My Photography: 2012-2015 | Alice Red

Hi everyone, today I’m going to finally be
doing a video about my photography and I know that this has been a long time coming… but,
as a lot of you will know already, I had a huge creative block after my Master’s Degree
was over and I kind of wanted to wait until that had passed before I made a video talking
about my work. And I think we’ve kind of got to that point now, so here we go! So I’ve been taking photographs since I was
about seventeen, I started when I was in Sixth Form college. At the time, I was doing Art
& Design, and I took photographs so that I would have something to paint when I was in
my Art lessons. Even back then, when my photographs were nowhere near the standard that they are
now, everyone was always very drawn to my photographs and they actually complimented
me more for my photographs than for the paintings I was creating from them. And that’s kind of what made me think that
maybe I should focus on my photography for a while… no pun intended. Now most of the work that I’m going to be
talking about is going to be for the last three years or so, because otherwise we’re
going to be here for a really long time y’know – I have made a lot of work. Another reason that I only want to talk about
the last three years of my studying is because that was when I started to specialise in self-portraiture. If you’ve seen my Depression video then you’ll
already know this bit, but on the last year of my Bachelor’s Degree I did have moderate
to severe Depression. And leaving the house suddenly became quite difficult for me. But
my degree was very important to me and I knew that it was essential that I kept producing
work, even though I couldn’t really leave the house as much as I would have liked. So
that’s when I turned the camera on myself, because I was really the only thing that was
around. So I would take photographs of myself against
a plain wall. They were fine, but I wanted to do something with them as they were printed
out. I put a print of the photograph in a photocopier, and I printed it out on really
cheap crappy A4 paper. And then I’d get that cheap photocopy, put that back in the photocopier,
and get a photocopy of that, and then I’d copy that photocopy… and then I’d photocopy
that photocopy… and I’d just keep going and going and going, and eventually the ink
in my printer ran out… but I would just keep going, and I would get these weird kind
of lines on the images and it would get really grainy, and I would loose loads of detail
but I would just keep going until I got a blank piece of paper. And by the end of it I think I had about a
hundred photographs, kind of different poses, varying degrees of decay. And I had the prints,
and I thought they worked quite well as prints but I wanted to try something a little bit
different, so what I did was I put all the pictures in the scanner, and I scanned every
single one of these hundred or so frames, and I plopped them all together, and made
this kind of jerky stop motion animation. And looking back on it now, I know that it
was a very clear cry for help… y’know, I was suffering. But even though my work was
about something quite sad in a way, I still really enjoyed making self portraits. So after the Bachelor’s Degree ended, I started
my Master’s Degree, and I was still very interested in self portraiture. I almost didn’t want
to look like myself I kind of wanted to be unrecognisable in the work. I didn’t really
intend for this to happen but there was a bit of a horror theme emerging in my practice
at this point. I wasn’t really aware that it was happening until people started to point
it out to me if I’m honest, and I suppose that a lot of my suffering was coming out
in my art and I think that made the people on my course a bit uncomfortable. I don’t
really blame them if it did to be honest, because I might have been uncomfortable if
it was someone else. But there certainly was quite a bit of darkness going on in there. So I realised on the second year of my Master’s
Degree that my work has always been about Depression in some way, shape or form, even
in the days before I was diagnosed, even before I knew that I had it, my work has always been
about Depression – it’s always been about expressing something within me that I can’t
say in words. After that, I completely re-wrote my project
brief, I decided that I was going to do something a little bit different. I was still going
to do self-portraiture, but I was going to do something in a very different way. I wasn’t
going to point the camera at myself whenever I felt like it, I was going to do something
very staged, and I was going to do something very planned, that was there for a reason. And that was when I made a project called
The Duplicate. This was my Final Major Project on my Master’s Degree. I wanted to show what
Depression would look like as a physical form, that is the whole point of the project. So
for me Depression has always been a very invisible illness, it’s something that a lot of people
around me haven’t really picked up on that I have. And I wanted to see what it would
look like if Depression was a person, and it could talk to the person it inhabited.
What would that relationship look like? What would those conversations look like? What
would the power struggle look like? That’s what I wanted to explore, and that’s what
the project was about. Every time I did a shoot there would maybe
be two or three final pieces that would emerge from that shoot, but just like all the stuff
that I’d done earlier there were a good couple of hundred unused photographs. And when I
told the other people on my course about my process and about how I created the work,
they were all very interested in the couple of hundred unused images, and I think my tutor
was the one who said that I should do something with them and make them part of the work as
well. So that’s when I thought about stop motion animation again. At this point, I’d never used Final Cut Pro
before but it was given to me by the university, so I started to experiment with it and dabble
around, and I had to teach myself how to use it but after a couple of months I learned
how to cut all the photographs together and make a very strange stop motion animation
with all the unused photographs. So I think the last photoshoot that I did for The Duplicate
was about June 2014? And then we were getting ready for our exhibition, and we had to write
our final essay, and then the course ended in October 2014. And after that, I felt completely burned out.
I spoke about this in my Depression video as well but I had really lost my passion for
photography just as a very bitter side effect of my illness. I just could not make work
after the course had ended, I was just sick of it. I was sick of making art. So while
I just didn’t make any art at all. Now, of course I was doing my photography
for my blog, and I started this Youtube channel in February 2015 as well, but obviously it
goes without saying they are very, very different things. Even though they are using the same
camera and they both feature me, and they’re both probably quite personal, they are very
different. And for a while doing this and doing my blog was all I really wanted to do,
and that lasted until October. So that’s… maybe nearly a year and half where I didn’t
want to make any art, that’s kind of how burned out I was. At the end of October, I did do a photoshoot.
Basically, I had found some slides of clouds that I had taken in about 2012, so I would
have been about 22 at the time. And the slides to me represented my thoughts, and my ideas,
and my dreams of what I would be like now. And when I projected those slides on to a
wall and stood in front of them, that was about me confronting the dreams that I’d had
when I was 22, and kind of acknowledging that that hadn’t really happened. And it’s about
coming to terms with that, and it’s kind of about being ok with that. But a really interesting thing happened when
I was doing that shoot actually, I was monthly vlogging at the same time so I was filming
the entire shoot, and I had all this footage of me in between every single photograph just
looking up and down, maybe moving the lighting every now and again, and I got just as excited
by that footage as I did by the still images themselves. And that was the moment I realised
that I had spent a year and a half thinking that I’d lost a passion for photography, but
that wasn’t the case. What had actually happened was that I had gained a passion for video. And that’s a big summary of all my work, maybe
in a year or so I can do another video like this and just tell you about all any photographs
that I’ve done in that time or any film, video work that I’ve done. Let me know if you’d
like that. I know that a lot of you were really curious about my work so I hope that you enjoyed
this video. Don’t forget to subscribe if you’re new, and I will see you guys next time. Bye!

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