We are so thrilled to launch this ‘In The Studio With’ feature where we chat to the latest addition to the team, photographer Lily Bertrand-Webb. Her first PE collection, 'The Precious Stone', is a wonderful photographic series of the peoples, landscapes, and memories of Britain through her eyes.
Here we get to know more about her background, her inspiration, and the challenges she faced after losing her hearing from a young age, and how she overcomes them through her art and visual communication.
How did you become an artist, what's your training and background?
Born and bred West Londoner of half Dominican & half English heritage and after losing my hearing from a young age I wear a cochlear implant, which replaces acoustic hearing with electric - never one to be held back she taught herself to lipread.
It is through photography and film where I am able to visually accentuate my other senses – from the way I observe my surroundings, to my affection for sheer colour bliss. I always strive for my work to be a visual representation of my experience of the world as a half deaf and half hearing person. As an artist, I am constantly searching for the imitation of sounds in my daily life, through both silence and the electronic sounds that my cochlear implant gives me.
I graduated from Bournemouth Arts Institute in 2011 with a BA Photography degree, and went on to do a summer internship with the artist and filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson. I then went on to work for a small photography gallery Fitzrovia for a couple of years where I was fortunate to work with the iconic photographer Dorothy Bohm.
The Tree and The Boys by Lily Bertrand-Webb, 2016.
What are your influences - generally and specifically for this collection? Are there certain artists, subjects or movements that inspire your work in particular?
Nan Goldin for her honest snapshots of her friends and family, Lee Miller for her special Surrealist eye for the uncanny or strange, Saul Leiter for his exquisite timeless colour photographs of New York, Wolfgang Tillmans for his honest portraits of the youth, Juergen Teller for his eccentric party like snaps.
I’m also obsessed with the Surrealist group in the 1930s. It was a wild group, Picasso, Lee Miller, and Man Ray.
"Swan-like Embrace, Paris" by Nan Goldin, 2001.
The Lady in West London by Lily Bertrand-Webb, 2016.
What does your process look like? Why do you choose to work with this type of photography?
I am driven by the desire to capture and freeze time through the shutter of my analogue cameras. Nothing quite beats the feeling of shooting on film. I intuitively chase natural light and settings in order to depict the most honest version of my sitters. I am constantly inspired by my family, my friends, and strangers along the way. Once I finish the roll in my camera, I then set off to my darkroom, Artful Dodgers. They process and develop the rolls for me. I then have a chat with my printer, where we would spend the day discussing the printing.
What emotions or responses do you hope to create for the viewer with your work?
I use the camera as a tool/vessel to communicate with the world. I hope that through my lens, the viewer is left.
Is there a quote you would like to share that represents this collection?
This Precious Stone
This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,–
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England
The Ice Cream and The Green Car, Ireland by Lily Bertrand-Webb, 2020.
The series would create an understanding of the wealth of beauty, culture, and vitality that lives on this “precious stone set in the silver sea”
My photographs celebrates the jewels of Britain, the cityscapes and country life.
A collection of modern-day Britain, urban and rural, daytime outdoors stuff as well as fashionable nightlife shots. From the urban London streets to the rural Yorkshire Moores/wild Cornish Heath/ Wild Cornish waves.
The Party Girl, Scotland by Lily Bertrand-Webb, 2017.
The Scaffolding, London by Lily Bertrand-Webb, 2017.