Searching for UK Artists working with Film, creating inspirational series in contemporary styles, Caitlin Chescoe's work stood out to me. When you visit her website you're greeted with an image of a young, freckle faced boy with blonde hair and blue eyes wearing a white dust suit, standing against a concrete background. Immediately I knew I'd found someone I wanted to feature on the site, I could tell she understood the power of photography and could portray so much in just one single image. As a lover of the work of Alec Soth I sensed elements of his style coming through in Caitlin's series 'Phyllis' the project I asked to feature and as you will see in our Q&A, Caitlin finds inspiration in many relevant and contemporary photographers.
Artist: Caitlin Chescoe
Location: London, UK
Featured Project - 'Phyllis'
"Is there time in our busy lives to look after someone who cannot do so themselves?
I wanted to consider our ageing population, a generation who are an essential link to our past, yet are so often hidden away and forgotten in western culture. This project seeks to engage with this forgotten generation and reveal something of their lives."
SFUK: Tell us a little about yourself and your background in photography.
CC:My name is Caitlin Chescoe and I currently live and work in London as a portrait and social documentary photographer and a photographers assistant. I graduated from the Arts University Bournemouth with a BA (Hons) in photography last year in 2015.
SFUK: Why do you shoot film, have you always shot film & do you switch between digital and film?
CC: I have always shot film since I studied photography at school. I shot black and white originally and would spend all my breaks and lunchtimes in the dark room until I got to university and we had film scanners to scan colour film. This was where I got introduced to the Hasselblad and instantly fell in love with medium format film. When you shoot digitally, it changes the way you shoot as a photographer and I find with shooting portraits I need slow myself down and the sitter so that I don’t just sit there with my finger on the button the whole time and think about the scenario that I am posed with. There is definitely a time and place for digital but for personal work it will always be my go to.
SFUK: Who inspires you, any favourite people or places you frequently go to for inspiration?
I find just working with other creatives making great work inspires me to crack on and challenge myself with my own work.
SFUK: How would you describe your style of shooting?
CC: Slow. I like to talk with my subjects, find out about them, find some common ground. I hate having a camera pointed in my face so I can understand what my sitters might be feeling with me stood there with a camera in their face. For example I try to set myself a time, say 15 minutes, in which I keep my subject in front of the lens for as some people cannot get away quick enough and after a certain point all guards are let down which is when you get the best pictures.
SFUK: If you could have any camera in the world, which would you choose and why?
CC: A Hasselblad V series medium format camera. I have one and it is my favourite! It’s such a gorgeous camera, never fails to produce beautiful images and it just suits my way of shooting. By having the viewfinder on top it means you can connect more with your subject as you don’t have a camera in front of your face the whole time and I think people may feel less intimidated by it and more inquisitive as not a lot of people have seen one before whereas with a DSLR, everyones seen one of those.
SFUK: Do you have any plans for your next project?
CC:At present I am just finishing off installing a project I was commissioned for by The Brighton Photo Fringe Festival ’16 called Kings House: In Transition. Kings House has been the offices of Brighton and Hove City Council since 1996 and the activity inside has shaped the face of the city. The imminent sale of the building and relocation of the Council offices has received much local press coverage, but less attention has been paid to the social histories of the site. Kings House: In Transition celebrates the people and stories that have shaped the life of the building by inviting members of staff to share their experiences. The exhibition features portraits and oral histories collected as the Council staff begin the process of relocating.
Keep up to date with Caitlin's projects at www.caitlinchescoe.co.uk and follow her on tumblr www.caitlin-chescoe.tumblr.com.
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