I had the pleasure of asking the amazingly talented Rosie Anne some questions….
- Tell us a bit about yourself…
I grew up with a very rural background on a farm in the Black Mountains in Wales. The farmhouse in which I grew up has been in my family for a good century or so. Since the time I’ve been alive I have seen the place change and grow, particular family members have moved on with it. It’s a strange thing because although I have a deep attachment to my home, it’s also the one thing that haunts me, which in turn has had a great influence on my work.
2. Did you study photography or are you self-taught?
I am self-taught.
3. What is the appeal of photography?
Photography allows me to project my feelings, thoughts, dreams and put them into solid form; something I can hold. It’s a way of feeling like I have a place in a world that I have created; a way of marking my existence. I mean that on a personal level, a way for me to see myself and know that I was there… in one shape or form to the next.
4. What camera do you use? Is it important to have a good camera?
I use a 5D Mark3; and definitely not. Before owning the Mark3, after being fortunate to afford it after winning a competition, I owned the 60D, and before that the 400D. It’s not the camera that holds the imagination, its just a tool for the imagination to project itself through. I’d recommend getting a decent lens over an expensive camera. Saying that, the Mark3 is a beautiful camera, its main appeal for me is having such a wide ISO range and it’s ability to operate in low light conditions, which I often work in.
5. Is there anything you don’t like about being a photographer?
Yes, people who expect me to take photos for them for free disregarding my self-worth as a photographer. Sometimes people expect me to take general portraits for them since I own a camera and not because they appreciate my particular creative voice.
6. Who or what inspires you?
Rural life; the place in which I grew up; the idea of home; abandoned/forgotten places that used to hold life. I also really love nature, and love walking in the hills around where I live which I feel is a constant source of inspiration.
7. How do you come up with image concepts? Do you have a particular way of deciding how to compose an image such as drawing it out?
I should start drawing out my ideas! I have several empty sketch books laying about waiting to be used for such a thing. But no, every idea I think of is meticulously planned out over and over again in my head. Sometimes these ideas turn out completely different, and other times they come out just as I visualised; that’s all part of the fun/horror, I guess.
8. What kind of music do you like and does it influence your work?
I love all sorts of music. I’m pretty lucky to be surrounded by musically-orientated friends, and their music is just perfect in every way. I’m also listening to a lot of Orion Rigel Dommisse, CocoRosie and Nick Cave & Warren Ellis at the moment. If music does influence my work I’m pretty sure it’s subconscious.
9. If you had no restrictions on money, time, clothes, models and props, what would be your dream photo shoot?
I would go to The Haunted Hotel at Tequendama Fall, Colombia. (http://desertedplaces.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-haunted-hotel-at-tequendama-falls.html)
That place is just freakishly beautiful. I’d hope inside there would be an old grand piano with weeds crawling through it; huge floor-to-ceiling windows that when the light filters in all the dust particles would be illuminated; and a huge majestic staircase that spiralled all the way to the top; It would be all about the atmosphere.
10. If you could photograph anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
I would love to photograph Bieber, dead, his music just really offends my ears. I would also really love to photograph Tom Waits (alive), I think he would be a real character to photograph and would be totally up for trying out bizarre concepts and props, based on watching his music videos.
11. Do you think that there is such a thing as an original idea?
An original idea is a hard thing to distinguish because I don’t think it’s the idea that makes the work original, it’s the way the artist interprets that idea on an individual level and how they choose to execute it. I think there’s very few ideas that haven’t been done before because we are all part if the same consciousness whereby ideas are constantly being chewed up and regurgitated and ingested by somebody else. Everything I have produced I am pretty sure are pieces of one collective puzzle that I have rearranged and given it my own personal meaning and thought. Not trying to sound self-deprecating, I’m just aware that the only way one can make an idea original is to feed the idea with as much of your own personality as you can; to give it life from the soul within you.
12. Where is your favourite location to take images?
I love forgotten places; places that when you walk through you can feel the life it once had; whether that be a felled forest or an abandoned house. The Black Mountains have these places in abundance.
13. What is your favourite image you have taken?
This changes day-to-day, but “the weight of sentimentality” has always been a favourite; http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosieannephotography/6896939410/in/photostream
14. What percentage of your time is spent taking and editing images and what percentage of time is dedicated to marketing your work?
Not nearly enough time is spent marketing my work, especially as the internet is an amazing tool for online marketing; submitting to magazines, advertising on social networks, blogging sites etc. A huge percentage of my time is spent thinking/dreaming up photo ideas and I spend a lot of time editing in photoshop.
15. How important is imagination to you and your work?
It’s paramount; imagination is what makes my photos come alive. If I don’t feel anything when I look at my photos then obviously I haven’t fed the idea enough.
16. Do you think it is a good idea for a photographer to show behind the scenes footage of how the make/edit images or do you think that it can spoil their work?
Well I for one love watching other photographer’s behind the scenes, it can be a great way of learning and improving upon one’s own method of working. Some people argue that this takes the magic out of the final image, but I’d say it does the opposite and I think you really begin to appreciate just how much work goes in to creating an image, from start to finish.
However, when it comes to the post-production, I appreciate the fact that everything I have learnt thus far is from trial and error. As much as I’d love to know how some photographers achieve the aesthetics of an image, it is more important in terms of my personal growth as a photographer to reach those goals on my own.
17. Can anyone be a photographer?
Yes, anyone can be a photographer but I don’t think all photographers are artists. I’d favour imagination and meaning over technical brilliance in a photograph any day.
18. On average, how long do you take post processing an image and do you use any particular process?
It can be anywhere between 2 – 9 hours.. depending on the complexity of the image and whether I’m expanding upon the original image. I don’t have a particular process; just lots of layering and RGB curves.
19. If you could have a free print of any photographers work, what image would you choose?
Not that I would ever ask for a free print of anyones work, but Maria Sardari’s “Terrestrial Connections” is one of my all time favourites.
20. Are there any particular photographers that you would recommend to be featured on this blog?
There are loads of photographers out there who could be recommended. Sparrek is a photographer who constantly amazes me.
21. Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?
I can only reiterate the advice I have heard from other artists/photographers down the line; everything you produce is valid, it’s important not to think otherwise. Don’t be afraid to express what others are too afraid to. Try not to worry of being ‘wrong’, because this where true orginality is born. Be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them, if something doesn’t turn out the way you hoped then address why it went wrong and try again.
Also, my own personal favourites; Don’t go to the forest on your own in the dying light to wrap ribbon around your head, nothing good can come of it. As cool a photograph you think it could make, bindweed is mildly poisonous and again shouldn’t be wrapped around your head or come into contact with your mouth (it really does taste foul). Smoke bombs are a really good way of turning any boring room/location into a surreal and mysterious space. Finally, don’t shy away from a shoot deemed too dangerous or a location known to be infected with leeches – that’s what models are for.
To see Rosie Anne’s photography, take a look at her Facebook page: