REDMILK MEETS POEM BAKER, A PHOTOGRAPHER BASED IN LONDON, RAISED IN A SMALL TOWN IN SUFFOLK. SHE BEGAN HER ARTISTIC CAREER IN THEATER AND PERFORMANCE ART. IN 2010 SHE STUDIED PHOTOGRAPHY AT THE LONDON COLLEGE OF COMMUNICATION. FROM THERE SHE DEDICATED TO THE DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY.
When did you start with photography and what do you like most about this world?
I was working in theatre for a number of years, but became exhausted by the work being sporadic and not being able to be creative when i wanted to be, thats when i picked up a camera, and thought, Wow, this is it, that was about 6 years ago now. I loved the way it gave me an instant outlet to my creativity, day or night, i could go out and do something by myself, and not rely on other peoples commitment, i also loved the way it allowed me to meet people, and really extraordinary people i never would normally have any business talking too.
Where do you find inspiration?
My inspirations come from all types of artists. I love Tracey Emin, Andy Warhol and Lucian Freud. As for photographers, i have soft spot for unsung heroes, people like Francesca Woodman, Corinne Day, and Vivian Maier. I collect photography books too, i love Robert Mapplethorpe: Black Book, Larry Clark’s Tulsa, and Nan Goldin The Devil’s Playground… to name but a few!
What is youth for you?
I think youth culture in the western world is a lot about fashion, music and more so then before politics! Kids are taking up the fight with racism, sexism, women rights, homophobia and many other problems, and that’s an exciting thing to watch. I love those that don’t conform, the rebels, i think it those that have a real influence on things , without them we never would of had rockers, mods and punks !
Your artistic work talks a lot about sexuality.
Yes, my work does explore sexuality, but in truth, when I’m behind the camera I’m indifferent to what peoples sexuality is, or whether people choose to pose with or without their clothes on. I leave this decision up to them letting them set the limits of their vulnerability and what their willing to expose. I’m just focusing on how to frame, how to bring all the elements of that moment together.
Can you be defined as a reportagist photographer?
I wouldn’t want to put myself in such a constricted box… having said that i think you need to be able to explain your style. Otherwise you don’t understand what kind of photographer you are, but i think its important to step out of your comfort zone and dip your toes in other waters , bring your eye to it, to keep building and making yourself a better photographer , that’s important to me. I’ve been working on some fashion shoots lately and I’ve had loads of fun doing them, its opened me up to a whole different world.
Three adjectives to describe you and your photography.
Honest. Challenging. Arresting.
How do you create the right intimity with your photographic subjects and how do you do the selection?
Well, i think i have a good eye for finding individuals that have something extraordinary about them, something that can capture your attention immediately. I’m very honest with the people i photograph, I’m not a shy photographer, I’m upfront about what I’m looking for and i guess that creates trust. For example for Hymns from the Bedroom, for that particular project i was drawn to people that don’t conform to societies expectations of gender. I was hoping through my camera i could bring that world closer to others who are unfamiliar with it, to show how captivating it can be and to give my subjects a voice to challenge the constrains of conformity.
How important is the locations for your work?
I always shoot people in their own surroundings and in their homes as it is a comfortable and familiar location for the subject and this is what which is central to my work. If you take a closer look at some of the portraits you can see a bigger picture, the everyday items, articles of clothing scattered about on the floor, pictures pinned on the wall, it’s a further insight into the realm of my subjects and there is no other way but to photograph them from within that world .
If you could represent yourself with a pics what would it be and why?
Well someone once said “A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side” and that’s what i totally believe, so your find out what I’m about by looking at my work.
You use a lot the B&W, why?
B&W for me has always been closer to the message i want to convey with my work… it lends a timeless quality to your portraits i think.
Your biggest dream.
Shooting artists, fashion and publishing books.
Official website www.poembaker.co.uk
Photos courtesy of the artist