Hannah Wright is based at Constantine, Cornwall and she has recently graduated in photography from Gloucestershire. Her special area of interest is people photography and documenting their lives and stories. This post features images from some of her recent and ongoing projects.
About: My name is Hannah Wright I am 21 years old and am from Gloucestershire in England but am currently living in Cornwall.
My journey with photography started off very flippantly really. My friend said to me in an ICT lesson when I was around fifth teen sixteen years old: “Oh; well; you take loads of photographs when you’re out and about, why not study to be a photographer” (or something along those lines).
Then for some reason I thought, yeah, why not, so I left my wedding planner dreams and applied to study photography back in Gloucestershire, where I grew up.
This was the beginning of my passion for photography although I didn’t realise it to begin with. I started to become absorbed with everything to do with photography but especially the research and thought process leading up to the actual practical side and that was it really, ideas kept coming and I just loved it. So to cut a long story short I finished college and ended up applying and going to Falmouth University to study press and editorial photography.
And up until May this year that’s what I have spent the last three years doing and it has been incredible, my love for a new genre of photography developed and I feel like I have found my place/area of interest within the huge photography landscape. I have not only grown as a person throughout this time but my photography has improved and I have met amazing people and have had the opportunity hear the most fascinating stories. By doing all of this and in this present moment I have realised how much I have done and what those experiences have meant to me and that I have so much more to learn and the future is a really exciting prospect despite being a little scary having just finished university and really this is also the start of the next part of my photographic journey.
Statement, etc.: I create work based around people and topics that I believe are important, interesting or something that just needs shining a light on or showing in a different way. I mainly create photo series in a documentary style but recently I have been doing a lot of portrait based work. A lot of my recent work has been based on topics around dementia and carers, where I have a personal connection but I have previously worked on topics such as young mothers, sport athletes and OCD. These topics and projects have come about through general interest, personal experience and some I have no idea where they came from.
This is how I prefer to work, I don’t search through the news to find ideas but throughout my daily life as ideas come forward I log them and try to make them work at some point. Once I have an idea that I think will work I try and contact someone straight away to get the ball rolling, whether that be an organisation, charity, trust or individual. This is the part that takes the longest time so to do this early is the main priority. Once I have sent a few emails or made a few phone calls the research starts and generally I’ll have a notebook for each project and everything spirals from there, well in most cases.
With all this behind me preparing before a shoot is pretty simple and relaxing really, a few days before I’ll make sure I know where I’m going, print off a model release and make sure I have all the equipment and information needed. If I am on commission and not doing project work then a bit more preparation with regards to what is required of me goes on and potentially a risk assessment if needed.
I tend to shoot traditionally with film on either my Mamiya 7 or Mamiya RB 67 but also have a Canon 5D Mark II for when I shoot digitally. I mainly shoot in colour on a 120 format but it really depends on the project and what suits that project best as to whether I shoot black and white or in 35mm or 5×4 but 6×7 is what I prefer and is where I feel most comfortable. Apart from that the only other essentials I have are my tripod a reflector and a light meter. I am very simplistic with equipment and the way I work, I have a routine that I stick to for equipment and I prefer to spend time working on my relationship with the subject and making sure that they are comfortable and that the project is fully developed rather than messing around unnecessarily with equipment.
I definitely go through a mental preparation before shooting as well, I couldn’t really explain what that is but I definitely change slightly and go over what I am going to do in my head just to get in the zone I guess.
Projects: I have included a real selection of images, which I think helps to gain a larger understanding and gives a larger perspective on my evolution as a photographer and the kind of work I have ended up doing.
Young mothers: This series of portraits looks to explore what its like to be a young mother. These mothers are part of a group called Wild who are an organisation funded by the National Lottery and provide help and advice for mothers under 23 years old. They look to give opportunities for mothers to improve self esteem, develop skills and understand everything that is needed to survive as a young mother in the UK. These portraits are a vehicle to allow their voices and experiences to be heard.
Its main output was an exhibition that aimed to give the wider public, as much as was possible, the experience of coming to a memory café. The extended work can be viewed at my website.
For someone Else: There are over 60,000 carer’s in Cornwall alone never mind the UK and it’s very likely that we will all have an experience of this role in some capacity in our life but do we really know what a carer does and how this role effects the time they have for themselves?
‘For Someone Else’ is a project looking at what carer’s do outside their caring role and how important that time is to them. The project hopes to provoke other to think about what they do within the space of an hour and then what that hour of time means to a carer.
Alongside this the project aims to explore their struggles and experiences through their own voices.
Adrenaline and Relief: ‘Adrenaline and Relief’ is a project that has been created over the last two years. I have been working with six/seven young sports athletes in Cornwall, photographing them training and competing in order to share with the wider public what it takes to be an athlete.
It isn’t easy and every athlete you see in the Olympics has been through a hard journey from a very young age. There are struggles and many-many hour of training alongside other commitments such as education and work. Despite all of this their determination and passion shines through.
Influences and favourite stuff: When thinking about influences I find it really difficult to pin down the work that has directly had an impact on my work but there are many photographers and artists that I love such as Jane Hilton, Sian Davey, Venetia Deaden and Laura Pannack to name a few and I admire them for all their amazing projects.
However I think my main influences come from all sorts of places and mediums as well, I believe I am heavily influenced by documentaries and the way they tell their stories and the topics that are covered within them but I also love books and journals and tend to find new photographers and work through publications such as splash and grab or the ones we love magazine and I also look at books published by Hoxton mini book press and Mack books to see what’s new. So I think a lot of my influences I am probably unaware of but my regularly engaging with the industry I think it keeps my eye fresh.
I also really love exhibitions, not just relating to photography, and when I get the chance to go to London I try and see as many as I possible can, especially to get ideas of new ways to display work etc. The most recent one that I have seen that I thought was amazing was held at the Welcome Collection. It was a series of exhibitions under the umbrella called “states of mind” exploring our understanding of our conscious experience. This series of exhibitions really played with how people move around a gallery space, which is something I have interested in also.
Besides photography I enjoy more art related practices, making sketchbooks, sewing, knitting anything that is a little more hands on as well as exploring and swimming around the Cornish Coastline.
It’s Nice to Know You : Instagram
Adrenaline and Relief : Instagram