Sophie Gray

UniversityFalmouth University

Graduation: 2015

Genre: Fine ArtDigital Art

Websitewww.sophie-gray.co.uk

Artist Statement:

InterferenceInterested in the coexistence of man and nature, this work initially focused on documenting spaces that showed evidence of this along the duration of a walk. Unimpressed with the results and frustrated by the limitations of a single photograph, the work began to take form as a digital manipulation. Creating my own interference, reflecting man’s physical intervention on the natural world.

The Poetics Of Space: An exploration of space, particularly that of my family home. Utilising photography's transformative powers and deconstructing a typical photograph to evoke ideas concerning memory, absence and presence.

 

From the series The Poetics Of Space

 

What are some standout moments from your time at university? Learning how to develop and scan my own film was definitely one of my favourites. It made my work so much more tangible as I was working with my images from start to finish. Also having the ability to travel to so many unusual places within Cornwall for shoots was brilliant; Falmouth is such a good base for travelling to different areas.

Which photographic genre do you consider your work to fall into? Somewhere in between Fine Art and some sort of Digital Art.

What themes do you find yourself exploring? I seem to explore the everyday, but also distorting what I have documented in some shape or form, whether that be in camera or digitally.

Can you talk us through the process of making your images for Interference? I initially wanted to document things I found interesting along the duration of a walk, but I was unsatisfied with the results and wanted something more powerful out of the photographs. I started out making a sort of collage with elements of the photographs, but this still wasn’t what I was looking for. Then I experimented with a process I’d used in my second year of study called Pixel Sorting. This process basically reorganises the pixels in a photograph by using algorithms, which produces the paint like dripping effect on the photographs.

From the series Interference

From the series Interference

Have you manipulated some images more than others to show man's interference stronger in some locations? I can see why that would be thought, it wasn’t actually intentional but it works well when you consider how Cornwall has been transformed, especially in Falmouth which was a once sleepy seaside town and now has thousands of students living there.

Where did you make this work? Was your location important to the final outcome? The work was mainly created in Falmouth, where I was studying. I liked the idea that Falmouth was once this sleepy seaside town, and then thousands of students descended on it and transformed it, even though it wasn’t intentional I feel as though my work picks up on this. Additionally, I think it was quite important for me on a personal level; it acts as a nice conclusion to my time at university as from looking at them I can recall the trips I went on and things I saw whilst exploring Cornwall.

Images from the series Interference

Images from the series Interference

Did Gaston Bachelard's, The Poetics of Space, influence you when making your series, The Poetics Of Space? If so, how? Yes it did, the book was suggested to me in one of my tutorials half way through working on it. After reading excerpts my work make sense to me; the idea of the home being the place where most of our memories are housed. I think I felt a sense of displacement; especially spending large chunks of time in Cornwall, I essentially had two homes. I wanted the work to evoke a feeling of recollection of certain memories in my mind by playing with the focus of the photographs.

Do the parts of the house you've photographed hold important connections to yourself? If so, can you describe one of them for us? Yes, as they are a combination of the house where I grew up, and then my Grandparents’ home. I feel the two hold the most memories for myself when I was younger, the little details in some of them, especially the lights and textures of fabrics feel so evocative to me. The photograph of the stairs is probably the most loaded for me, as I have many memories of playing on those stairs with my cousins on Saturday afternoons.

 
From the series The Poetics Of Space

From the series The Poetics Of Space

 

Combine these two bodies of work together, what have you learnt? That I like photographing places! There’s definitely a connection between the two. Photographing spaces I’ve lived in, have memories and experiences in, and then presenting them in an unusual way to create something new.

Would you ever create a similar body of work in a different location? Yeah, I've definitely thought about it, as the style of my work can be applied to anywhere. I think there is potential to create a quite interesting collection of images of the places I've lived in/been to, which could show similarities and differences between them all.

Images from the series The Poetics Of Space

Images from the series The Poetics Of Space

Your work is very sentimental and personal, would you say this is what photography is about to you and is this why you make images? Definitely, it's never really been intentional to focus on more personal projects but it has been a consistent theme throughout my work so far. I think it's because it's something close to me the subject matter comes more naturally and I (and hopefully others too) find the work more engaging that way. 

What are your future plans, photographic or otherwise? I wish I knew! I'd love to work in the photography world in some shape or form, it's just so hard to get on the ladder/be willing to work for free for 6 months. I'd also love to go travelling, and creating some new work along the way would be the dream.