Hi Jo – is this the first time you’ve taken part in Artists Open Houses?
Yes this is my first time. I also have the space all to myself so that’s really exciting! I’ve been lucky to find Dan and Jin – the owners of the house – to exhibit my work.
Can you tell us a bit about your work?
My work is a selection of travel images spanning a period of almost 15 years. I first started out when I went on a solo trip to Asia after finishing my photography degree at Brighton Uni. Armed with my camera and a load of slide film (pre digital days!) I travelled through South East Asia, photographing everything along the way and developed my love for travel photography. I found I particularly loved photographing people. When I returned to the UK I was lucky enough to find a job working in the photography department of a well know tour operator and I’ve been shooting travel imagery both commercially and personally ever since. My personal work almost always includes people but I also love shooting landscapes when I can.
Which countries have you most enjoyed working in?
I recently went to Sri Lanka which I have to say is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been. I especially loved the old trains up in the mountains which is a great place to take portraits. Trains are always wonderful for people watching. Being in transit somehow makes us all a bit more voyeuristic I think! Sri Lanka has it all – lush mountains, tropical beaches, surfing and amazing food. I also totally fell in love with Cuba. Havana in particular is like stepping into a film set and has fantastic street life, architecture and colours.
Are people generally happy to have their portraits taken in the street?
Mostly yes. I feel it is always a bit of a delicate dance approaching people for a portrait. I think after a while you develop an instinct and sense who is open to it and who is not. Most people seem flattered but you have to engage with them – otherwise people can feel violated. No hiding round a corner with a long lens! This is what I love about street portraiture. You can communicate with people via the camera even though you might not share a common language. Sometimes it takes extra courage to approach a stranger but it is worth it if you can have that interaction and come away with a good shot.
Do you have any interesting stories about chance encounters or friendships you have made this way?
I lived in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain for a few years where I met a local goat herder – Ramon. He passed the house every day with the goats and so one day I asked if I could go out walking with him to take some shots. It was a lovely afternoon and even though my Spanish is not great we got on well. I made him a book of the images I shot which he loved. Apparently his mum was very happy! There is a shot of Ramone included in the exhibition.
Have you always lived in Brighton?
I am not from Brighton originally. I grew up in Australia and lived for a while in Malaysia when I was 6 years old. My family have always travelled and moved so I think this is where I got my taste for it. Brighton has been my base since I came here to go to University.
Tell us a bit about your house and what you are most looking forward to in taking part in your first Open House?
The house I am exhibiting in is a converted stable mews property in the Brunswick area of Hove. Dan and Jin have done a great job of designing and transforming it into a wonderful space with a modern feel whilst also retaining some old features. I am exhibiting in the hallway entrance to the house.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
Just that I am very excited to be part of AOH and can’t wait for the festival season to begin!
2 Brunswick St W, Hove BN3 1WB, UK