“In this year of unprecedented struggle, the message of hope, courage, reflection and resilience is now more important than ever.”
I’m very pleased and proud to have been shortlisted for the British Journal of Photography‘s Portrait of Humanity Award for this portrait of girls from London’s Womanhood Academy. Run by a passionate collective of volunteers all of African descent, the Womanhood Academy is a community youth group supporting the personal growth and empowerment of young women and girls. Their motto, Nurture A Girl, Raise A Nation.
Massive thanks to Peaches Cadogan and team at Womanhood Academy, and Aundrieux Sankofa and team at Manhood Academy, it was an absolute pleasure spending time with you all. Thanks also to the great editorial team : writer Sheryl Garratt, art director Jo Bell, photography assistant Julie Stewart, and the team at Perfect Bound magazine.
All shortlisted images will be featured in the accompanying book Portrait of Humanity Vol 3 published by Hoxton Mini Press. The judging panel were Kerri McDonald, picture editor New York Times; Sunyoung Kim, curator Museum of Photography, Seoul; Michael Weir, creative producer Belfast Photo Fest; Akinbode Akinbiyi, curator & photographer; and Elias Redstone, artistic director PHOTO 2021, Melbourne.
New fashion story starring Erika Pattison at Select Models, London
Fashion editor – Jo Atkinson, makeup & hair artist – Britte Dicke at Carol Hayes Management, digital operator – Gemma Gravett, lighting assistant & behind-the-scenes photography – Julie Stewart, production – Karina Dial.
Photography by Wendy Carrig (new website) represented by A&R Creative Agency
Photographed adhering to AOP and APA guidelines in respect of Government advice on working during the Covid19 pandemic. This basically meant wearing masks throughout the shoot, social distancing, separate lunch areas, windows open (and dressing with extra layers as there was snow outside), and using loads of hand gel. On the technical side we used a back-up MacBookPro as a second monitor to enable distance viewing by the glam team.
The continuing story of the grey dress. The same dress, a charity shop purchase, worn again, and again. I have been photographing this dress for ten years and I want to know more about it’s origin. I want to know #whomademyfabric and #whomademyclothes? If you have any advice on how I can achieve this, please message me. I would love to hear from you.
The continuing story of the grey dress. The same dress, a charity shop purchase, worn again and again. Refashioned by each of it’s different wearers. 100% cotton, but where was the cotton grown? How was it harvested? #Traceability I have been photographing the Grey Dress for ten years and now I want to know more about it’s origin. I am going to become detective and see how far back along the chain I can go in finding out #whomademyclothes?
Self-Portrait is the latest group exhibition from f22 photographers, with images selected by guest curator Jaki Jo Hannan, founder of Equal Lens. The exhibition is part of a wider celebration of International Women’s Day and all images can be seen here until 31st March.
This image was originally included in a fashion editorial titled The Searchers published in Perfect Bound magazine, and photographed on the inspiring Lidham Hill Farm estate in Kent, courtesy of Jo at Farm Locations.
I love the genuine emotion in this picture of model Kate Groombridge with her sons, Kate showering her boys with love and they feeling safe in her embrace under the wings of her coat. The picture has been selected for HOPE the latest group photography exhibition from the AOP which opens today and can be viewed here. I especially recommend viewing the short film by Catherine Losing, a compelling story of her family’s journey.
Exhibiting photographers have also been asked five questions :
When did you first pick up a camera and what did you point it at? I was ten and photographed my parents on a family day out at the seaside. I wanted to know how it would feel to hold the camera and press the shutter, and perhaps more importantly I had begun to realise the importance of documenting a chosen moment.
What inspires you? My inspirations constantly change. Today they are most definitely family, friends, faces, love, light, scent, touch, emotion, laughter, a secret path, big sky, trees, the sea, changing seasons, setting sun, dawn, the past, the future.
What’s been your favourite location for a shoot? Iceland and Dungeness.
If you had a time machine what advice would you give to your younger self ? Just do it, there is more than you could ever imagine.
Which of the AOP benefits are most valuable to you? Friendship, especially with the fabulous women of the f22.
This picture is part of a series titled Heartland that I worked on with a wonderful team of creatives who all volunteer their time and creativity to producing personal projects. My thanks to art director Jo Bell, makeup and hair artist Lizzie Court, fashion stylist Maria Francolini, my assistant and forever birthday girl JulieStewart and the forever young Kate Groombridge and family. The pictures were published in FY magazine and you can view all images from the original story here.
