Welcome to 'Where When How Wednesday'. In these weekly posts I'll be interviewing creatives about their journey into the creative world, their works, and what makes them tick. This week I'm interviewing Siren Arts, a talented photographer based in Fareham, Hampshire.
We should probably start at the beginning, when and how did you come about getting into the world of photography?
"I've been a model for quite some time so I knew a little about photography from that side, but getting behind the lens was quite by accident, really. I needed a fourth subject to take at college and someone suggested photography, so I gave it a go and that was that - I was hooked! I went on to do a Foundation Degree in Art, specialising in Photography and Graphics."
Photography can have it's share of problems. I personally have a particular problem with self confidence. This confidence issue can and has caused me issues with my photography. Do you find any aspects of photography particularly challenging?
"Self-confidence is an issue all creatives are plagued with, I think! I do like to challenge myself by trying different locations, lighting and editing techniques, but the biggest challenge for me is working within the constraints of my limited kit. That said, it's definitely made me a better photographer - I never want to be in the 'all the gear but no idea' camp."
Photography, especially online, tends to fall into specific genres and/or gets described as being a specific style. The trouble with this is it's quite subjective, the style someone views an image to be can often differ to the style the person creating it views it as. How would you describe the work you are putting out there?
"I like to think my work is feminine and interesting with a hint of narrative. I'm all about empowering women and making them look/feel beautiful (although I shoot guys too!). I guess I would class myself as a portrait photographer."
In my series 'Foto Inspiration Friday' I share the people, images, places etc that I find give me inspiration. Who, or what, or where do you draw inspiration from?
"I've become a bit lazy with my inspiration over the last couple of years - when I was studying, we had to look at the work of other artists constantly, and then it's hard not to be inspired. I use pinterest a lot and recently joined 500px, but I especially love Tim Walker, Katerina Plotnikova, Billy und Hells, Annie Leibovitz and Sally Mann, as well as literature, music and film."
Sometimes images hold a special significance to us. It can be the first image we ever made, it can be an image drawing attention to a cause close to our hearts, it can simply be an image of someone we love. Do you have an image or images that hold a special significance to you?
"An image of my brother springs to mind. He must have been about 4 at the time. I love children - I think they have a unique and honest outlook on the world that adults could learn a lot from, and it's really interesting to capture that on film. I also love taking images of my friends (often fellow models), even though a lot of them have their photograph taken professionally, because we change so much and so fast. I like the idea of looking back at these moments in years to come and remembering."
Photoshoots can sometimes leave you open to scary or funny situations. What's the scariest or funniest situation you've found yourself in because of photography?
"Luckily not too many scary situations, although I guess this one falls into both categories: during a shoot down on the beach, the model decided to light up a cigarette while I was faffing about with my kit. I heard a shriek and looked up to see that the wind had blown at just the wrong moment and the model had set fire to her hair and even her eyebrows! I spent the next ten minutes pulling scorched bits of hair off her face and clothing. Luckily she was unharmed and insisted we continue with the shoot - what a trooper!"
We've talked about your start in photography, we talked about your current work, let's quickly chat about the future. What have you got coming up this year, more of the same? any special projects? And in regards to a more long term plan, where are you hoping your creative journey will take you in the years to come?
"I'd like to shoot more weddings, but that means setting up a website, creating business cards and advertising, which is a lot for someone with not much spare time! So far I've just done a few for friends and family, but I've always loved the experience (and they've loved the photos). Besides that, I just want to keep progressing and getting better: maybe with some more designers/make-up artists. I'd also like to upgrade my kit but we'll see about that!"
We can't really talk photography without discussing gear, so...what is your 'go to' equipment that you find yourself gravitating towards the most on shoots?
"90% of the time I shoot on a Canon 600D with a 50mm 1.8. That's it, really - I don't think you need much gear to create great images. I also have the 18-55mm that my body came with, but that doesn't get much use, and a lensbaby spark that gets even less. One thing I never shoot without is my prism - all the blur and rainbows you see on my images are created in-camera, so I'm always on the lookout for shiny things to create pretty flare. In the future I'd like to get a 6D or even a 5D for better low-light work, so I'm saving those pennies."
Now for the shameless self promotion part of the interview...where can people find you and your work?
I'd like to thank Siren again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all of the links for more of her work.
Models, in order of appearance: Sarah Green (http://purpleport.com/portfolio/sarahg) wearing T-shirt by Retro Classic Clothing (http://www.facebook.com/RetroClassicClothing), Miss Pixie (http://misspixie.co.uk), Patience Pending (http://purpleport.com/portfolio/patiencepending), Cheryl Elizabeth (http://purpleport.com/portfolio/cherylelizabeth), Katie Green KRG (http://www.krgcreative.com), Cheryl Elizabeth (http://purpleport.com/portfolio/cherylelizabeth) wearing lingerie by Caitlin Arthur Lingerie (http://www.facebook.com/caitlinarthurdesign) with make-up by Siren Arts (blooming multi talented people!), Rebecca Edwards (http://purpleport.com/portfolio/rebeccaedwards) with hair, make-up and styling by Jules Robson (http://www.facebook.com/aabmakeupandhairartist) wearing a tiara by A Little Bird Dreams (http://www.facebook.com/alittlebirddreams)