Clothbound fine art book (edition of 2)
Interview for Teran Community
Lines of sight explores the connection to site specific stories and location through the fashioned body. The project follows 5 leylines that I mapped out in North Yorkshire. As the leyline, by definition, connects sacred spaces such as stone circles, round barrows, monoliths and religious sites on a straight path - these locations become rich in oral histories and mythologies. This project attempts to tell each of these stories in a fashion context and combines both fashion imagery and landscape photography of each location.
For me, it really seems like folklore is a hot topic within fashion imagery. I really wanted to use this project in an attempt to outline a way in which locations and folklore were not being exploited for an editorial but instead being celebrated. Lines of Sight is a project that attempts to work with land and stories in an ethical and sustainable way. To do this I worked with teams exclusively from Yorkshire, collaborating with both young and established designers, models, and hair and makeup from the region. I also met with story tellers, historians, and enthusiasts interested in folklore from the region to listen to their personal versions of the stories and in turn create imagery that feels authentic and true to itself.
Can you tell me a little about the name of the project?
‘Lines of Sight’ derived from the projects focus on Ley Lines. The original theorist of leylines, Alfred Watkins, uses this term sporadically in his work. When defining a working methodology for myself I wanted to be as authentic as possible which led to my decision of using Watkin’s original formula in the creation of my 5 new leylines in the region. Watkins also worked as a photographer within the field of pseudo archeology. I felt that I wanted to really define the context of my work alongside his as well as other photographers and land artists who contribute to the telling of site specific stories.
How did you find your ideas developed throughout the project? What started it off?
My interest info folklore & mythologies started around 3 or 4 years ago.I began to center my work around stories of faeries and female representations of madness. My work during this time was beginning to form the practices and methods that led me to Lines of Sight. I was really beginning to tap into primary research of folktales and mythologies through archival materials. When I began to write the proposal for this project for my MA at Central Saint Martins I was challenged to unpick elements of my practice and develop them into a larger project. At this point I began questioning the importance of both the location and the fashioned body in the context of folklore in general. This led me to a few different readings which underpinned this project. First was Small Gods by Martin Shaw where Shaw describes the integral nature of a story being kept within the context of its location. Second was On Fetishism by Elizabeth Wilson which explains the magic and importance which is given to garments.
From this point, I decided that I would need to keep the project as true to each location as possible. For this reason, I decided to meet with story tellers, folklorist, and locals to learn the stories. By the nature of this, the project was constantly adapting and developing since I was constantly learning new elements which would contribute to the the ideas of the project. I then brought these stories into their original setting and shoot them. Once in the location the project had to adapt to the limitations of the space as well. But I was open to all of these developments and changes because that was just an essential part of the project, the adaptation and flux.
How have you found the move from styling to photography has affected your work?
For me, my work had always been about creating stories and narratives. As a stylist, I never really felt fulfilled by the representation of my ideas. I also realized that my methodologies in my styling practice were that of photography. It was an inherit move for me to transition into photography. Of course, styling is still a large part of my practice but now I feel as if I am able to portray my work in a way that completely fulfills myself. As Lines of Sight was my first large photography project I really felt as if I controlled the authenticity of each story represented - something that was very important to me.
Can you give any examples of stories your work has been inspired by?
Lover’s leap, Brimham Rocks. This location is part of a large outcrop of rocks in Nidderdale. The rocks, which have unique shapes, are a result of thousands of years of erosion and change in landscape, having once been a part of a large body of water.
The lore of Lover’s Leap, which is a specific rock formation in this outcrop, begins with Edwin and Julia - two fateful lovers. When Edwin asked Julia’s father for hand in marriage, the father denied. The two - madly in love, could not part from each other- decided to jump from the tall rocks and spend eternity together. When the father heard of the plans, he ran after them, but he was too late. By some miracle, they survived. Legend has in that a fairy (or maybe by the powers of Great Sybil - the witch who lived in the caves at Brimham) helped them float down without harm. After this they wed and the spot became known as lover’s leap.
I played a lot with this story in the project as it has such rich visual imagery. I wanted to portray both the idea of entanglement together but also the role of the rocks.