To accompany the opening of Actions of Art and Solidarity at the Kunstnernes Hus Norway this week, the curatorial team at the Office for Contemporary Art, Norway invited participating artists to contribute suggestions for a protestplaylist:
Get Up, Stand Up – Bob Marley and the Wailers, Respect – Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On, Ku Klux Klan& Handsworth Revolution– Steel Pulse, and Beyonce – Run the World (Girls). Listen to these and more here.
“…includes works by both national and international artists operating in the name of cultural, socio-political and environmental solidarity across various geographies and contexts…”
I am of course disappointed that I can’t be in Norway for the opening events, but I am hoping that I may get to see the exhibition [and meet the team] at the Kunstnernes Hus before it closes on March 21st. My sincere thanks to Katya Garcia-Anton, director and chief curator at OCA; Elsa Itzel Archundia Esquivel; Liv Brissach; also Astrid Vostermans the contemporary art publisher and founder of Valiz who is publishing the accompanying reader.
“Solidarity has re-entered the global zeitgeist with resounding force in the last decade. It has driven new thinking focused on countering systemic failures and outright abuses related to climate, economy, surveillance, health, gender and race amongst other issues. Actions of Art and Solidarity considers the central role that artists play within this historical shift in the new millenium, drawing parallels to synergic cases of the twentiethcentury.“
A big thank you to all the wonderful teams I had the pleasure of working with in the extraordinary year that was 2020. I know 2021 is already proving to be a challenge, but you can’t dampen the creative spirit and I believe passion and positivity will help see us through.
Wishing you a healthy, happy, and truly inspirational new year.
Picture montage from my 2020 #bestnine on Instagram :
Behind the scenes from my first post-lockdown photoshoot, portrait by Gemma Gravett
I received GOLD for my series on Ocean Plastics at #aopawards2020
Six of my images have been chosen for this ‘people’s choice’ exhibition – many, many thanks to everyone who liked and left comments. All 58 images created by 28 photographers can be viewed here from today until 21st January.
I loved meeting and working with Dawn French. I have been a fan since her and Jennifer Saunders first appeared in The Comic Book Presents back in the eighties. A fabulous pioneering funny woman, talented actor, writer and author. Catch her this Christmas as Beatrix Potter, and in a timely revival of the Vicar Of Dibley (in lockdown). Laughter really is the best medicine ; )
The good people at adam&eveDDB have created an online Art Auction to raise funds for The Avenues Youth Project a North London Youth Club offering fun out-of-school activities for young people. The auction brief asked for work which focuses on championing diversity and the stories of people of colour.
Click here to view [and bid on] exciting photography and art by a diverse group of creatives – look out for my personal favourite, Stay at Home by collage artist Anna Bu Kliewer – and help raise funds for a great group of kids at The Avenues.
The continuing story of the grey dress – the same dress worn again and again. Found at the back of the Pilgrims Hospice Charity Shop, New Romney, Kent. #ongoingproject #sustainablefashion #reducereuserecycle #clothestheloop
I am completely honored, and more than excited, to be the featured artist of the current Photo London magazine. Previous artists include Sarah Moon and Stephen Shore, both of whom are personal photography heroes.
MANY THANKS TO ANOTHER PRODUCTION FOR THIS INTERVIEW I MADE WITH THEM, IN RESPONSE TO THEIR MENTORSHIP PROGRAMME FOR FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHY GRADUATES
How long have you worked as a photographer, and what is your particular area of expertise?
– I set up my business at the beginning of the nineties so, wow, thirty years, something to celebrate!
– I am known for photographing people, and this crosses over multi genres.
What assumptions (if any) have you had to deal with in your career?
– I began my career working for teen magazines where I received countless commissions (including many international assignments) mainly from female fashion & beauty editors. They had no assumptions and gave me equal opportunity.
– In the past, assumptions were generally made by businesses that had a predominantly male workforce. e.g. Traditional photographic suppliers often made the assumption I was an assistant photographer, purchasing on behalf of a male photographer.
Do you feel in the minority as a female photographer?
– No, but there are still many occasions when someone onset will say “oh, it’s an all female team today,” or “hey, girlpower” or whatever. But I’ve spent most of my career on all female teams, and that seems usual to me. So the fact it seems unusual to others shows that women photographers are still in the minority.
Do you think much has changed for women in the industry since you started?
– When I first started there were very few women working as commercial photographers. Apparently female photographers now make up about 25% of commercial photographers, which is great! However recent research shows that female photographers aren’t being commissioned as often as male photographers. There is a worrying statistic that female photographers only receive 2% of advertising commissions! If this is true, then most advertising is seen through the #malegaze which is a massive problem.
Do you feel you’ve had the opportunity to use your full potential?
Hmm, that’s an interesting question.
