FFO: FEMME COLLECTIVES WITH A FOCUS ON PUBLISHING ZINES CELEBRATING WOMEN MUSICIANS + GRRRL POWER IN BIRMINGHAM!
Who are you and where are you currently based?
I am Bryony Williams and I am acting on behalf of my newly established female collective ‘GRRRL GROANNN’ – based in Wolverhampton/Birmingham.
How would you describe the photography and arts scene to anyone that’s not from Wolverhampton/Birmingham?
There’s actually lots going on all the time and I always kick myself for not having the time to go to all the events happening. I do need to explore it more but there’s a lot of creative people and a vibrant arts scene in Birmingham and surrounding areas. There’s a lot of potential and it’s great to see it running so organically.
What are the aims of GRRRL GROANN collective?
GRRRL GROANNN is about helping to circulate, celebrate, and promote the representation of female musicians. The photography involved captures live acts performing at gigs.
What inspired you what you to form GRRRL GROANNN?
Well, with being primarily a musician too I have always been drawn to music and all the connotations surrounding it. I’ve then tailored my university course around the music industries which has let me learn valuable insights into the business and how unfair it is in regards to gender, despite music being seen as liberal.
So, last Summer as part of a university module (Music Innovation), we were tasked with creating a product which causes disruption and innovation. This is when I became inspired by those around me (on Instagram and in music) and actually acknowledged that female collectives exist on a human level and that it would be brilliant to start my own. The task was only to come up with a business plan so you didn’t actually have to implement it, but… I did. And here we are! Initially established January 2018 and still being continuously inspired by every creative body around us.
So far, what’s GRRRL GROANNN’s biggest achievement to date?
Honestly, I’m so so impressed with myself for being able to wangle interviews with some amazing people already. To acknowledge that actually we can set up interviews and be personable yet professional and to hone in on those skills. One in particular interview moment was with Jen Cloher. She’s basically one of my music idols and she allowed us all the time in the world to sit backstage with her and chat with such sophistication and insight. So to think that people are putting their trust in a newly-established collective is super encouraging and admirable.
What have you currently got going on with the collective?
So far we are focusing on our run of zines. We intend to do 4 editions a year, documenting female musicians touring around Birmingham and the UK, and anyone on an international scale. We have just finished our first ever zine… ever! We’re about to launch it online and then to do a small run of physical prints and see where that goes!
…and we’re already onto creating the next one so if anybody fancies contributing… holla!
What got you interested in photography and taking images? and what is your current personal photographic work about?
Honestly, I simply like documenting what I see in other people and capturing their raw emotions. So to begin with street photography, protests, events were my thing. Then I got a bi-weekly gig photographing a damp music/club night in Digbeth called ‘Club L’amour’ which got me into photographing bands. Since then, I’ve continued to photograph in a particular grunge/black and white style and have now made them purposeful by using them to document female musicians/bands for GRRRL GROANNN.
Who are you inspired by?
What are your future goals for the collective? What would you like it to accomplish?
For GRRRL GROANNN to grow into a recognisable name. To produce quality content within our zine editions, create merch, to grow in terms of contributors, whether that be articles on feminism, the creative industries, or illustrations/designs – we’re open to ideas! Then, once established, for GRRRL GROANNN to host arts/music/culture events and to adapt into podcasts – interviewing creative females, with potential to act as an independent record label also (since I have a home studio and currently learning to produce – it would be great to be able to offer up-and-coming musicians a cheap way to get their music out there).
What advice would you recommend to young photographers today?
I would say to 1) know your camera/equipment inside out – it’ll make your life so much easier – especially when you’re intoxicated. 2) go with your gut and eye – you want to photograph it? Go for it. It’s your work if you follow your style and no one can take that away from you. 3) Don’t be disheartened or intimidated by other photographers work – this is about your journey, not theirs.
What future goals do you have concerning your own photography work? Would you ever consider a formal career in photography?
It might sound bizarre but a real goal of mine – in a professional context of career would be documentary photography under devastating circumstances, i.e. war/conflict photography for news outlets. To document raw tragedy and to show a narrative which otherwise wouldn’t be seen i.e. in third world countries without the technology or means to. But as an all-around thing, I suppose I’ll just be glad that my photography has potential to be used as an archive – whether that’s personal affiliation or music/performance related.
I did get offered an MA scholarship by Derby university at a Lost Generation art exhibit which was the first time my work has ever been physically displayed in public. That’s probably my most official bragging right in a professional context. But as flattering as that is… I don’t think it’s the right route for me.
What words of wisdom would you give to young people that want to form their own collective?
I would say that passion is everything. If you are truly infused with something, then there’s nothing stopping you. Before I started GRRRL GROANNN I contacted other collectives introducing the brand, our goals, and if they could offer any advise, and it was so nice getting encouraging responses back. It certainly gives you a better idea of your gut instinct and to trust your capabilities and motive. So, I would definitely say to make yourself known, reach out to people, introduce yourself and don’t be scared by anybody or to do anything because people admire what you’re doing – big or small. Then to simply do what you want! Nobody can shit on your dreams, or at least not everybody.