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The River - Lottie Davies

24 October 2010

‘The River’ is from my series Memories and Nightmares, which are images inspired by stories of early childhood memories and nightmares which I’ve collected. This one, from my friend Kate, was particularly odd, and although it demanded some very specific elements I was determined to shoot it.

I am drawn to personal narratives; we all have our own tales and myths which we use to make sense of our lives. Storytelling is common to all human societies and something which we all understand. Often when I’m talking about this project, people tell me their own earliest memories, or a recent nightmare they’ve had, which gives me a personal connection with them through the work which otherwise might have passed by.

To evoke a sense of nostalgia many of the images are based on classical paintings. This one is Constable-inspired. It was shot it on the River Stour, downstream from where he painted ‘The Hay Wain’.

I needed strong late afternoon sunshine and it pelted down with rain almost all day, with nearly gale-force winds. I had serious doubts as to whether we would get anything at all. But bang on 4.30 the clouds parted and we had half an hour of glorious spring sunshine, and with ropes holding the boat in position we managed to get the shot.

I used a Wista 5×4 field camera. The series was all shot on large format film because I love the quality and the extraordinary detail large format allows for very big prints. The series is printed to sizes up to two metres long so that people can look into the images and spot little details – for instance there is a swan and cygnets on the bank behind the boat in ‘The River’ that you don’t see straight away.

Lottie Davies studied philosophy at St Andrews University in Scotland. Then after four years learning the trade as a photographers’ assistant she set up her own London-based business. She has veered from food photography through photojournalism, portraiture and travel photography to her current dalliance with fine art. Her work has been recognised in the Schweppes Photographic Portrait Awards and the Foto8 Summer Show 2008. That same year her image ‘Quints’ won the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize and now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. The Memories and Nightmares series will form Lottie’s first solo show scheduled for Moscow in Spring 2011.

Photographer since 2000, EPUK member since 2006.

See more work by Lottie Davies

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