(glo worm press published this piece first & we really love them a lot)
francesca mary jane received her first camera 6 years ago (at age 14). she is fairly new to film photography, having only really put the digital camera down to snap some disposables at summer festivals in the past, but recently, francesca inherited her dad's old film camera, fell in love with it, then found a vintage Olympus OM10 SLR to add to her collection. she started using expired rolls for practice, intending to use in-date film later on, but she never made the switch. it's hard not to grow fond of the intensified colour and grain of old film (also, the price). here's a look at francesca's first year in manchester and some insight into her life and work:
"My photographs are of my day-to-day surroundings and the people I spend time with. Some of my favourite photos feature the friends I’ve made since moving to Manchester. Moving away from home is a pretty scary experience and the process of making new friends can be difficult but I’ve been lucky enough to meet some amazing people (some of whom I've even traveled abroad and to different cities across the UK with). I’ve tried to capture us exploring and just the general experiences we've shared, both inside and outside of Manchester."
"When I go out, I usually try to take my camera. The content and location of my photographs are rarely planned. My first year halls are very central, so I’m within walking distance of some great places in Manchester. My favourite place is, without a doubt, a random car park I came across one day. I always manage to take some breathtaking photographs from the top floor - particularly of sunsets. There’s something about a city skyline that can make a simple sunset photograph so much more interesting."
"It’s hard to get away from the fact that my photographs have a common theme of urban lifestyle. Whether I’m at university or at home, I’m always in a big city. I think it's an advantage, as I love the things you can capture and experience in this environment. Art, music, different cultures - I’m always inspired, no matter what city I’m in. So, with summer starting and another two years of University ahead, I’m excited for the new experiences I'll have, the new people I'll meet and capturing these progressions in my photography."
Tiegan Dakin is a teenage writer and artist. Her work of many varieties appears or is forthcoming in After the Pause and Up the Staircase Quarterly, among others. She is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Drowning Gull, an associate editor for Zoetic Press, and an interview contributor for cahoodaloodaling. Tiegan enjoys writing poetry and also reading the works of Brenda Shaughnessy, one book of whose she has reviewed on her book and TV blog, Heart, what art are you? . You can find out more about her at her personal blog.
"These images represent an insecurity of vanity within my poems, and how female artists often feel pressured to be 'hot' while also making good work. I want to critique how impersonal reading a poem can be. The text interrupts the selfie, (and vice versa), as an inner dialogue, but also so that the reader is forced to look at my face while reading the poem. When the poet is revealed, the wall obstructed, the poem can be seen as more real. Poetry's stereotype is that it's 'hard to understand' - historically, only a small group of academic, elite people hold the knowledge to 'get' poetry. This is changing, though. Through the internet, personal texts and personal pictures are accessible to everyone, constantly whirling around - people feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts, with this barrier. The poem/selfie project acknowledges that - by posting fractions of my face and my words, I am reaching out for someone to understand, while aware that no one ever really can."
Delia Rainey is a writer, artist, and musician living in St. Louis, MO. Her band is called Dubb Nubb. She loves lemons. Her poetry has been featured or forthcoming in Spy Kids Review, Pleiades, Potluck Magazine, Sweet: A Literary Confection, Cactus Heart, The Sensation Feelings Journal, Pajama Party Zine, and Western Humanities Review.
Oh Color Milks is a collaboration project between Elise Mesner and PAX Ceramics.
Sea Foam Thoughts
We love Elise Mesner's work. It's luminous and it's whimsical. It manages to be glamorous without a hint of pretension. Her photography has a distinct energy, which translates into fixed scenes and objects radiating life / effervescence / enchantment. Colours rule her projects, somehow carrying airs of being both expertly curated and wildly carefree. Filled with interesting perspectives, pallettes and compositions, her lens dusts people, landscapes and articles with some sort of rare magic.
And the subjects of Oh Color Milk? Well, we have a strong affinity for ceramics in general. There's a history, process and tangible result. We have nothing but praise for those who use their hands and minds for creation. Speaking about PAX specifically, we love the application of modern colour gradients to minimal, artifact-like structures in the "breakfast club" (debut line, pictured below). Seeing traditional mediums combined with a fine eye for design and quality product is always a delight. Kitchens rejoice! Also, let's be honest - we'd probably set these all over our houses and not just in our kitchens because they're really pretty.
