Rachel E Joy Stanley (b.1996) is a fine-art photographer based in London. She recently graduated from Goldsmiths and now works on her own practice and as an assistant to a handful of photographers. Her work is about people — how they create and occupy spaces, and the traces they leave behind. Largely observational and subtly critical, her photographs attempt to organise and make sense of contemporary life, asking questions about power, ownership and the balance between natural and human worlds.
I used to solely shoot on 35mm film, mainly using a point-and-shoot Konica, but I recently bought myself a digital camera, the Fujifilm XT-10. I love the texture of film but I do like having the ability to reflect instantly on what I’ve produced when I shoot digitally. Also, I never had the resources to develop colour film myself, so the process of travelling across London to drop off my used canisters, waiting five days for somebody to develop it for me and then going back to collect the images became a reasonably inefficient way of making work. Regarding my methods of shooting, my practice usually just involves never leaving the house without my camera and using it as a tool to make sense of my experiences. When I am planning a shoot my essential preparation is making mood boards documenting inspiration and ideas.
Earlier this year I undertook a project on Instagram in which I posted one image per day for 100 days. Giving myself no choice but to share an image daily taught me a lot about managing my archive and reflecting upon my work and it also allowed me to become part of a supportive and highly talented community of imagemakers. More recently I produced a limited edition printed zine called Calm and Absent which explores spaces which are in-between presence and absence. Presently I am making work for a group show in which I will be exhibiting alongside a painter and a sculptor.
My influences include Wolfgang Tillmans, whose photographs are highly affective and remind me that one’s body of work can cover endless subjects when they all share the same philosophy. Reading his books has taught me a lot about the relationships which can be formed between images. Tillmans’ Neue Welt is possibly my favourite book, alongside Ryan McGinley’s Whistle for the Wind. I am also influenced by Mark Borthwick, Siân Davey, Corinne Day, Harley Weir and Lina Scheynius, to name a few. Outside of photography, my boyfriend James Owens is an excellent painter with a brilliant mind.