ELLIE RICKARD

University: Arts University Bournemouth

Graduation: 2014

GenreFine ArtPortraiture

Website: www.eleanorrickard.co.uk

Artist Statement: I work in a variety of mediums, utilising both digital and analogue techniques. I am very interested in narrative photography, and try to convey this through my work, which covers a range of genres such as portraiture, travel and landscape. Fictive documentary features heavily in my later work; creating mythological narratives that blur the lines between fact and creation. 

Incognizant Statement: This ongoing project looks to investigate body language and facial expressions in those who think they are unobserved. Chance encounters with strangers are rarely imprinted on the conscious mind - the work was born out of an instinct to try and preserve these encounters through the photographic medium. The voyeuristic element in the work is transposed by the lack of awareness running through the subject. Drawing with light enables the instant capture of such a fleeting moment; a strangers's gaze, or the temporary pose of a family member. 

 
 From the series  Incognizant

From the series Incognizant

 

What are some standout moments from your time at university? One of the standout moments of university was our final degree show. It was held in London, in the Bargehouse gallery, and I really felt everyones hard work came together perfectly to make a really unified and impressive show. 

Which photographic genre do you consider your work to fall into, and what themes do you find yourself exploring? My work tends to be pretty varied in terms of genre. I love to travel, and portraiture is an interest of mine, so whenever I travel I tend to look at the human interest side of a place. I have also worked on projects within the genre of fictive documentary, which involves producing documentary photography based on a narrative construct. Such narrative styles are universally accepted in the worlds of literature and cinema, yet are still relatively new within photography. 

 
  From the series    Incognizant

From the series Incognizant

 

Who or what visually and theoretically inspires your work? Visually, I am very influenced by Joan Fontcuberta, the Spanish conceptual artist. His work blends fake historical accounts, fantastical images and humorous writings to create art which, I feel, questions our notions of truth. Conceptually, I am an avid reader and find inspiration in the works of authors such as Margaret Atwood and George Orwell. I feel that photography, more than other art forms, can be taken as fact on face value. I am influenced by work that aims to question this; aesthetically, Daniel Shea.

Are you making any new work at the moment? I have just travelled to India, where I was working on a series of portraits. I used analogue for these images, so I am just in the development and editing process.

 Images from the series  Chehara

Images from the series Chehara

What are your aspirations for the future? Where do you see your work taking you next? In the future, I would like to carry on making work that challenges me, and I intend to produce another photo book. I hope to do some more travelling and analogue experimentation.

What encouraged you to use film during your trip to India? And what do you enjoy most about analogue processes? The reasons I decided to use analogue were mainly because I enjoy the visceral nature of film, and I like the slightly subjective effect it creates. Sometimes digital is slightly too realistic for me!

You mentioned that you visited India to make some portraits. Was this a self funded trip for you to make some new work? Do you think you’ll go back? Yes, it was a self funded trip to see the country and also to make new work. India has so many amazing photographic opportunities it would be difficult not to be visually inspired. I'm hoping to go to Burma next but I would love to go back and see more of India, especially the Northern regions.

How did you go about making the images for Incognizant? Is it difficult capturing those quick facial expressions on camera? Incognizant was quite difficult to make; I had to be very quick with my camera. I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, and it was a bit easier taking images through the windows of public transport as the subjects were distracted, and there was a slight barrier between us. 

  Images from the serie  s   Incognizant

Images from the series Incognizant

Is this work finished or do you think this is the series you’d like to make into a book? Yes, I'd love to make it into a book, and I am definitely going to carry on with it. The other photographs were shot in Lisbon, so I'd like to find cities that have a similar feel and photograph their inhabitants. 

Where are some other places in the world you’d like to visit and make more work? Burma is somewhere I'd really like to go and take photographs, especially as it's still relatively undiscovered. There are also some amazing remote locations in Australia that would be incredible to shoot some more fictive documentary.