University: Arts University Bournemouth
Artist Statement: Volunteers are present in every area of society, yet their contributions largely go unacknowledged.
My work is the outcome of my engagement with a number of charities and organisations that rely heavily on the time volunteers provide to support their community and the environment.
Each individual has their own particular reasons for committing and I aimed to provide an insight into the chosen lifestyle of these ‘hidden’ members of the community. I have chosen to document a combination of staged and brief encounters with the volunteers whilst they were engaged in a moment of reflection.
What are some standout moments from your time at university? It has to be how, as a year group as well as the tutors, techs and all contributors, pulled together over 10 months to raise an astonishing amount of money for our grad show at The Old Truman Brewery. It was a sophisticated and inspiring show and I am proud of everyone.
Which photographic genre do you consider your work to fall into, and what themes do you find yourself exploring? Social documentary and portraiture. I work a lot within the landscape and the every day as I find that you can connect more with what you are familiar with.
Can you tell us about your blog; why did you start blogging, what do you think blogging brings to your work? I started my blog about a year and a half ago as I felt it was a document of my progression as a photographer and somewhere I can discuss my thoughts and difficulties in a less uniformed manner. Social media has become really big in the last few years and I think people really like to see what is going on behind the scenes, it is a place for things that you wouldn't show on your website which is where everything should be professionally displayed. I think it is important you show how you get to the outcome as well.
What projects are you working on at the moment? Right now I am just taking photos of things that I want to. Small concepts that I have come up with in my head that I want to shoot - beautiful pictures hopefully. I am discussing some ideas for a new project which is in the pipeline. I’ve got myself a Hasselblad and have now found a couple of places I can scan for free so it is great but leaving university means everything takes that much longer to develop as the facilities are not just on your doorstep anymore.
What’s the best thing about being a photographer? Making beautiful pictures, meeting amazing people, getting to know yourself as a person, being excited to go to work everyday.
What have you worked on since finishing university? I have moved to London and am now working as a photographers assistant alongside some amazing people. I get excited to go to work everyday and have learnt so much since leaving university to help me on my journey to become a professional photographer.
What inspired you to make The Somerset Levels? I used to live near Tewkesbury and every year we would have flooding so I started doing a small project there in my second year. I learnt so much about water management, The Environment Agency, rivers and so on that when the floods happened in 2014 I wanted to go and put all of what I had learnt into practice and in doing so met some amazing, brave and generous volunteers that helped shape this project.
Is this body of work finished or do you think you would extend it one day? It progressed into my project that I have included above called Volunteer. In the December the council cut all the funding for the volunteers and they had to stop even though there were many people not back in their houses. I couldn’t believe that these individuals had given up their jobs, social lives, families and more to help people that were less fortunate than themselves and I wanted to know why they did it. In doing so I branched out into other charities and organisations over the UK and found some more people who do the same.