Ritual and notions of 'Britishness' inspire Luke Overin's photography as he captures moments in the lives of the young and old.
Ritual and notions of 'Britishness' inspire Luke Overin's photography as he captures unscripted moments in the lives of the young and old.
A passion for skateboarding often throws Luke Overin into unexpected situations, which are far more exciting than anything that could be planned. He finds other people’s hobbies equally fascinating, exploring lesser known British pastimes like pigeon racing in his work. Just as Luke doesn’t like to control his environment and allows events to take their own course, he’s happy for viewers to draw their own meanings and narratives from his images.
When and why did you start shooting pictures?
My mum is quite a creative person and I was given a small compact film camera when I was super young. I think this was her way of getting me to start documenting everything around me as a kid. I consciously began shooting film around age fifteen, documenting groups of skateboarders I ran with around the coastal towns of Kent. Then I started shooting photos at Hardcore Punk shows around my hometown when I was sixteen and that’s when I really got into it.
What is it you love about film photography?
Photography for me is my own way of noticing everything in the world and documenting these moments, so as not to let any situation go amiss. Shooting film photography is less throwaway than digital, you can’t go back into the camera and edit or delete it and shoot again. It’s that split second which becomes a vehicle for me to appreciate everything around me, making life in that split second real exciting.
What are you passionate about – interests, hobbies outside of photography – and how does this inform the images you take?
Skateboarding has been the backbone of my life since the age of eleven. It really has informed the majority of my image-making since as far back as I can remember. I actually graduated from an Illustration degree in 2012 and whilst photography has been my main source of image making since then, I also like to draw, paint and have recently been working with ceramics.
All of these mediums influence each other in a kind of cycle, exploring similar themes and notions. Alongside more street driven photography, I’ve also been exploring notions of ‘Britishness’, culture and ritual in my work, including the more unheard of and backwater hobbies of British people, such as a recent photo-series on pigeon racing. I’m also passionate about my houseplants, I’ve got about fifteen in my tiny flat and they look rad at the moment!
Who or what inspires your work? Any other photographers?
My peripheral circle of friends is what most inspires me to drive on and create work, also the DIY element in all of this as well. Seeing each group or person finding their voice is super exciting. From watching a group of skateboarders in my hometown reclaim a plot of disused land and build a DIY skatespot on it, to witnessing close friends start their own screen printing/fashion/film-making/etc… pursuits, this is all amazing and very inspiring.
As far as other artists go, it’s quite generic but the first artists to influence me were very subcultural ones. Glenn E Friedman, Mark Gonzalez, Ed Templeton and skateboard graphic artists such as Rob Roskopp, these are still huge points of reference for me personally.
What do you do for a living and how does photography fit into your life?
Since graduating over a year ago I’ve had a pretty good run in terms of people giving me work and opportunities to learn new skills. Nowadays I work several days a week for the publishing house Nobrow, I tutor sporadically on a visual communication course and I work on several freelance jobs a month. This could mean working for a magazine, or a private commission amongst other things. As long as I have enough money to pay my bills and afford a few rolls of film a month, life is pretty good.
I usually won’t leave the house without a camera so fitting in photography is relatively easy. Living in London means you are encountered by weird situations worth documenting all the time, as well as an abundance of interesting people to meet on the street everyday.
How do you share your work? Zines, books, exhibitions, blog etc? And what’s the editing process like for you? Are you trying to tell stories with your images? What are those stories?
A lot of my work is released physically through zines and books, although I maintain a blog and a website which is currently being re-vamped. I’ve self published since a relatively young age and this has continued into my twenties. I recently released a photo zine based around Deptford Market, as well as having a book published through the amazing Cafe Royal Books.
2014 already holds plans for three books which are already in the editing stage, two released by publishing houses and one is to be self published. I guess I am trying to tell stories with my imagery, especially portrait work. I’d like to think people could read into my work themselves and maybe form their own narratives and ideas about it.
Are your photos staged/posed or documentary? Can you describe why you choose to shoot in this way?
The vast majority of my work is documentary based, it isn’t dictated by a certain style, but instead is a product of the environments I occupy at any given time. This is a much more natural and pleasurable way of working. Skateboarding again has to get a mention, I try to think of it as the vehicle which enables my photography. Just going out on a mission to find a spot could throw you into a world with all kind of things worth shooting and capturing. It’s an un-planned way of working but for me that is much more exciting.
If you had to take one photo that summed up your view on life, what would it capture?
Probably the above black and white one of the older dude doing a handstand on the skateboard, I really hope I’m still killing it that way when I’m 40 plus.
Check out more of Luke’s Work at his blog.
My Life in Analogue continues! If you’d like to be featured send a folio of 10 analogue images to firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line MY LIFE IN ANALOGUE. We look forward to seeing your work!