Interview – Mull It Over

May 2014

Mull It Over Interview:

JONATHAN CHERRY: What did you want to be growing up?

ELLIE DAVIES: I wanted to be a sculptor. I got my own welding kit for my 16th Birthday, and made metal welded sculptures in the garden and in the art room at school. I was very lucky that my parents and my art teachers were very supportive and encouraging. It was an exciting time as I discovered new creative possibilities, often making studies in pastel, then maquettes in clay, and finally working in metal. I loved this long process and I think my photography now works in a similar way; from the making, to the capturing, retouching and finally printing and exhibiting.

JC: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?

ED: I’ve just been to visit some forests and crags in The Mendips and Cheddar Gorge near Bristol in the South West of the UK. My head is filled with new possibilities. I often find inspiration from walking and seeing new landscapes to work in, my ideas come from the landscape itself and seeing how I can work within it. I’m really looking forward to making new work in that part of the world.

JC: What are you up to right now?

ED: I am still working on my newest series called Between the Trees. I am off to the New Forest in the South of England in a couple of weeks to photography a stand of huge Oak trees bordering a large clearing with a covering of silver Oak Moss on the outer branches and twigs. I plan to make a series of images of these trees which may form a body of work that either sits alongside Between the Trees or may join the series.

JC: Have you had mentors along the way?

ED: I had a fantastic dark-room printing mentor called Melvin Cambettie Davies at Master Mono in London. He let me come in and print my college work from London College of Communication, and encouraged me to try all kinds of interesting papers and processes.

JC: Where are you based right now and how is it shaping you?

ED: I’m based in London but I travel regularly to the New Forest and Dorset to make work. I am a climber so I often combine climbing trips with making new work. My Gloaming series was made in a pine plantation in Plas Y Brenin in North Wales. I was there climbing with friends and discovered this incredibly atmospheric moss-carpeted forest so I went back at the end of each day climbing and made that series of work as the sun set. It felt very spooky and remote after dark though!

JC: One piece of advice to photography graduates?

ED: Stick together. Form groups to ‘crit’ each-other’s work and exhibit together. You will need to build your CV and it can be hard to get exhibitions straight away so pop-up shows and group shows in cheap spaces with fellow graduates is a great way to start to begin this process and to learn about exhibiting. Its hard when you leave college to find your place in the world as an artist so its great to have the support of your colleagues. When I left college I was part of Latitude Photographers who are all graduates of the London College of Communication Photography MA from 2007/2008.

I am also a member of Tripod photographic group which was set up by Miranda Gavin (Hotshoe Magazine) and Wendy Pye, photographer and Lecturer. Also, London Independent Photography and London Photographic Association.

JC: If all else fails – what is your plan B?

ED: I don’t have a Plan B yet, I’m working hard to make this work, it’s my life and my passion so I look ahead and keep working and I hope I never have to think of a Plan B.

JC: Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community?

ED: It’s very important, I work alone in the woods making my work, and I have a studio at home, so a creative community is essential to feed my creativity and be part of the world outside the woods.