THIS WEEK REDMILK LENS ARE SET ON TEENS. WE TOOK THE CHANCE TO INTERVIEW A YOUNG TALENTED PHOTOGRAPHER, LUCY RIDGARD, WHO DOCUMENTED TEENAGERS FROM ENGLAND TO MOROCCO
Which are the steps of your creative process?
I’ll be somewhere – on holiday, in my hometown, walking around London and I’ll see someone interesting looking. I’ll approach them and ask to take their photo…hopefully they’ll say yes. If all is good I’ll arrange to meet them later or on another day. This gives me time to find a good location and backdrop, think about the light and think how I want to compose the subject in the photo (my photos are rarely candid). When I shoot I use a digital camera as a polaroid and then I go to medium format film to shoot. Once the film is developed I then scan the negative.
The retouching I do is minimal: spot removal and colour balancing. Then I spend time making digital c-type prints to check the colours are right. From start to finish can take a week or two.
What prompted you to shoot the project “From Marrakech Head North” and why did you chose to document just boys?
I was In Morocco for 3 weeks over Christmas and new year, I kept seeing these cool looking teenage boys and young men, so I started to approach them and set up portraits.
I shot boys as I saw less modern teenager and adolescent girls then boys where I travelled. The girls of that age I came across were often in traditional djellaba and in a hijab, although sometimes the latter was worn with modern clothes. These girls seemed shyer, quieter and they were often with an adult. They didn’t appear to hang about in groups on the streets like the boys or seem so westernised, particularly in their dress sense. When I asked to take a photo a few times it was greeted much more apprehensively and the response was nearly always no…seeing this, I made the story about the boys.
It would be interesting though, to go to more of Morocco and see how things are there with the boys and girls.
Teenagers seems to be a recurring theme in your work, as we can see from other projects like “Emma’s Gang” or “You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone”: how Marrakech kids differ from the Brits? and what do they have in common instead?
Well, they all seemed to share a love of facebook and social media! An interest in clothes and fashion (The boys I met at any rate) A similar love of sportswear brands like Adidas and Nike. You know, trainers, t-shirts, Adidas tracksuits – a look that is recognizable in teenage boys and young men from Manchester to Marseille.
I would have imagined they differ in the freedom they each have: Britain is such an open country and very liberal and I don’t think Morocco is as much. For example, Morocco seems much more conservative and religious then the UK and maybe more traditional when it comes to how boys and girls behave and are perceived. There didn’t seem to be as much equality between the boys and girls I met as there is in the UK.
What’s beauty for you?
The Suffolk countryside (where I grew up) in summer.
What’s the image (a painting, a photo, a movie frame, etc…) that has had the biggest impact on yourself and your work?
It’s really hard for me to find just one image that encapsulates that! But, I love the two photos below by Larry Sultan.
If you could have an imaginary conversation with three artists, dead or alive, who would you wish to talk to?
Daniel Meadows, Joanna Vasconcelos & Marina Abramovic.
Which advice would you give to anyone who would like to follow your footsteps as a young photographer?
Keep taking photos. Take time to look over your work and think what you’re trying to say. Research your projects and themes. Develop a style that is yours – Having a photographic style is really, really, important. Learn how to light and understand light. Be able to write about your work clearly and concisely. Keep an eye on what’s going on in the photography world. Enter lots of competitions and festivals. Be true to yourself. Take images you believe in.
Do you have a personal motto?
I have a few… here are two – “Seize the day” & “Less haste more speed” (I’m a little guilty of rushing sometimes…)