Current winner of The OGC Mentorship Elanor Marielle, opens up about her work and invites us all in for a catch-up …
I have quite a few updates since the last time I wrote a blog post!
I’ll start with the good! – First of all I was long listed for the IdeasTap Magnum Photos Photographer Funds, an opportunity in which I could’ve won a grant to go towards a photography project I had already begun (in this case Any Other Name).
I was also extremely honoured to have Any Other Name be nominated by Diane Smyth from the British Journal of Photography for the Mack First Book Award 2016!
Although I didn’t win these things I feel it again proved the importance of continually trying to put your work out there, even if you don’t win competitions you’re still having your work seen by people within the industry, and just because you don’t win that specific competition doesn’t mean they won’t remember you and keep you in mind for other opportunities!
Now, the not-so-good. Sadly my brother developed epilepsy at the beginning of this year, meaning I had to stop focusing as much on my photography and had to support my family as much as I could, meaning it wasn’t until recently that I could pick up my camera and begin photographing again.
Thankfully as a family we’re in a stable place now, and I am about to begin a new photography project called ‘The Outsiders’.
I’m out of my element a bit because it’s photographing strangers, something historically that has always challenged me but is something I’m looking forward to confronting and defeating!
The project is about people who haven’t conformed to something within society, be it beauty standards, or socials norms, or specific protocols when dealing with certain situations, and how they are then treated as ‘others’ because of it.
I had some experience with this as a teenager when I truanted due to not being able to cope with my own mental health problems; because I truanted so much I was met with little to no help or understanding by my school and in many cases I was simply ignored or forgotten about. It was up to me to learn and I was more or less on my own when trying to revise enough for my GCSE’s. I couldn’t conform because being around people at the time was extremely hard for me, this meant I was isolated, sometimes picked on by teachers when I did attend, or wasn’t helped at all when I so clearly needed it.
Talking to other people who have been met with aggression and hostility or who have simply been ignored due to not conforming to certain things has shown me the importance of highlighting these issues. More often than not the reason for not conforming are things that cannot be helped, things like mental health issues, disability, race, gender identity/fluidity, sexuality. They don’t conform to what society tells us is acceptable/desirable, therefore they are ostracized. It’s hard, but I think it’s important not to silence the voices of people who have experienced oppression in this way. We need to highlight it more.
So this feels like quite a big project, but it’s something I’m passionate about and even though it may take me a long time, I’m excited to work on it and hopefully do it justice!
In the meantime I am living between Manchester and London doing assistant work where I can find it, especially trying to gain experience in editorial portraiture and/or fashion.
I would also like to use this opportunity to say that if there is anyone who has related to my project theme, who has had experiences of this nature, if you would be willing to sit for a portrait I would really appreciate it and PLEASE reach out to me! I’m willing to travel outside of London too so please don’t feel limited to where you are!
It feels good to be shooting again and I’m excited to see what I can do with the rest of the year!