Please tell us a little of your background and how you got into photography.
I’m from Greater Manchester in the UK. I suppose I have been really into street photography for around 5 years. Prior to that, I had never even picked up a camera. I have always seen myself as an artistic type of person, and quickly adapted myself to the genre. I suppose in a way my husband Craig, also a street photographer, gave me the interest to take it up, and thankfully I did. I don’t see us as his and hers (husband and wife) street photographers, as I want to be my own person with my own sense of purpose. We don’t often shoot together, normally going our own way. However, it is nice to share the same passion, and give each other advice.
Most of your work is either from Blackpool or London, but we don’t see anything from your home town, which is a big city. Why?
I find Manchester less of an attraction, partly because of its proximity to me, and over the years, it seems to have lost its edginess. The Manchester city centre now has become too commercial for me, while I find Central London and its surrounding areas more quirky, and London is such a vibrant city.
Blackpool just resonates a great personal love. It’s the seaside vibe, great characters, and kiss-me-quick hat style that draw me back there, time and time again again. My inspiration for that traditional seaside street scene perhaps draws from my love of the John Hinde seaside postcards, and the works of Martin Parr.
With husband and wife photographers, has the subject ever come up about being a woman photographer, or are there anecdotes you could share?
Genuinely, this has happened a few times, we can be out and about and often bump into other photographers. Normally, if we do tend to see someone else with a camera, it’s quite easy to strike up a conversation. Normally male photographers though, and this has happened on a few occasions, tend to direct most of the conversation towards Craig. They ignore me, Craig gets embarrassed and tries to bring me back in to the conversation. It is annoying, as you want to say “Hey, I’m here,” but to be honest, I tend to just take a few steps back and wander off into the crowd. I would much rather be out there doing what I love.
I think we stand our ground as female street photographers, and certainly have a good pedigree of historic female street photographers in our collective portfolio. Vivian Maier, Shirley Baker, and Jane Bown to name but a few. I could go on, as the list is endless.
Tell us about your projects.
My most recent project started out with street portraits and candids, looking for beautiful characters with stories behind the eyes. Every face has a different twinkle or wrinkle. I find I’m often drawn to people who are older, their faces seem to have so much character. Lately I have refocused and renamed the street portrait series “Dogs and Us Brits,” as I always find that dogs play a big part in everyday street life. So I thought combining the two—street portraits and dogs—would make a great ongoing project for me. Whenever I am out, I always love getting down low to capture moments and expressions from our loyal companions. Many of these dogs have just as much expression as their owners. It’s not always easy to capture the dogs, as they have a habit of being overly inquisitive– my lens has acquired plenty of drool in the process!