EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE! LET LAUREN HILL EXPLAIN WHY…

Here at FlyAroundMyPrettyLittleMiss we have a soft spot for all things that take our fancy [haha yeah], and I personally studied art back in the day.

But sometimes things can get you down and you get totally bored of them (like my Arts degree) and you just let them go for a long time. What I’m alluding to is Art and Photography. I love photography, but sometimes you walk into a gallery and see such boring shots that you immediately walk away both bored and angry that no one seems to just get it!

Luckily our lovely friend JD Reforma is here. He emailed me about some hip new thang, a great artist with a keen sensibility who has managed to make photography something relevant and fun.

Enough to say I jumped at the chance to share her great talents with you cats.

INTRODUCING: LAUREN HILL!

Everything is Horrible (2008)

Everything is Horrible (2008)

 

Hey Lauren, So I have been looking you up (stalking) on the internets and love your photographic work. Can you tell us how you got into the work medium you explore today?

I got into photography by accident. Basically, in high school I’d elected to do Ancient History for the HSC and hated it. I needed to swap into another subject and photography was the only one with places left. Luckily, I loved it immediately. I have no idea why I hadn’t spent more time with photography before that, but thank god Ancient History sucked or I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s a bit of a blur between then and now, but since then my work has become very much inspired by those around me rather than it being the solitary hobby it started as, where I would take photographs of bus stops at a peculiar angle and think I was really arty.

 

The Dichotomy of Taste (2008)

The Dichotomy of Taste (2008)

 

How did you get in touch with the rad dude (aka FlyAroundMyPrettyLittleMiss’s own awesome friend JD Reforma) running SPIspace?

    

J.D. and I met at our first year at COFA. He left his Cat in the Hat pencil case behind in our printmaking introductory studies class and I took it home to give back to him later on. I think he’s still trying to pay me back for that good deed by giving me a show a SPIspace.

 

EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE is the name of your next show at SPIspace @ GAFFA. What is the show about?

    

The main focus is about things that are a bit “off”, sometimes even a little sinister. The show is really dependent on humour. I’ve grown a bit tired of photographs that are classically beautiful and would much prefer them to be gross or weird or funny. It’s my aim that those who visit the show take something away with them that’s more than “OMG those were pretty pictures!” I’m hoping they come away sufficiently amused/grossed out/disturbed. If I see someone cringing, I know I’ve done a good job.

 

Couch/Tree (2010)
Couch/Tree (2010)

 

You mention in your artists’ statement that you explore the”relationship between perfectly staged (and potentially digitally manipulated) images and more spontaneous, flawed photographs”, what critical and aesthetic conclusions did you arrive at, at the end of your body of work?

That trying to make something look amateur when you’ve been studying photography for five years is HARD. I’m not saying I’m a photo-master or anything, I just care too much about the composition of a photograph to really let go, which is a shame. It has definitely been fun to try though. I was making purely staged photographs for a quite a while and it was nice to get in touch with the real world. In fact, I probably have more appreciation for the everyday now. There is also a very fine line between attempting amateur photography in an artistic way and emulating something people see every day on facebook or elsewhere on the web, which is generally not received well. You run the risk of looking like a hack if you’re just showing everyone what they’ve already seen, that’s why I am still very much attached to staged images and absurd scenarios.

 

Can you lead us through how one of your works was created, in terms of the staged and how you mixed that with the sense of ‘snapshot’?

I think the best example would be ‘Untitled (Sandwiches)’ [BELOW], which is the image of a couple (my parents) sitting at a table eating some bacon and egg rolls. Every object within it was arranged by me, right down to the pegs on the newspaper in the background. To get that amateur-esque “not framed properly” look, I cropped out their heads. As a snapshot, I feel this image would be rendered pretty useless, as the most common purpose for such a photograph is to document those within it. If you can’t see who’s in it, it usually goes in the bin. Following the actual shooting of the photograph, I smoothed skin, erased flaws and changed the colour of my mum’s jumper to match the coasters and plates so everything looked quite pleasing, though almost unsettling.

Untitled (Sandwiches) (2010)

Untitled (Sandwiches) (2010)

 

Can you lead us through how one of your works was created, in terms of the staged and how you mixed that with the sense of ‘snapshot’?

I think the best example would be ‘Untitled (Sandwiches)’, which is the image of a couple (my parents) sitting at a table eating some bacon and egg rolls. Every object within it was arranged by me, right down to the pegs on the newspaper in the background. To get that amateur-esque “not framed properly” look, I cropped out their heads. As a snapshot, I feel this image would be rendered pretty useless, as the most common purpose for such a photograph is to document those within it. If you can’t see who’s in it, it usually goes in the bin. Following the actual shooting of the photograph, I smoothed skin, erased flaws and changed the colour of my mum’s jumper to match the coasters and plates so everything looked quite pleasing, though almost unsettling.

 

What artists influence/d your work?

I’m going to be boring and say that Cindy Sherman was the first artist/photographer I ever came across and thought “I want to do that.” In my early days, her work really introduced me to a world where photography meant something more than “aesthetically pleasing” and actually made you think about something other than exposure times and whatnot. The humour and narrative in my work is heavily influenced by those like Erwin Wurm, Sophie Calle and Martin Parr among others, whereas the “ordinary” parts are inspired by colour photography of the 1970’s. I love images from that time because many of them are a strange hybrid of amateur and art. Also, when I was a kid my most favourite artist was Rene Magritte. I think I’ve just always had a thing for weird stuff. There’s definitely some surrealism lurking in my work.

 

Six Feet High and Rising (2008)

Six Feet High and Rising (2008)

 

Where would you like to evolve your work, both in terms of theoretical and practical?

This is a hard question to answer. Both theoretically and practically, I would like to be able to explore amateur photography as it exists today in such a way that people do not instantly disregard it as something they’ve seen a million times before. So far I have been unsuccessful, but I know there’s got to be a way to present this type of image (without compromising too much of my particular style) so that viewers can look at it objectively. Though it’s always fun to look at old snapshots because of their aesthetic and nostalgia, I don’t feel as though much can be accomplished through this. Photography is going through this insane change where no one knows where it’s headed, and we’re all gazing at photographs from twenty years ago. Is there really much fun left in that?

 

What is next for Lauren Hill?

 

Some of my best work from the past four years is being displayed in EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE. I see this as an opportunity to get out with the old and in with the new. I will no longer be riding on the coattails of work I made years ago, that’s for sure. I know I’ll be attempting to study current vernacular photography as I mentioned above, but I have to have a good time as well. I’m sure you can all expect some more bizarre and awkward images from me in the future, I just need the inspiration!

 

 

Rad babe right?!!! RIGHT.

WE here look forward to many future works.

But for now, make sure to go check out EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE at Gaffa Gallery 281 Clarence St, Sydney 2000. Thanks to the lovely gentleman at SPIspace.

– Maca

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Comments
One Response to “EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE! LET LAUREN HILL EXPLAIN WHY…”
  1. ineedsometimeout says:

    this is awesome, I really want to be a photographer as well. 🙂 Inspiring. 🙂

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