How did you get started?
As an artist I had spent lots of time on my own, and lots of time trying to earn money from home as a single parent. I resolved to make ebay part of my income and would trawl car boot sales for things I could sell. This directly led to me taking photos, or portraits as I saw it, of objects which would at first glance seem very ordinary and without any potential. I would try to take the best photos I could and, looking back, it was this process which gave me my initial photographic discipline and practice. I also had a blog (which no one really looked at) for a couple of years before Instagram came along, where I detailed every day details in photo stories. So I was an Instagram sitting duck!
Where do you find inspiration?
I generally find inspiration all over the place. One morning I might wake up feeling like I just need red and green on the table, other days I may need pink. I tend to go out into the garden with a cup of tea every morning, whatever the weather, and just have a really good look at all sorts of things and usually something will trigger my imagination, but I like to keep an open mind, some days nothing happens. Other times I really like to work with stuff which I don’t instinctively think will work, like really awkward objects or colours. And sometimes I do make them work, but often the process of experimenting with them leads me onto a more interesting composition.
How do you decide what to share and what to keep private?
I made a decision a while ago to only put things out there which felt creative, but which were also genuinely part of my life. My life with my son is very precious, as is my private life with my partner, and none of us want that bit of our lives to be ’shared’ publicly, so I share how I look at things; colours, objects, shapes, shadows, landscapes and inspirations. This is what feels important to me visually, so people can have a look at things through my eyes, but feel their own thoughts. 'Life envy’ is an omnipresent part of social media and I wold rather play into people’s imaginations with creative ideas and inspiration rather than any version of advocating a particular way of life.
Any tips and tricks to your photos?
Always, always make sure things are straight and sharp. Try and connect with how you feel about what you’re photographing before you edit. Tease out the beauty and the colour like you're enhancing the moment, rather than changing it. I also always like to try and take in loads of details of things so that when it comes to taking the final photo, I really feel like I know the subject well.
What camera and editing software do you use?
I use an iPhone 7, although sometimes a 6s, and I edit with Instagram tools (yes, really!). I occasionally use the Photoshopfix app too if I want to remove a bag of rubbish in the background or something.
How would you describe your Instagram aesthetics?
My Instagram aesthetics are colour and texture based. I like to show the richness and vibrancy in life, particularly within domestic, everyday situations and objects. My aesthetics always have a strong element of colour and texture running through, which I feel reflects how I respond to the world. For example, if I’m cycling by a field of corn on a sunny day, it’s the greens and the blues which arrest my eye. If I’m arranging a flat lay with purples and greens, it’s the colours which will jump out at you, giving you something to take you out of the mundane and lift your spirit with brightness.
Tell us something no one knows about you. I have a 3 octave vocal range and can impersonate a variety of divas including Judy Garland, Eartha Kitt, Shirley Bassey, Edith Piaf and Björk.
What’s been your favourite piece of creative work to date?
Probably the photo I took yesterday! But that will only last until the next one I take! It sort of goes like that with my photographs; I like posting the day I create the image, and I move on pretty quickly.
However I worked on a project for The History of Modern Biomedicine earlier this year which was a really difficult subject to get started on creatively, but after a while I really got into the whole thing and was SO excited about how I kept being inspired to do loads of new things as a direct result, so I did feel really proud of that whole piece of work particularly as I had felt out of my comfort zone.
In terms of my paintings, I have 2 favourite pieces: 'The Taste of Harvey’s Blue Label Beer’ (an abstract utilising my synaesthesia) and another one called ‘Summer Ferry'. I’m really attached to these 2 paintings for some reason.
The best thing about being a creator?
I can spend my whole day using my imagination and disappearing into an aesthetic wormhole. And, more importantly, I get to have an afternoon nap at home!
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Don’t just do 'a really good job’ which pleases people, make sure you you go out on a limb and express how you feel even if it’s not what people think they want. yYu may come up with something they couldn’t even have imagined. In a nutshell, be much braver!
Thanks, Philippa! You can find out more about her here @5ftinf