– If women photographers aren’t being offered as many commissions as male photographers, then maybe this question should be posed to the commissioners : Do commissioners feel they have given women photographers opportunity to use their full potential? Do commissioners feel they have had opportunity to respond to the consumer using the full potential of the #femalegaze?
Have you had a Mentor? Do you think there is value in mentorship?
– As a photographer’s assistant I had a full-time job for three years with a highly regarded photographer, so I guess everyday I was being mentored. Not just on the technical side of photography, but also the business of photography, the actual practice of being on set, problem solving, managing teams, and understanding light; and once I began producing my own test shots I would look to my ‘mentor’ to critique my photography.
– Recently I have become a mentor to student photographers. It’s something I really enjoy and find hugely rewarding.
How do you feel about the future for female photographers?
– Women generally have to work harder to get noticed in most industries and photography is no exception. If you have learnt your trade, if you are technically competent, have creative ideas, and can problem solve under pressure, then the future is yours.
What’s your dream gig? Have you landed it yet?
– I have had some great and crazy experiences throughout my career. I’ve been sent on assignments from India to Iceland, Bali to Brazil. On my first trip to LA I arrived in the middle of the infamous Rodney King Riots and escaped curfew to photograph Angelina Jolie dancing against the infinite horizons of the Mojave Desert. After a rocky start to a job in Rio, where I’d been let down by local assistants, I went on to photograph the statue of Christ the Redeemer from a helicopter – the pilot gave me an extra harness then removed the cabin door so I could get a better shot! An inspiring career highlight in so many ways.
– So you can’t plan for your dream gig, it just happens. It’s when all the elements come together in a perfect storm and you know in that split second you have something special and you know how to use your camera to capture the story, the emotion. That’s when the magic of photography happens.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself if you were just starting out?
– Take time to pause and check on the direction your career is taking you.
– Listen to advice, but know what is worthy of action.
– Critique your work regularly and aim to produce a new folio each year.
– Create an efficient filing system from the word go – know how to easily access any of your images.
– Take care of your archive, your past can also become your future.
Do you have any confidence tips to share with students questioning whether or not they are cut out to pursue a career in the industry?
– I’ve mentioned this before, but you can’t go wrong with this check list – perseverance, preparation, process, productivity, passion. You could also include projects and professionalism.
– Ask yourself, do you want to be a photographer, or do you want to create work using photography? Photography and picture making come first, you can’t call yourself a photographer without doing the work.
– Working for yourself requires dedication, self-discipline, and when starting out you need to be able to support yourself financially. How are you going to make money? Do the maths.
– Do you have strong ideas, do you have stories you want to tell, messages you want to get across? Do you have the passion to create new photography?
– Then take photographs everyday, discover what you like, what you are good at.
– Make it happen!
In light of Covid, what insights or advice could you give for those starting out and looking to establish themselves under these circumstances?
– Get to know as much about the industry as possible.
– Know who you are – photographer or assistant – and pitch yourself correctly and accurately.
– Join a professional organisation like the Association of Photographers(AOP). They have been incredibly supportive to their members throughout the pandemic, and have recently formed f22– women photographers at the AOP.
– Establish your work and name by entering photography awards, attending online workshops and seminars.
– Establish your online presence. Keep your Instagram account up to date and invest in a decent practical website. LinkedIn is also very good for business networking.
– Connectivity is really important. Don’t be alone.
– Keep taking pictures. Keep thinking, planning and creating.
And building on our belief in women supporting women, are there any female photographers whose work you think we/people should see?
It would be unfair of me to create a list – there are so many excellent female photographers, do check them out at Equal Lens, f22, HundredHeroines and WOMEN PHOTOGRAPH. But I would like to mention Kirsty Mackay and Suki Dhanda. Both these women assisted me back in the nineties, and have since gone on to forge successful careers in their own unique photographic styles. My heartfelt thanks to them, and all the women I have worked with over the years. Mentoring is a two way exchange.
I created these images, part of a larger series, to highlight the overwhelming quantities of discarded plastics that are polluting and choking our oceans. I hope exposure surrounding the AOP awards will help highlight the issue, and I am pleased to see there is already coverage on the BBC website and in today’s Guardian.
Meanwhile my thanks to Art Buyer & Creative Producer Kathy Howes who judged the Still Life & Object category and chose my series, and Creative Director Geoff Waring for encouraging me to explore my ideas in still life. As photographers we generally and naturally fall into shooting a particular genre. I am known for photographing people and therefore feel a greater achievement to have my work appreciated across genres.
On a final note, apparently I am the first woman to be a two times recipient of an AOP gold, which makes me extra proud.