The Archive of Jemma B

This September marks my tenth year of practicing and studying photography. So to mark the occasion I will be sharing, deep from within the archives (my closet), the wins, the fails, the notes and the ideas that have spanned those ten years.

Whilst this seems a very self indulgent celebratory retrospective it also serves a purpose; to rekindle my love for photography.

Over the last few years my passion for the art form has diminished; not only because I’m emotionally drained from raising a child but also the “state” that photography is in at the moment feels somewhat soulless and saturated with the “Instagram photographer”. It’s kitsch.

But I also must admit that I’ve become lazy and have lost touch with Contemporary Photography, only skimming the occasional BJP Magazine and Love. I haven’t even been to an exhibition since my daughter was born. For that, the artist in me, is ashamed.

Preparing my old work, just quickly giving it a timeline, has already been emotional.
I remember making every print, processing every negative and all the sociology (personal: family, friends, romances etc) that surrounded me. It’s all bought back some happy and very unhappy memories, some of which I will expand upon as we go.

But to begin, let me explain how this all started.

I had finished my GCSE’s and had chosen As Photography to “supplement” my As Art. I also chose English and Textiles, but I viewed them as formalities, something to get through; I wanted to be an Artist. Something I had decided at 14 after a visit to The Tate.

I wanted to create paintings that would bring grown men to their knees! Beautiful images full of emotion and tension that would question reality. I wanted to win the Turner Prize!

I was also 16, terribly in love and obviously a “grown up”. This was also the dawn of Emoism. Whilst I wasn’t archetypal, I was definitely full of angst (though in all fairness it was justified*) and dramatic.

Despite the romantic imagery of the tortured artist that I created, I was determined. I was constantly drawing or painting. My workbooks from school were covered in doodles. Art was all consuming and a wonderful escapism and a way coping*. There was no career alternative.

In fact it wasn’t until the 2nd year of collage that I thought photography could be “my thing”. But really it wasn’t until I failed to get onto any Art degree courses after my Foundation, went through UCAS Extra and got a place to study at Kingston that I truly realised that I wanted to be a Photographer.

So, as I previously explained, these blog posts are an exploration (somewhat therapeutic) into the why, and to reunite myself with that determination and need to create. And if nothing else, you’ll laugh at some of my super cool “design” choices!

I hope you enjoy.

*My father has Aplastic Anemia and 2 years previous to starting college had his spleen removed, and one year previous to starting college my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Both are now in remission.

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