Guest Speaker: Rachel Brown
Rachel came into university to discuss her professional practice as a photo director with Bazaar Magazine in addition to her personal practice as a documentary film photographer.
I was heavily interested in her professional work because as a photographer this is often where people actually make their living and use it to fund their personal practice. I was fascinated in the complexity and scale of the work that goes into a single magazine shoot. The only magazines that I really read are ‘Cyclist Mag’ whose photography is so beautiful and doesn’t appear to have a huge team behind them, unlike these beauty magazines. She recalled back to a major turning point in her professional practice which was during a shoot for Tim Walker. Rachel explained that when she saw the scale and intricate detail of the shoot, she loved the idea of being the choreographer for such a shoot and gained lots of experience under the wing of Tim Walker. This fashion experience is what led her to the role of photography director.
Her personal work comes in the form of documentary film photography in projects such as ‘The Household Cavalry’ which she had begun in 2019 however had to be put in hold. This project looks to document The Queens Guard giving an insight to an often closed off faction of the military. In addition to this project, ‘Simulations’ which she did when in America involving many different people from many different classes within America. Taking photos often on her own and at night in unfamiliar locations to create a sense of displacement which she tries to convey through her images.
Shooting much of her work almost exclusively on medium format cameras she explained her process on getting a good photo when working film requires patience and often, she brings a smaller polaroid camera to give an instant view of what she wants to ensure the settings are right. This was interesting for me as film documentary and street photography is something that I would like to get into. I feel as though film photography is making a big comeback as the younger generations enjoy the dated aesthetic of 35mm film as well as the mechanical feel of the cameras which is difficult to replicate with modern DSLR’s and mirrorless.