAPHY!
Who are you? Where are you currently based?
I’m a 21 year old fine art photographer, currently in the second year of my photography degree at Leeds Arts University. I’m based in the North/West Yorkshire.
What is your current photographic work about?
My latest project ‘Evidence’ combines the genres of fine art and fashion; merging tableau photography with block, vibrant colours and a dark cinematic edge. The project revolves around themes that occur before or during the crime taking place. My work often adopts feminist themes within it, specifically looking at how people deal with their perception of gender. All of my images are all completely different but they all seem to have a main female protagonist/ antagonist. Some have a male presence but they usually don’t end well. I like to challenge the idea of societal gender roles within my work. Narrative is important in my images as I like referencing films and storytelling, though I still like to keep the audience guessing.
Why do you find it important to include feminist themes throughout your work?
I think it’s just the way I grew up as all the female figures in my life are all really strong women; especially my mum, who didn’t want me to watch princess films as a child so I’d grow up to be more independent and less dependent on men. I do think that this influence on me was positive as it made me aware of female inequality from a young age. I have always fought for what I believe is right, so the feminist themes throughout my work promote most of these issues.
How do you source your models/subjects for your work?
I source my models generally from either advertising or social media; platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are great to connect with models and Make-up artists/ stylists. I have recently started sourcing aspiring actors from nearby collages that need experience, but I’m always on the lookout!
What got you interested in photography and taking images?
I have always been interested in art and creativity, however I bizarrely got into photography through my interest in film. Since a child I have always been captivated by film and they have massively inspired my photographic work. I love the contrast between bright cartoons and mature films such as Reservoir Dogs or Sin City; the sweet exterior with a bitter and twisted centre. This is something I tried to recreate in my series ‘Evidence’.
How has your practice developed through university? Have you found studying photography at a degree level to be beneficial for you?
I really struggled to see the benefits of a photography degree before I started but I honestly think it’s the best thing I have ever done. As well as finding myself as a photographer and realising what practices/ industry I want to work in I have also got to grips with equipment that is high end in the industry. I have learnt valuable lighting and programme techniques to suit any genre and benefitted with the access to a lot of support. I highly recommend a photography degree to anyone considering it!
Who are you inspired by?
As I said previously one of my biggest inspirations is cinema; some of favourite directors are Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson and Stanley Kubrick. Although they are all different in style their cinematography and choice of elements makes their films individual, which really inspire me to be creative and experimental. As well as film there are many photographers that inspire me; my biggest being the Tableau photographer Gregory Crewdson; who combines cinema, photography and story-telling. Another photographer that inspired my series ‘Evidence’ was Miles Aldridge, who utilises bright colours to build surreal fashion scenes.
As you’re greatly inspired by films have you ever tried to create your own film or moving image piece? If not, would you ever like to do this?
Yeah I would love to experiment and dive into the world of film; working as a cinematographer would be a dream! I am actually currently working on a short moving image piece inspired by the works of Alex Prager and around the theme of isolation in the city.
Got any ideas for future projects?
I’m currently working on a few. This week I finished one based loosely around the film Blue Velvet (it’s up on my Instagram if anyone is curious). I’m also working on an exciting project that explores and plays with the perception of the female gender, recreating moments throughout history and swapping the genders to play with how the audience perceives gender. I’m also going to reference periods of time throughout history when females were oppressed using styling, clothing and make-up, so I’m really excited to start shooting that soon!
What are your future aspirations?
In the future I hope to be a practitioner and mix genres with my favourite genre tableau. Being a fine art photographer doesn’t give you the same narrow line of work as say fashion or commercial; although tableau can be converted to suit almost every brief within a genre, as well as with events photography.
What’s your intended future plans for when you finish university?
I would love to use my unique style in the industry within fashion and commercial practices, as well as adding drama within commissioned projects. I would also love the opportunity to work in film; either being a cinematographer or a director of photography would be amazing! However I really want continue to work in my spare time on my fine art practices as this is what I’m most passionate about in order to tell stories in stills and experimenting with this.
What advice would you recommend to young photographers today?
I would probably advise them to take as many photos as possible and produce work constantly, as this usually sparks more ideas and creativity. Also try and really immerse yourself in the photography you love, as that’s when you will excel.
You can keep up with Caitlin’s work via her Instagram!