EVERYTHING I EVER LEARNT – Shutter Hub Exhibition featuring Marie Smith

Almost 100 photographers have come together to show the world through their eyes in this Shutter Hub and Art at the ARB exhibition at the University of Cambridge. The line-up of artist includes work by current OGC Mentorship winner Marie Smith.

Writer and Photographer, Smith says her practice explores juxtapositions that occur in complex, urban landscapes in London and beyond. “I address concerns with identity in relation to memory, architecture and environment, in particular how the geographies and spaces you inhabit shape perspectives and understanding of the self. I also utilise myself as a case study to re-frame and question themes around death and mental health. I place emphasis on the contemporary black female experience which has historically been underrepresented in art, in particular within the canon of film photography. “

Ahead of the showcase we chat with Smith about the work she will be exhibiting as part of this dynamic and exciting photography exhibition, as well as her photographic process.

What will you be exhibiting for EVERYTHING I EVER LEARNT?

I will be exhibiting a self portrait from the series Blown out like a candle. This self portrait is not a traditional self portrait, more along the lines of an abstract interpretation of self portrait.

Could you give us some insight to your photographic process?

My practice is based within film photography and this photo was taken by myself in my bedroom using Olympus OM4 SLR camera with Portra 400 film. I had spent 2 weeks shooting and writing for the series Blown out like a candle, the photo features me holding a piece of Heater which I had kept from my walk in Peak District in Yorkshire. I wanted to create a connection between myself and the Peak District. My camera was perched on a tripod and my camera has a timer on it (10 seconds). This photo was captured in the morning in early September morning, the light was very good and I spent some time altering the blinds in my room to control the amount of light coming into my room. Due to the fact that I work in film I have to spend more time thinking about what I want to capture, having a 10 second timer does not give me much flexibility but these limitations make me more disciplined and aware of what I’m doing. This particular image had played through my mind for a few days, although my face is not present I still see this as a self portrait as self portrait genre is open to interruption.  

Are you working on any new projects?

Currently, I’m looking to to make a book of the series Blown out like a candle, I’ve made some zines to play with the format and content for a forthcoming book. This will also give me a space to elaborate further on the text for the series, and explore more themes and concepts that can’t be addressed within a photography. I always aim to crate a dialogue between image and text, not as separate entity’s but complimentary forma of visual language. I’ve also started a series about my boyfriend’s Polish identity to document the Polish diaspora experience in UK. This series will be exploring his identity within the current climate of brexit but will also be touching upon the nuances of identity – in terms of Eastern European assimilation into UK society and how this has been altered since brexit. I recently shaved off my hair and I have the hair in a bag still which I kept for sentimental reasons but also to create a discourse around identity – as a black person and also as a women, these two areas are intersected and have equally been affected by my decision to change my aesthetic. The series of self portraits will incorporate my actual hair, I’m also thinking of creating an object out of my hair or using the hair in prints that I create. I’ve also been experimenting with the use of text as well which has always been an integral part of my practice, the text will be reflecting on my own thoughts about my identity and also within the society.

Everything I Ever Learnt runs from 28 March – 3 May 2019, with a Private View on Thursday 4 April 2019. See Shutter Hub for more info.

Image 1 & 2 © MARIE SMITH _BLOWN OUT LIKE A CANDLE. IMAGE 3 © Shutter Hub. You can also see Smiths latest work via her Instagram.

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