Detroit native Elise Mesner (now based in Los Angeles) is an eclectic-minded painter, illustrator, fashion/costume designer, stylist, taste maker, cross-media artist, singer-songwriter and fine art photographer working and dipping into all arty media. Creamy colors, plants, fresh air, and drops of neon rule her world. With whimsy forever as her guide, she's known for creating idyllic dreamscapes, both in front of and behind the camera, as well as on the canvas. Mesner's artwork has garnered solo and group shows at local galleries, including the Detroit Institute of Arts. Her photography has been featured in several print publications and in other incarnations, including album covers and recipe books. You can visit her website at elisemesner.com and find her on Instagram @lellopepper.
PAX Ceramics (California)
PAX combines contemporary design methods with time-honored production techniques. Our process starts with hand-sketching and wheel throwing, refining forms in CAD programs and 3D-printing prototypes. The pieces are then handmade in Los Angeles. Creative references for the debut line—titled the “breakfast club”—include the forms of Japanese, Scandinavian and Bauhaus master ceramicists. The beauty found where simplicity meets usefulness. Closer to home, we are in constant awe of California’s natural environment, particularly during the golden hour, which inspired our gradient glaze. PAX was founded by Mia Herron Kantor in 2015 based on a lifelong love of ceramics and exceptional design. Available for purchase exclusively at www.paxceramics.com. You can also find PAX on Instagram @pax.la.
Much of my work is driven by experiences of migration and their impact on establishing a complex, multi-layered identity and self-awareness. In addition, by exploring nontraditional approaches and working across a variety of media, I attempt to highlight different ways to reflect upon the human condition. With street photography, I love presenting unexpected perspectives and capturing what is typically overlooked. My photography appears in such places as Up the Staircase, Blue Mesa Review, Calyx, Gone Lawn, Buffalo Almanac, Gravel, Rattle and Synesthesia Magazine
something we love about this section of your site is how natural the images look. it's been said that professional artist or band shots can sometimes be awkward in that they can feel stiff or staged. how do you manage to take such candid photographs that still look like they belong in a music editorial?
i think there are many factors that play into candidness of my photographs. the first one being that everyone is excited that i use film and there's something that clicks in them that helps them loosen up a bit. i'm also fairly gentle with my approach. i let everyone do what feels comfortable and i give little to no direction. a friend of mine told me to pretend i've been friends with everyone and that has helped me not get too anxious before a shoot. keeping that in mind, i try to crack bad jokes about the weather and i believe everyone plays off that energy.
self portraits / self reflections
as a feminist publication, we are deeply moved by your self portraits, so excuse us while we take a moment to thank you for sharing your magnificent skin with the world. we want to leave this one pretty open ended - can you tell us a bit about any inner monologues reflected in these photographs and their process?
i am an extroverted introvert and i'm constantly having moments where i'm overwhelmed with my own existence. a professor in college instructed me to find the one thing that terrifies me and to photograph that because at the time, i was playing it safe with my work. i mean, i still kind of am because i'm constantly evolving and trying to figure out what it is i want my work to be, but i'm a little less afraid now. everything i do is intentional from the clothing i'm wearing to how i am looking at the camera.
each photograph is like a diary entry. "i took one of the best showers today." "wouldn't it be funny if i took a photograph of my butt during our private seminar at the getty?"
where are your favourite places and what are your favourite circumstances to shoot portraits of others in?
i love photographing people in their homes. in cars. in open spaces. mid-speech. slightly posed. not posed. i let my subjects (my friends) do whatever they want, really. it's just as much their photograph as it is my own. i studied photojournalism before transferring to an art school and i still carry that storytelling with me. the "capture what you see and don't move anything" mantra echoes in the back of my head whenever i'm photographing my friends. i try my best to keep everything simple.
i'm currently working on an ongoing series titled invite me into your life where i photograph people in their bedrooms. it first started as a project on my classmates between the ages of 18 and 25, but i've since let go of the age restrictions simply due to the fact that at any age, our bedrooms best reflect us. i will more than likely release a small zine of my work in progress sometime this year.
you also have a great eye for objects and spaces most of us might not take a second glance at. is this a skill you feel you've trained yourself in or a natural talent? additionally, some of the photos in this section of your site invoke significant emotion, despite being inanimate objects. do you find the objects that catch your photographic eye reflect your inner mood?
i think photographing spaces came naturally to me. i mean, i'm a half self-taught photographer and half-art school graduate (meaning i could have easily gone without going to school for photography but i wanted to learn more theory and work in a darkroom so i enrolled). i've always been interested in the absence of a person in a space that's used frequently.
