interview: Bobby Mills


In January Bobby Mills joined Lucy Bentham in our talks around the theme of escapism. We caught up with Bobby to ask a little more about the project he spoke to us about Man.

Do you think the way in which you approach your photography has changed after discovering the life of Manfred and his story?

I’m not sure my approach has changed in as much as it has developed. It’s been a huge learning curve, from working around language barriers, to having a narrative to consider and reflect photographically, which in a way was partially predetermined.

I approached the project sensitively from the outset, to the point of nearly not making it at all, and tried to maintain that sensitivity throughout. I was always aware that this project was reflecting somebody’s life, one person, so I had to negotiate that within my approach.

What responses have you had from the people from Camelle and further afield regarding the project?

So far, I’ve received really positive feedback. I’ve been limited to sharing it with only a few people in Camelle, but so far it’s been great. I’m at the beginning of figuring how I can exhibit the work locally in Camelle to share the project with the local community.

Further afield the project has been getting great response too. I’m finding that people are giving time to Manfred’s story, his life and the tragedy of a careless oil spill.  I think it might have something to do with how one person’s life can speak of a larger message and meaning which seems to be resonating with people in different ways.

How have you been affected personally by Manfred’s story?

Manfred’s life has affected me on a very personal level. His life and the story gave me some time out of my own circumstances at home, just when I needed it most.

His life has always had two sides for me. On one hand its beautiful and curious and on the other it’s overwhelmingly sad and tragic. These sides combined have given me perspective when I’ve needed it and taught me much about the importance of how we engage with our surroundings.

Do you have any ideas about the outcome of the project and what format it might take on?

I think the project could work really effectively in book form. I haven’t produced a book yet so I’m taking my time and treating this aspect of the project as sensitively as I did in the beginning. I feel a book could deal with the varied material in the project well, whilst maintaining the narrative given that the project draws on my own photography, archival material, other photographic sources and text.

The project in exhibition form is something I’d like to explore too.  All in all, I want to share the work here at home, further afield, and importantly back in Camelle and Galicia.


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