Interview of Photographer Francesca Solloway from Southampton

Francesca Solloway (b.1992) completed her BA in photography from Southampton Solent University, UK in 2014. She’s a documentary and landscape photographer and attempts to capture the oddities of everyday life and explores the relationship of mankind with its surroundings. Her personal projects as well as her urban landscape series discuss the changes and shapes that are taking place silently and demand an observation. The images in this feature belong to her three projects namely Ciao Nonna, B Drummond, and Ebb and Flow. My simple yet informative interview with her provides an insight into her photography:

Please tell us about yourself and your relationship with photography:

I’m currently living and working in Southampton, UK while dreaming of travelling the world. Photography is something I can’t imagine living without, after studding it in College and University for a total of 5 years; it’s become a passion and an itch I can’t stop scratching. I honestly can’t imagine life without photography.

Francesca Solloway 001 Cioa NonnaHow does a landscape or a man-made environment affect/influence you?

I’ve lived and grown up in Southampton so naturally I have always been drawn to the mundane beauty of urban spaces; capturing spaces usually forgotten, devoid of people but full of evidence to suggest the existence of people.  However on the flip side I have also spent an equal amount of my life exploring the New Forest and surrounding areas, photographing the beauty of more natural landscapes.

Francesca Solloway 002 Cioa NonnaYou’ve been shooting different kinds of images (portraits, stills, landscape, commercial, wedding, etc.). What do you like shooting most?

I love shooting all kinds of photography, but if I had to pick a favourite it would have to be landscapes, whether it’s urban or wild. I just love going out and exploring with my camera!

Francesca Solloway 003 Cioa NonnaHow does being a graduate in photography help you in your work? How do you view your evolution as a photographer?

Studding photography has really helped me learn all kinds of new skills; it taught me a lot about me if I am honest, it made me see the common trends with in my work and the styles and colours that were clearly very important to me. Not only that but the people you meet allow you to see things with in your work that you might not have seen.

It’s hard to say how I personally view my works evolution, to me my work evolves every time I take a photo; I’m always trying new things, experimenting with styles. I guess if you were to compare my early photos with images I have been taking recently you would see a more considered image.

Francesca Solloway 004 Cioa NonnaTell us about your method(s) or critical approaches of shooting? How much of your work is carefully planned vs. instantaneous?

My approach will really vary on what I am photographing, for example bodies of work such as Ebb and Flow will be considered to a certain extent. Much of my urban photography work will be photos of things I have seen in passing and then later gone back to photograph and set up the shot. However much of my general landscape photography will be spontaneous, although the decision about where I plan to go to take photos will be fairly well thought out before hand, what I take while I am there is more up to chance. The only work I think I put hours of consideration and careful planning into has to be my still lives that I have been creating for the purpose of my Instagram.

Francesca Solloway 005 Cioa NonnaWhen are you going to (self) publish your photobook?

I have been planning on making a photobook sometime in the near future; it’s definitely something on my list of things to do. I have been holding off on it for a while just because I want it to be something I can say I took my time over and got it to be exactly how I wanted it, instead of rushing and seeing all the places I could have improved. For now all I can say is watching this space in the next year or so!

Francesca Solloway B Drummond 00Tell us about the equipment (camera and lenses) you mostly use and why. How are you affected by rapidly changing photography technology?

I’m not much of a technology fan if I am honest; I love shooting film the most and currently have a Mamyia RB67 Pro S as well as a Pentax MZ50 35mm camera, for me these are the cameras I would shoot with more often if I had the time. Up until a few weeks ago I was still using my Canon 1000D DSLR, however I decided to upgrade my systems and I am now shooting with my Fujifilm X-T 10. I can’t say I am hugely affected by changing technologies but the Fujifilm does have some fantastic features that make on the go editing a breeze. It’s a fantastic piece of kit and it’s not one I will be trading in any time soon.

Francesca Solloway B Drummond 006 Francesca Solloway B Drummond 007 Francesca Solloway B Drummond 09Do you have a favourite photo or a project having a great story behind? Any significant memory related to photography?

I think my favourite photo project has to be Ciao Nonna (first five images), not only was this series complied of image documenting my Grandmother time living in England and her return to Italy but it was also the first set of image I felt truly proud of.

What do you think about contemporary photography?

I think there is a lot of opportunity now with contemporary photography. There are less strict rules about what makes a good photograph, giving photographers and artists more freedom to create.

Francesca Solloway Ebb and Flow 010Tell us about your achievements, awards, clients, publications, etc.:

Since graduating I have had quite a few nice little features and publications here and there that I am quite proud of. It’s always nice when I am approached about my work. It’s nice to know there are people out there that find what I do interesting, after all, the photography world is nosey so it’s big achievement.

Francesca Solloway Ebb and Flow 012What are your futures plans/projects, ambitions, etc.?

I have a fair few future projects in mind, most of which involve travelling, however for now I am looking forward to going to Australia in the New Year. I am planning on making as much photographic work out there as possible, can’t wait to see the images I come back with.

Francesca Solloway Ebb and Flow 013Please share your favourite stuff: photographers, quotes, films, books, music etc.

I have tones of favourite things all of which inspire my photography and my design work. Music, books, photographers, however I think I have always been most inspired by photographers such as Edward Burtynsky, Mitch Epstein and Ansel Adams, there was something about their dramatic landscapes that just held my attention.

Francesca Solloway Ebb and Flow 014Something to say to our readers or aspiring photographers:

Keep at it, everything takes time and everyone will progress at very different rates so don’t be disheartened. If you keep working at it your efforts will be rewarded.

All Photos © Francesca Solloway : WebsiteTwitter