Interview – Livia Smith and Phoebe Mead

In April we were lucky enough to have Livia Smith and Phoebe Mead come and talk for us at about their work with photography and sculpture. They have taken some time to talk about their work further with us and provide some information about their new collaborative publication Photography &.

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You both explore the use of sculpture in photography. Livia in particular, when you start out, do you see the multidisciplinary steps of a project, such as your project exploring skin, as separate pieces? Or is the idea created as a collection?

LS: Through experimentation, my practice has extended into other disciplines such as performance, video, and sculpture. Although these studies could be seen as secondary to the main work, for me, they are essential. Collectively they form the arch of the final piece, shaping both my concepts and the creative decisions I make.

For instance, in this current project, the process of casting has allowed me to form a physical link with my subject matter. I’ve been able to play with the concepts of tangibility by involving my own body, working closely with my materials to create objects for photographic use.

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Phoebe, do you find working analogue creates a more sensory outcome when photographing architectural subjects?

PM: Definitely. There is a tactile quality to analogue images, especially once printed onto fibre-based paper. I am very loyal to film photography as I think it is important to understand the roots and history of the medium.

Working in analogue also helps me to be a more thoughtful photographer as I really consider each shot — it is not as disposable (or affordable!) as digital photography. Then, when it comes to the gratifying process of developing and printing my images, I find that physically connecting with my work in the darkroom allows me to further understand my concepts, and during this time I often work out how I want a project to progress.

You guys use a lot of different media. Have you both always been interested in the three-dimensional side of art?

LS: Although my work using sculpture has been a fairly recent thing, I have always been interested in pushing the image further and exploring it through different contexts. When making a piece, I’m continuously thinking about the relationship it has with the viewer and how it will materialise in the space. This is a whole other aspect of the work that requires you to think more about the piece as a physical object. So whether it be a part of the image-making process or not, I’m definitely going to have that connection with image beyond its two-dimensional form.

PM: For me, it’s been a relatively recent interest that has developed through my time at university. I think this is due to the primary way in which we experience art, photography and the world — through a screen. I never would have thought that during my time as a photographer I’d end up creating sculptures in the 3D workshop! However, this has proved to be such a liberating process. Although the final outcomes of my projects might generally be regarded as ‘straight photography’, stepping away from the camera to experiment with sculpture has allowed me to understand space and dimensionality; shaping my photographic practice.

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You are working on a publication called “Photography &”, could you explain a little bit about this for us?

PM: Photography & is a creative platform that Livia and I have developed with an aim to explore the ever-expanding field of photography within the visual arts. It seems that creative mediums are merging and this is something that we want to tap into throughout our zine-style publications, which will each have a different theme.

For example, our first issue is called Photography & Sculpture, demonstrating the fluidity of these two art forms. It features photographic essays from a range of exciting artists such as, Alexandra Lethbridge and Jack Carvosso.

LS: Our aim for this project is to discuss visual art in a refreshing way. It’s important to us that this is accessible and is able to welcome new discussions.

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You can purchase your copy of Photography & Sculpture at their online shop

Livia Smith

&

Phoebe Mead

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