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The first of a series of extended interviews with Island creatives during the Lockdown.

Interview by Megan Stisted

Hi Skye, two weeks since the lockdown started, how are you doing?

I found lockdown really hard at the beginning; having my course cut off at a vital time to have access to facilities was really difficult, as well as adjusting to online learning and facing financial difficulty. Making the decision to come home wasn’t what I had planned at all. For the first week or so I had no motivation at all and for me, motivation and inspiration come hand in hand therefore without one, I don’t have the other. It was really difficult to create, and that is what makes me happiest.

I am making sure to look after myself by practicing mindfulness every day and of course I make sure to make use of the beautiful Island we live on; using my outdoor exercise to visit the beach with my dogs and really spend as much time in the fresh air as possible. I have really missed being around such beautiful scenery so this helped me stay positive and grateful for what I do have, instead of dwelling on what I cannot do right now. Now I am ploughing through my work and really taking this time to be creative as well as give my body a rest. There is no need to put pressure on myself to use this time to its absolute fullest potential because there is my whole life for that and this opportunity to rest may never come again!

Do you have any current projects in progress?

I have a few projects going on at the moment; I am working on some content for my youtube channel; some conversations about current topics and also some artsy film making content. I really enjoy film making and I’m enjoying practicing and learning more about the software to hopefully do something more professional with it in the future.

I have a few collaborations that I am working on with other creatives that will be coming out at the end of this month. Working with other creatives and surrounding myself with like-minded people makes me so content, happy and inspired. I find this is when I learn the most and create some of my best work! With all the time to think in lockdown, I have thought of so many projects I would like to start after this is over! Maybe starting another photographic series, (like my body confidence series that I have done previously) and doing my body confidence series one year on and check-in with the girls I photographed and see how they are getting on! These are both things I would definitely like to spend my summer doing.

“Creating when you are uninspired is the last thing you want to do but I always find that to get myself out of the rut I just have to create something, even if I hate it…”

I’ve seen your FaceTime photoshoots on Instagram, they look great! How do they work?

The Facetime photoshoots are really what got me inspired to create again! I got a really mixed response to them, there are a lot of people unsure if it is still photography and confused by how it works. Personally, I love it.

As a photographer, you are always outgrowing the gear you use and sometimes it is nice to humble yourself by stripping it back to basics. This is one of the reasons I love using natural light so much, you have to work with what you have got. And that is exactly what the Facetime photoshoot is. The process of it begins with the model and I discussing a concept, they show me what is around their room and where gets the best sunlight at what time of day. We agree on a time of day and then decide if the background opposite that window is aesthetically pleasing for a fashion/portrait shoot. I ask if they have anything that can improve the composition like bedsheets or material that we can introduce into the background and we fiddle around with that on a Facetime call until we are both happy. Then I direct them to pose and where to place me as the photographer. They prop their device up with a tripod or on top of some books to get different angles and we just keep fiddling until I am happy. It is as much as their hard work as it is mine. And then to take the photos I use the in-app “Facetime photo” which is basically a screenshot of the screen that I see.

I then edit the images which is really challenging. These images are very low resolution. I usually edit in raw which is a type of file that allows you to see so much more information in the image and bring things out of shadows or colours the camera couldn’t do without compensating the exposure. It was a really enjoyable challenge though and nice to visit the basics of picture taking and access models in this situation.

What inspires you to take new photos?

As cliche as it sounds, I get inspiration from everywhere. I consume a lot of content made by artists and filmmakers, so I get a lot of my inspiration from that. I find myself most inspired when I am in a positive environment and by communicating with mindful and creative people. Just generally taking time to think and let your imagination go to any place it wants is such a nice way to inspire yourself instead of consuming content all the time. However, saying that I can go weeks without having anything inspire me and then I will see a single youtube video and my mind runs wild and all I can think about is the next shoot, how I want to style it, where I want to shoot it and who I want to be involved in it.

Inspiration really does come when you least expect it and as annoying as it is being in a creative block it is always a good time to reflect on what you have already done and notice the things you want to improve on and that in itself could be the inspiration. Creating when you are uninspired is the last thing you want to do but I always find that to get myself out of the rut I just have to create something, even if I hate it and it goes nowhere, it always makes me feel a bit better and more motivated to work and start creating things that I love again.

What are you struggling with the most during this period of lockdown?

I am really struggling to adjust to online learning as I said. Not being able to see my boyfriend, friends and family are so difficult for me as I gain so much from the people I surround myself with. We are so lucky to be going through this at a time when it is possible to stay in touch with our loved ones so easily as well as still have the privilege to be able to continue to create as an artist is such a luxury and I am really grateful for that. I think I am also struggling with the fact that my mental health has suffered from this, however, I feel like feeling like that isn’t valid because there is such misery in the bigger picture. It is interesting to see how everyone has responded to this situation.

“I love supporting local artists, we are such a minority and bringing us all together feels like we are making our own creative community that shares love and supports one another…”

What would you suggest to people looking into taking photography seriously? How did you get started?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a camera in my hand, my advice would be to just take photos! We all have a camera phone. The more you create the better you get. There’s no way of getting around it other than just doing it. I also found that sharing my work to get feedback on it helped me so much. Keep creating and communicating with people that are similar creatively to you.

And lastly, can you suggest to our readers any photographers they should be checking out while in isolation?

My favourite well-known photographers are @cvatik, @louisbanksshoots, Annie Leibovitz, Harris Nukem, Mario Testino, and Donna Trope.

As for local photographers, I really like Amanda Herbert, she creates the most incredible natural light portraits, I actually worked with her a few years ago. Oliver Howells is killing it on socials, he’s been really creative in this time and I’ve really enjoyed following him. Charlie Connolly, he worked with glass house productions for a while, that whole group are such amazing photographers and filmmakers. And Braeden Carey is an amazing photographer, his style is so different to mine and we have shot a few of the same models, it is really interesting to see how different photographers work with the same models. A few of my friends in Southampton are amazing photographers as well! You can find them on Instagram at @ash_shoots @artnting @malcshoots .

I love supporting local artists, we are such a minority and bringing us all together feels like we are making our own creative community that shares love and supports one another, especially in a crisis like this, the work of artists tends to suffer so it is really nice to have a solid group of creators around you so you can support one another. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to do so more publicly.

If you would like someone to talk to just for support about creative projects and financial difficulty we are on hand to chat please email hello@ventnorexchange.co.uk or call 01983 716767  If we are not in leave a message and we will get back to you.

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