I’m the sort of person that’s much happier working for myself. After a short period of thinking that I had been rash as I now didn’t have a job, I realised that one must be true to one’s self and I had made the right decision to leave a bad and unreasonable situation. So with a bunch of odd jobs to help pay the bills, including learning various new skills (such as how to restore furniture, which I may talk about later this year), I decided that people were what I wanted to photograph, where a lot of my interest had started.
I will not lie to you, this was a lot of hard graft! I managed to get myself work shooting model portfolios, actors casting pictures, theatre work, music publicity and live music. Wow, how much fun is live music! This is my second love and there was nothing better to get the endorphins and adrenalin going than being down in the pits photographing some of the greatest bands and musicians. It’s also worth pointing out that hardly any women were photographing live music so I loved the fact that I had to push my way through to the front of all these big burly press men – they didn’t believe in being polite to a woman!!
By now a lot of my personal work had taken a much darker turn, which was the beginning of the true expression of what was going on inside of me.
It took me a long time to come to terms with the loss of my mother and I’m still working on that today. The other factor that influenced my work at this time reflects the five years of working inequality. The behaviour I had to absorb towards me from a lot of men quite frankly would cause a storm today; blatant sexual discrimination of the highest order which should have resulted in big trouble for their treatment of a female worker amongst them. I kept telling myself that I had achieved something; I had to be strong to get the job I wanted despite all the negativity and lack of help from people around me. And yes I had up to a point, but the positive energy it took from me had not made me happy and was replaced by dark feelings and negativity about myself.
This wasn’t all doom and gloom as I soon realised that tapping into this ‘dark energy’ could be used for positive work! I was enjoying the fact that I could express freely what I felt inside, and it was influencing new work I was involved with. This included creating masks, theatrical setups with people, people in the shadows, broken down buildings, and even self-portraits! The freedom I had working freelance gave me more confidence and space to just go out there and do it!
Talk to most photographers and they will have there own take on the start of mainstream digital photography. For a while, I had been battling with the pixel age! It was the thing to do but I love real film and printing in a darkroom. I was beginning to lose my passion in my commercial work as there I had to be digital to fit with client’s requirements and so once again I felt as if my grip on my freedom was going. I hope we don’t lose this process of photography. I guess there are comparisons to music in a way; the digital age is so instant and convenient, yet nothing can replace the experience of playing vinyl records.
Once I started to lose the passion I knew what I had to do – get out! I gave up the commercial work and decided that finally, I would just concentrate on the art I really wanted to do: strip everything back and translate my innermost thoughts, feelings and visions into artworks. To start with I just spent some time photographing however and wherever I wanted to, and although that did include people, much more came out of that. I realised that I didn’t just have to put people in the frame, I now wanted to put what I see in the frame.
I interpret and process so many things when I look at something; it could be just the interior of a washing machine yet I will emphasise the amazing geometric patterns I see there. I have always loved geometric abstraction and a lot of my work is just that, and with it, I’m trying to prove that a simple everyday item or scene can have so much else to it! With more time available now I got back to building things and started making small sculptures and dioramas in boxes. Its great fun imagining or recreating a scene. What I found intriguing is translating a well known saying into a miniature 3D diorama! Having to make tiny things with detail and finding things to make them with is great fun. This is something I will spend some time on over the coming months discussing, and hopefully encourage some of you to have a go yourself.
So I finally found my way forward! It took a while to get my head around making a living from this but its the best thing I have done so far. I started out with a lot of art fairs around the country and have now moved on to more online galleries like www.saatchiart.com/lindachapman and www.artfinder.com/linda-chapman#/. It’s the start of so much more, so many ideas, plus so many lovely people that buy and say such good things about your work fuels the passion further. What’s not to like!
Hope you will stick around for the journey too!