Sarah Beasley’s work draws in the colours and textures of environments she encounters travelling the world. Her photography emanates the joy and exoticism to be found in the discovery of distant lands. But when she’s stuck in her home town of Swansea, she attempts to recreate the richness of foreign shores by creating scenes that give her images life.
When and why did you start shooting pictures?
I started shooting pictures about three years ago, during the second year of my degree. I was bored of the town I was living in and came to realise I wasn’t creative enough. I couldn’t draw or paint so I bought a cheap analogue camera instead – an Olympus Trip I think it was – and started snapping. I was hooked. It was only after my degree, while I was backpacking around Europe and South East Asia that I felt I was taking good enough pictures to show. I still don’t know if I’m any good, but I do know that I’m still hooked.
What is it you love about film photography?
It’s hard to delineate exactly. At the risk of sounding clichéd, I think it’s the rawness of it. It’s much the same concept as a vinyl records sounding better than CDs. The grain, the scratches and the colours – they all come together to create this profound beauty that I can’t stop looking at. Each analogue photo has its own beautiful anomalies. From the perspective of the person taking the photos I guess its more exciting because you’re doing the work in that moment. It’s rewarding when you do take a great shot because its unpredictable. It doesn’t thrill me to sit at a computer and digitally manipulate photos for hours.
What are you passionate about – interests, hobbies outside of photography – and how does this transform the images you take?
I love travelling and I would do it every day for the rest of my life if I could. Every country has captured a different range of shapes and colours as a result of the different architecture and terrain. This in turn creates a richer and more diverse photographic portfolio. I love the British countryside, but all that green can look boring. I also love clothes so I tend to style when I use models; I really enjoy doing that.
Who or what inspires your work? Any other photographers?
My diary style is always spontaneous; so it is the people, the scene, the attitude and the energy is what inspires those snaps. For work that is more planned, my current inspiration is film stills. I like the idea of showing the viewer a snapshot of a surreal or emotive moment. Although I do like fashion, it can’t be senseless. It’s good when mixed with artistic style; Lina Scheynius is really good at this. I also love Eduouard Boubat, David Hamilton, Bruce Davidson, Deborah Turbeville, Ata Kando, Quentin de Briey, Marianna Rothen, Ellen Rogers, Neil Krug and Aëla Labbé.
What do you do for a living and how does photography fit into your life?
I would do this for a living if I could. But at the moment I’m working part time jobs and looking to perhaps open a retail shop. I’m learning to fit photography into my life as a privilege and not think I can spend all day doing it. After all, I need to earn some more money to support my analogue habit.
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?
Currently I use Tumblr, Flickr, Instagram and Facebook to share my work. Although I do find the act of self-promotion very embarrassing sometimes. My editing process is not extensive. I alter levels and, due to limited funds, sometimes turn colour photos to black and white, but I don’t like having to do this. In the future I will definitely start trying to tell stories with my images. But right now it’s all about the people and beautiful landscapes.
Are your photos staged/posed or documentary? Can you describe why you choose to shoot this way?
The fashion work is posed to an extent, although I do like to still make it look quite candid and fun. The rest is completely spontaneous. I am not always travelling in amazing places, so I choose to create scenes with interesting clothes and people so my work doesn’t become stagnant.
If you had to take one photo that summed up your view on life, what would it capture?
I would capture someone I know and love, having fun and not taking themselves too seriously. I think that’s how everyone should be. Oh and we’d be in the Bahamas.
You can see more of Sarah’s work on her website.
Are you a film photography fan? To be considered for a slot on the Huck site, send a folio of 10 analogue images to [email protected] using the subject line MY LIFE IN ANALOGUE.
Submissions made before December 20, 2013, will be entered into a competition to win a Lomography camera. See competition for further details.