my mood when i photograph is usually on the calmer side. i'm introspective and when i'm not talking a million miles an hour, i'm observing. my photographs of spaces and objects is usually because the light hit something in a way i needed to remember. along with my self-reflections, my still life photographs are acting as an entry to my visual diary. without giving away too much– because i want the viewer to engage with the photographs in a way that resonates with them without my guidance– i make a mental note of how i'm feeling and take a quick photograph to remember how the light hit something. it's the details, the little things, that interest me.
we love the combination of text and photography that makes this digital space feel like a peek into a diary. we felt as if we experienced the world from your eyes. if you're comfortable, can you share with us any moments from this section of photos that stand out in your heart or mind and why?
one of my favorite projects in the second section is .twentythree.
when i was 15 i had a crush on the new kid in school. after a few months he transferred out of our high school and we lost touch. while he was at school, he'd tell me about new bands to listen to and i credit him as the first person to show me interpol.
we reconnected years later and after many failed attempts, we met up at my favorite cafe for the first time in 8 years. everything was friendly at first and i half-jokingly told him he should visit me in portland and he spent part of my spring break with me. it was unspoken, but we started dating and i unknowingly started documenting our time together. i half knew it wouldn't last after the summer because i still had a few months left in college, but part of me wanted it to. it's probably weird to have a favorite ex, but he is mine simply because throughout it all- the beginning, spring break, our summer, the time after it all ended- he was gentle and kind and understanding and did his absolute best to let me know he meant everything. it was also a mutual thing. we both knew we were better off as friends, but i still think it hurt me more than it hurt him.
another favorite section is my series momma. i wasn't nice to my family growing up, especially my mom. she's been sick since i was in my mid-teens and i started photographing her at the end of 2007 when i purchased my first film camera. it was my way of trying to spend time with her without actually saying i wanted to spend time with her.
i spent two weeks in georgia with my mom and her side of the family. we spent an afternoon in her hometown of albany with her cousin sandy. i vaguely remember the home from the last time we were there when there was a big flood in albany in the mid '90s. my mom is my queen and this photograph was the first one i've made of her that she's proud of. i mean, she loves all my photographs, but this is the one she used on every social media site.
i was born and raised in the san fernando valley in a city called sylmar, but instead of giving people a geography lesson, i simply tell everyone i'm from los angeles. my love language is film and my work is heavily influenced by my longstanding obsession with the word "home." i graduated from pacific northwest college of art with my b.f.a in photography in 2013 and i've been trying to make sense of it all ever since. on the first tuesday of every month you can catch me at the echoplex in the photo booth in between screaming along to my favorite pop punk and emo songs at taking back tuesday.
invite me into your life, let's talk about our favorite bands. (mine is brand new)
we asked zoe to tell us a bit about herself and her influences. we are captivated by depictions of youth, both fragile and resilient, as well as airs of immediacy and nostalgia in her work. here is what she had to say:
photography is one of my passions because i love the power of visual media and emotion. i shoot a mix of film and digital. for film, i shoot on my canon AE-1 (currently broken) and what is available in my film photography class. for digital, i recently purchased a Sony a7ii. it is a stunning camera that has really allowed me to step up my low-light photography work.
i live in marin county, california. it is important to acknowledge the negative and positive influences of my home. i'm grateful to have grown up in this safe and beautiful city, surrounded by a variety of exciting locations. there are also flaws here that have influenced me as an artist and as a person. i'm most influenced by marin's culture of complaining. it has subconsciously encouraged me to see beauty and blessings all around me. i'd say that most of my photography has a mood of enchantment. maybe this is more true for me than my viewers, since i'm photographing and sharing what i'm enchanted by.
my photography is driven by emotion. i do not rely on the element of composition to photograph. sure, i compose my shots, but always try to emphasize an emotion. emotion is the truth of a moment. i primarily photography people. human consciousness, and how people behave, feel and express emotion really fascinates me.
as i move forward, i hope to progress as a lifestyle photographer and to keep working with all different beautiful people. i want to empower everyone, especially to recognize beauty that has been marginalized or repelled for so long. i also want to do some work as a photojournalist. i don't believe in relying on art to change the world. i hope to be an activist for several issues and occasionally use photography as a weapon alongside whatever else I'm doing to facilitate change.
zoe is a passion enthusiast, who lives by and through hers. she encourages others to do the same. you can find her on instagram @zoathexplora.
FAKING IT, a photo series
The artist creates a tangible description of her chronic diseases, endometriosis and IBS, which are often deemed as fake diseases, and although severe, are not recognized by society.