interview: Lucy Bentham

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At last months Miniclick talk we explored the theme of escapism with Lucy Bentham and Bobby Mills. We caught up with Lucy to ask a few questions about the way she works.

The work you talked of regarding escapism shows landscape photography. Is this the main area you work with currently and has there always been a pull to it for you personally?

My project ‘Escape Theory: Sublime’ revolves around a central theme of landscape photography as escapism; borne from a call to be out in nature, out of the ordinary and into the wild. Prior to making the work I had an affinity with landscape but not a photographic interest in particular and this project often blurred the boundaries between escaping and working creatively with the landscape. I am still intrigued by it but, as with many subjects, I like to take a break from it being work for a while, to enjoy it for what it is and to maintain landscape as my escape point.

You spoke about landscape and the escape from domesticity and anxiety. Is there anything else you feel creates this feeling of escapism and freedom in your work?

 I think any art worth looking at should employ a form of escapism for the viewer, from whatever they are escaping from. One area of research that was key to the project, and something I am still working on, is that of the imagination and how it assists in viewing abstract photography i.e. when we look at something that is not really a representation of anything at all it can be the purest way of seeing as the imagination is responsible for conceiving the eventual image. The initial research question with ‘Escape Theory: Sublime’ was if I could convey a true sense of the sublime through photography alone and the answer, in short, is not without relying on the imagination of the viewer, and probably more through abstraction than straight photographs of mountains. My hope is that telling a story is enough to provide escapism.

You spoke about feminism and the domestic. Is this something you wish to explore further photographically?

Absolutely. Being female, in ‘the year of the woman’ (isn’t that every year?), and always subtly/not so subtly fighting my domestic duties, feminism and the domestic are topics I live with all the time so will inevitably come through in my work, through my specific lens; however apparent or hidden, they will usually be underlying themes. I would like to take these ideas and apply them to other women, or specifically female artists, living a domesticated life in today’s society, to observe and narrativise their experiences through photography and interviews.

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