Rising Phoenix Studios young writer Keagan Belbin chats with Devonport artist & photographer Saskia Littlewood:
- Your photography/art has a very unique tone and voice to it, what ideologies lie behind your chosen style?
My photography is mainly landscape-based though I’m not strictly a “landscape photographer”. I generally make images of what is around me, using my iPhone 6s.
I then “blend” my images on the phone using Apps. Sometimes I include plain images with these in a series, meaning I don’t adjust or filter them.
I aim to conceal or change the familiar. This is not to confuse people, but to bring about a certain level of recognition or of curiosity, and changing people’s perceptions of a place.
I use architectural elements and natural elements as symbols and metaphors. Historically landscape photography (and painting) can act as metaphors for human emotion and experience.
My work references this history but I’m using a relatively new way of creating and exhibiting photographs.
The technology itself is a part of my themes. I blend technique with the ideas/concepts. The techniques are part of and often transparent in the finished art work. I use contemporary and industrial materials to print my photographs onto.
- You previous exhibition, ‘An Obscured Landscape’ was in October of last year, how do you feel now, about the work you put out?
I feel really happy about the work I made for An Obscured Landscape. It was not only about landscape but trying to find a way to convey the idea of filters of consciousness and the landscape of Devonport. I wanted to make something very contemporary. It was a specific series of challenges to create that project, including working out how to enlarge the images to a big size, and to find a material to print onto which would highlight my ideas. I wanted the final images on the wall to look like lit iPhone screens.
- You use an iPhone and iPad, rather than traditional cameras, for your pieces. What inspired you to choose this medium, and how do you feel it compares to the use of a camera, both in say its limitations and advantages?
My training is in film and digital SLR photo-imaging, and the thing that inspired me to start making images with iPhone (I started with the 5), was that it was very versatile and easy to use. Everyone uses them everywhere, especially on and for social media. The iPhone6s I have now is bigger and heavier with a large screen, so that makes in camera editing easier. I enjoy how everything you need is in the one place, including emails, facebook, the net etc. I like taking selfies with the phone and thinking of ways I could use these in future. I don’t delete much, I back up my photos to USB because you never know how an image may inspire you later. The limitations are the aperture size and the related file size. But these are problems that I turned to my advantage.
- What can you tell me about what you have planned for your next project for the triad 1 show?
I shot my images for triad 1 in one day. This was the plan because I had a very specific theme, and I had a model. Also, it was a sunny day and rain was forecast for the rest of that week.
I focused on the skating scene in Devonport and went to the skate park, where I made mostly slow-motion videos. I then used my phone to create still images from these videos. These were then run through Video and Photo Apps.
For some reason the sculptural forms I found, both in the environment and in the figures and movements of the skaters, reminded me of a Giorgio de Chirico painting.
Slowing everything right down allowed me to capture some of the skating “in flight”, so it ended up being about Time and Space, as well as being an emotional experience.
I found some music which seemed to sync well with the resulting slides I made.
- The arts community in Tasmania, especially in the North West, is a small but passionate one. What advice would you have for budding Devonport artists, looking to find their own artistic voice?
My advice to other artists who may be emerging, is to aim to produce innovative work, and to narrow down beginning ideas to a single idea. Art isn’t prescriptive it’s better to start with simple ideas and build as you go. The original concept can become quite complex, just in the doing, then you need to re-evaluate as you go.
You need some computer skills in the digital environment. Time management for projects are critical I find. If it is for a gallery for example, there are deadlines to meet and communications to keep up.
Lastly, the techniques you use need to combine well or interestingly with your ideas. It’s no use having all of the ideas if they are not well-executed, and there’s a reason for using these techniques in the first place.