INTERVIEW: GRACE EDITH SMITH (PHOTOGRAPHER AND CURATOR)

FFO: INCREDIBLY INTERESTING CONCEPT DRIVEN PHOTOGRAPHY WORK PAIRED WITH A CREATIVE + RATHER UNCONVENTIONAL STYLE OF CURATION!

 

Who are you and where are you currently based?

I’m Grace Edith Smith (Edith Photography), I’m based in both London and Leeds.

 

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All images are taken by Grace Edith Smith

 

What is your current photographic work about?

My current photographic work looks into a theory called ‘Bedroom Culture’, which suggests that females are less likely to be involved in crime as they tend to spend more time in their bedrooms. The theory believes this is because bedrooms are viewed as a place of self-expression and safety. This theory really fascinated me when I was writing my dissertation, so I have decided to develop it further. I’m currently photographing females in their bedrooms, along with gay males and drag queens. I decided to photograph gay males and drag queens as I feel they too would fit into this theory, as their rooms would be a place of exploration into their own identity.

 

Do these images intend to support or reject this theory in anyway? or does your imagery instead interpret the theory from an objective viewpoint?

My images to some degree support the theory that a female’s bedroom is a place of comfort; however, they take this notion further and explore the concept for other genders. The theory itself was first developed in the 60’s and perhaps as a product of its time, fails to identify other genders that possibly align with this theory. Gay men and men who want to further explore their identity through fashion and makeup in particular may also view their bedrooms as a safe place in a similar fashion, like the way they refer to women originally in the theory.

 

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All images are taken by Grace Edith Smith

 

What got you interested in photography and taking images?

Photography is to me what I think it is to everyone, a timeless art form. I’ve been interested in photography from a young age as my dad has always shown an interest in film and as he got older he switched to digital. I was also that kid who took a camera to a house party and that’s truly when I became obsessed with the idea of capturing a moment.

 

What motivates you as a photographer? What do you often want your images to communicate?

I’ve always been interested in photographing people, I like telling their story or portraying my own story through them. I did a project in my second year of university about the legalisation of medicinal marijuana. The project was about a woman whom I cared for who has Cerebral Palsy and uses the drug to help her live a happy and painless life. I had never considered myself a documentary photographer until that point. In terms of the future, I feel that I’d only continue to do documentary work based on whether I’m passionate about the cause.

And of course, my dog motivates me to take photos of him all the time.

 

Do you prefer shooting using any particular camera format? Or does anything go?

Anything goes.

 

 

 

What got you interested in curation?

I’ve never been confident in my technical ability as a photographer but I know I have an eye for creative direction and post production exhibition ideas, so I knew curation was the next step for my work. Curation to me is a brilliant way of working collaboratively with artists to create the best possible outcomes.

 

How would you describe your curatorial style/approach? How does it differ from other curators?

I love anything unconventional, interactive and generally a bit wacky. My style of curatorial work always tries to find a way to make the work stand out, from fabrics you can touch, to individual headsets to listen to one song whilst looking at a photo. I appreciate classic forms of curation; white walls, photos at eye level, but I feel photography doesn’t have to just be something to look at, the idea of making it interactive intrigues me.

 

Would you ever consider doing an MA in curatorial practice? Do you think doing a masters in this field is valuable?

Hell no! university is an incredible experience and I respect everyone willing to go on and do a masters, but for me personally I’m done with education.

 

Would you continue to create your own photography work alongside curating?

I definitely will continue to create photographic work but i’ll keep it as a hobby and not a career.

 

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All images are taken by Grace Edith Smith

 

 

Who are you inspired by?

The first photographer that I was truly inspired by was Lee Jefferies. He did a body of work looking into homelessness and still to this day his images are some of my favourite pieces of work. I’m also really inspired by Vicky Grout, she is a contemporary photographer who is really big in the underground music scene.

 

What are your future aspirations?

I’d love to be a part of Foam in Amsterdam as I love their style of curation and I’m subscribed to their magazine, which I can’t recommend enough. My dream job would be working there as part of the curation team, but in truth I’d even take a job there working in the café.

 

What advice would you give to young photographers today?

Give it your best shot, and at the end of the day your family will always lie and say its great.

 

What advice would you offer to anyone wanting to get into curation?

Find a place that will hold an exhibition for free and go for it.

You can follow Grace’s work via her instagram!

 

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