Interview: Ellie Ramsden & Carly Tyrell

This weekend, Behind the Beat opens in Brighton. It’s our latest exhibition, curated in partnership with Ali Tollervey and printed and hosted by Spectrum Photographic, and attempts to trace a lineage between a number of subcultures in the UK, from the Ted gangs of the 50’s right up to the Grime scene today. We have some incredible photographers exhibiting, as well as images, memorabilia and audio submitted by the public and a big day of talks on Sat May 13th.

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Every weekend in May, 10am to 6pm.  Spectrum, 42 Frederick Place, Brighton. 

Launch afternoon of talks on Sat 13th May, 1pm to 5pm.

Free Entry. MORE INFO

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In our research for the show we found, as is often the case, that the balance of representation between men and women both photographing the scenes and being photographed, was not totally equal. There are of course some incredible women who have documented a number of youth cultures down the years (Elaine Constantine, Olivia Rose, Karen Knorr, etc etc), but things could always improve. Here, we speak to two photographers currently studying Editorial and Advertising Photography BA (hons) at the University of Gloucestershire, who have turned their focus to the female presence in two different contemporary scenes – Grime and Hardcore. Ladies and Gents, Ellie Ramsden and Carly Tyrell…

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Ellie Ramsden

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Carly Tyrell

Where did your interest in this scene begin?

Carly Tyrell – One of my friends in school was in a hardcore band and asked if I wanted to go with her at a show they were playing in our local town so I did. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing at first, people were kicking and punching each other, but I have always loved heavy music and this sort of violence was a way of relief without seriously harming others. The people were really welcoming and friendly. When I started going to shows further away, such as in Cardiff, I felt like I was part of something bigger and was getting a lot of photography work from it. Bands were asking me to photograph them and people in the crowd were posting my images I got of them. This soon became a passion of mine.

I only went to a few local hardcore shows before I decided to buy a camera and photograph what was going on. At the first ever hardcore show I went to there was a guy with his camera taking photos of each band playing and I remember seeing this guy and wanting to do what he did.

Ellie Ramsden – I’ve been listening to Grime for the last 10 years. Growing up in South East London there was a lot of it around. There’s something about listening to music that is being made where you live, you can see and understand the things they talk about in their lyrics, and you can relate to what they’re saying. It wasn’t guys talking about how much money and girls they have, it was about growing up in London, getting into trouble, personal accounts and experiences.

There was something about this type of English rap that intrigued me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Some of the lyrics are clever and can make you laugh, but you’ve got to be quick to catch them. I started to listen to more and more Grime and shared it with my friends. We used to Bluetooth each other the latest songs so we could play the tracks from our phones. We saw Tinie Tempah in Deptford for £5 when we were 14, now he’s had countless number ones and headlines for shows: how times have changed.

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Carly Tyrell

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Ellie Ramsden

One of the things that’s been interesting about researching this exhibition is where these scenes begin, the ethos, politics and impetus amongst those involved… Do you see any similarities between Hardcore and Grime and the scenes that have gone before it?

ER – Yes definitely. Grime is all about being loud and rowdy, being real and raw, it’s about saying what you want and not caring about what other people think of you. It’s more than just the music, it’s a culture. I think it is very similar to Punk in these respects.

CT – Hardcore began through punk in the 80’s. It has similarities to other scenes but being part of this scene you begin to notice how it is always evolving and changing as new people come into the scene and old people leave. I think this is a common factor in all scenes. However, Hardcore will always have underlying tones of anarchy and a outspoken kind of generation which comes from punk-hardcore.

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Ellie Ramsden

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Carly Tyrell

Why did you choose to focus primary on Women in these scenes?

CT – I was doing a lot of research and I didn’t find that much photography work on women in Hardcore. The scene has always been male dominated, but there has always been women involved. Being a woman involved in this scene, I wanted to document all the other women who have the same passion for it as me. I wanted to show people how beautiful and strong these women are, even in a male dominated scene.

ER – (In a similar way) I chose to focus on the women in Grime because the scene is so heavily male dominated. It’s quite rare that you see a female amongst the males, and I wanted to find out why that is. I want to bring people’s attention to it and try to get more females involved in Grime, there’s definitely room for more women.

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Carly Tyrell

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Ellie Ramsden

How did you go about getting access?

CT – I had a few friends who were females in the Hardcore scene so I asked them first. This gave me a basis to work from so I could ask other people I didn’t know. I posted a tweet and a lot of my friends retweeted, including people I did not know. From this I had many messages from women asking if they could get involved. I ended up travelling all across the UK.

ER – I contacted the artists, DJs, radio presenters etc through social media and just asked to meet up and do a shoot. I explained about the project and many of the girls were very responsive about being a part of it. As for photographing the events I was either invited by the girls to photograph them, or I just turned up with a camera and started shooting.

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Ellie Ramsden

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Carly Tyrell

What’s next for your work?

CT – I am about to finish my degree in University, then I am going on tour in June with a Hardcore band called War Master around Europe. I plan to continue photographing shows and touring with bands for as long as possible.

ER – For me, I’m planning to carry this project on and I’m hoping by this time next year to have published a book on the Women of Grime. For Grime, I think it will carry on thriving. It’s grown tremendously in the last 15 years. The audience for Grime is growing everyday, it’s broadened across the UK and over to parts of the US, Australia and Japan. Who knows, maybe our grandparents will be listening to it next.

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Carly Tyrell

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Ellie Ramsden

To see more of Ellie and Carly’s work…

Ellie Ramsden

www.ellieramsden.co.uk

Instagram: @ellie_ramsden

Carly Tyrell

www.carlytyrell.co.uk

Instagram: @carlytyrell

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BEHIND THE BEAT

Every weekend in May, 10am to 6pm.  Spectrum, 42 Frederick Place, Brighton. 

Launch afternoon of talks on Sat 13th May, 1pm to 5pm.

Free Entry. MORE INFO

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