Interview with Rough mag

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Holly Falconer is a photographer who documents the daily grind in an extraordinary way. Her sharp imagery, and use of eye-catching backgrounds have an intense and distinctive palette. Fully engaged and intrigued, ROUGH simply had to get the low-down straight from Holly herself.

Where are you from?

A place with more sheep than people called Painswick, in the West Country.

What was it like growing up there?

It was actually great – much better than being a city kid in some ways… My teens were a mixture of cider-fuelled field parties and cheesy but hilarious clubbing in local towns. I remember pouring over magazines like the Face and i-D with my friends, craving more access to gigs etc… but mainly it was pretty fun.

When did you first get into photography?

When I was a child – my Dad had an old Canon SLR from the seventies and I used to play around with it, snapping my sisters and friends. I just always remember getting a kick out of it…

What does photography mean to you?

I like the way it’s an art form that’s deceptively immediate. On the one hand, you’re building an illusion of documenting a fact, but it’s also very much a personal myth-making perspective on a friend or situation. I come from a very Christian background, and I used to stare at the stained glass windows at church for hours – they’re basically amazing gaudy ads for saints. Now, I try to play on that with my work – why not make idols out of your friends? Or make celebrities look as normal as possible?

Does your personality come out in your work?

Yeah I reckon so! I’ve always been a bit of a daydreamer – my pics seem to end up having an escapist feel to them. I’m pretty fun/ have a good-ish sense of humor etc… this feels like a personal ad so I’ll stop there…

What are your influences?

Absolutely everything. I think Celine Dion once said that she avoids listening to other people’s music in case her own songwriting gets tainted. Which is hilarious.

My friends especially – sometimes a day hanging out with your mates can be just as inspiring as going to a gallery…

What themes would you say are constant in your work?

Finding beauty in ordinary things, always avoiding a conventional perspective on a situation/ idea, and COLOUR.

What to date would you say has been your best/favorite piece of work?

I’ve always loved this portrait – “Sho”, 2010. In some ways, it’s a very traditional portrait – she’s surrounded by her possessions like some kind of traditional painting of a merchant surrounded by his wealth. I’ve photographed her in quite a “feminine” way too: it’s shot in a very soft light, and she almost looks coy. But nothing is quite perfect – the flowers aren’t full-grown and faultless like the seed packet sign, she’s got a skull on her arm, and the window next to her is cracked. I’m not a fan of the prescriptive, Disney woman – every little girl’s bought up on that ideal. Hopefully she’s giving a little “fuck you” to that cliche in this image.

Has your work been compared to other artist?

Not as far as I know…

If you weren’t doing this what do you think you would be doing?

I’d be a journalist, that’s what I originally trained for, but I got distracted along the way…

What projects are you working on at the moment?

A project on asexuals – I hope to show it next year, it’s just about finished. It’s been so interesting documenting a group of people who are so opposite to our sex-centric society.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Doing what I’m doing still I reckon! I’d like to live in New York and Berlin at some point too…