Hannah Bailey

Hannah Bailey

My Life in Analogue — Hannah Bailey loves how analogue photography's flaws and unpredictability bring her images to life.

Digital technology has given photographers greater control over the process and made it easier to eliminate errors, but Hannah Bailey feels this has led to pictures that all look the same. In defiance of the emerging digital consensus, she embraced analogue because of the ‘mistakes’ and unpredictability that creep in, bringing photos alive.

Hannah’s work at PR and creative communication agency Neon Stash gives her the opportunity to travel around the world, meaning she never struggles to find incredible new locations to shoot. But her biggest inspiration comes from the people around her. As so much of her work connects back to the girls shred world, she’s lucky enough to have rad female surfers, skaters or snowboarders regularly shredding it in front of her lens.

When and why did you start shooting pictures?
I’ve always been into photography ever since I can remember but it was about 5 years ago that I started going back to analogue and actively shooting film. I was spurred by the fact that everyone around me had digital cameras and was shooting the same pictures. I wanted to see something different, something unpredictable! I wanted to question what makes a good photo.

What is it you love about film photography?
I love its unpredictability. The nature of it captures my attention, holds my suspense and keeps my eyes eager. I love how with film, out of the 36 snaps, the flawed shots are often the best of the bunch. You never know what you are going to get and when you get a winning shot on film, there is no better feeling! That grainy genuine goodness. I can’t get enough!

What are you passionate about – interests, hobbies outside of photography – and how does this inform the images you take?
I love going on adventures, being creative and getting on a board (skate, surf, snow). I think my photography speaks for all that. The past few years my day job has taken me to amazing places and I’ve made the most of those opportunities with camera in hand. I especially love to snap skate as it’s an inspirational part of my life and I am lucky to get to go to amazing places with amazing people and give my camera amazing things/people/places to snap at. Amazing.

Who or what inspires your work? Any other photographers?
I’m inspired more by the people surrounding me than famous photographers. Specifically the girls shred world is where my main inspiration lies. It’s what most of my snaps are of. Girls skating, snowboarding, shredding nature in some sort of way. It’s a small scene but brilliant and all I want to do is show it to the world proudly!

What do you do for a living and how does photography fit into your life?
I run a creative platform called Neon Stash. It’s a PR, communications and idea agency which started and still functions in the action sports world, so it 100% allows me to work on creative projects where my photography fits in. In fact it’s pretty much part of my job. With Neon Stash I spend a lot of time working on projects that push the girls shred world and my photography is a tool in attempting to do that.

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?
I often shoot features for Lomography or for girl shred magazines such as Cooler or Coven. It’s always great to see a shot in print! If it’s a particular project then I will have a camera, film and idea at the ready.

But I always carry a camera wherever I go and most of my snaps, which have been used by press or featured somewhere, have simply been shot whilst I have been on an everyday adventure. Like when I went to Malmo for some skate with a girl crew. There was no planning, just shooting from the hip.

After adventures like this, I’m thinking, where can I use these shots? I’m always looking for new outlets to push my snaps to, mostly to get exposure for the girls shred world. My snaps from adventures like this have been featured on Dazed Digital and i-D Online, which is a dream.

Are your photos staged/posed or documentary? Can you describe why you choose to shoot in this way?
I very rarely stage a shot, I’m a ‘shoot on the sly’ sort of photographer. I’m not a pro with a ton of equipment, I’m simply there with my cameras and that’s the way I like to keep it. I see what’s going on around me, and my camera captures what I like the look of, often from a different angle. Hidden away, a shot snapped in the space of a second, the subject never knowing. Even most of my action shots are slyly captured!

If you had to take one photo that summed up your view on life, what would it capture?
A creative mess of amazingness. I don’t think you can ever keep up with the amount going on in life, so just see what’s in front of you and go with it. Enjoy the view… and take a photo so you always remember it.

Head over to Neon Stash to check out more of Hannah’s work.