Inside this issue
Hannah Devereux (b. 1988 UK) is a visual artist based in London. She studied at Byam Shaw School of Art, Central St Martins and University College Falmouth 2007–2011. She is soon to be represented by Telegram Gallery. Her work explores the possibility of abstraction in landscape and the notion of an autonomous image.
Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.
Can you tell me a little about your education, childhood passions, early exposure to photography and vocation?
I did an art and design foundation course in Falmouth, Cornwall and then a degree in Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art, London.
I've been taken on multiple family holidays to the lake district each year, pretty much since birth which I guess can be partly held accountable for my interest in mountainous landscapes. I was using cameras at a pretty young age too and then my dad gave me his old Pentax K1000 SLR when I was 15 which taught me the basics.
What are you most proud of in your photography?
I guess a feeling of subtlety and quietness coupled with some sense of strength from the landscapes, which I hope the photos convey.
In most photographers lives there are ‘epiphanic’ moments where things become clear, or new directions are formed. What were your two main moments and how did they change your photography?
Living by the sea for a year had a big effect on the work I was making without me realising, not only in photography but also drawing and printmaking. I was obsessed with the horizon line… and it took me by surprise when I wondered if it had come from living by the ocean for the first time in my life. There have certainly been several ‘epiphanic’ moments - usually when i’m walking in the mountains but not always, the most recent was in The Lake District this past March - climbing The Ridge alone in winter conditions and seeing the images I could make with the landscape around me.
Tell me about why you love landscape photography? A little background on what your first passions were, what you studied and what job you ended up doing.
My first paid photography jobs were live music events, usually my friend’s bands. I thought I had left that behind me but actually I have wound up working on a music exchange in the USA each year, photographing international musicians during a residency and tour, i’ll be travelling there again this autumn and touring from San Francisco to Seattle, it's relentless but a lot of fun. In some ways I like to do an entirely different sort of photography as my job, it is still something I really enjoy but I wouldn't class it as my personal work as I do the landscape images.
After the tour finishes this year I plan to travel to Canada and spend some time in the Rocky Mountains, a place I’ve been eager to go back to since I visited in 2012. I also work alongside artist and poet Alec Finlay a lot, documenting his work and collaborating with him on different projects - it often means working outdoors and many jobs have entailed a lot of walking, which is wonderful.
Could you tell us a little about the cameras and lenses you typically take on a trip and how they affect your photography
I have been using a Canon 5d mk iii for the past 3 years. I have a 50mm f1.4, a 20mm f2.8 and a 24 - 105mm. I am currently going around in circles regarding using a tripod in the mountains. My work would really benefit from one but I love to go up high with a light bag and I like how shooting handheld means you can be spontaneous, especially in changing weather. I know there’s some super lightweight ones out there but they come with a super price tag too!
What sort of processing do you undertake on your pictures? Give me an idea of your workflow…
Until around a year ago I didn’t do a great deal of post processing - my computer was an ancient one that couldn’t handle raw files, and I liked the idea of the images not having been 'tampered with' so to speak. But I got a new computer last year and it’s made a huge difference, I’m ashamed to say I’m relatively new to using RAW, despite having been serious about photography for many years. Of course, I wish I’d discovered it sooner.
Do you get many of your pictures printed and, if at all, where/how do you get them printed?
This is something I steered clear of for a long time, sticking to my terrible quality a4 printer during my degree. I made a lot of books of my photos because that scale worked well with the equipment I had access to. We had a large scale printer at school, but had to give it over to a technician rather than do it yourself, so I didn't learn anything and always hated the results, the paper options weren’t very diverse either.
Within the last year I’ve discovered a fantastic printers in my hometown which is far more affordable than anything I’ve come across in London where I live, they really take their time with you and make sure you are getting the very best result. I think they enjoy it too as they mostly take passport photos!
It’s been really useful as I’ve been preparing for an exhibition which opened last month, for which I’ve printed and framed more images in one go than ever before, it makes a huge difference to see the work printed. It’s quite affirming to see the ones which work well, it’s easy to make an image look good on a screen but the real test is how it works as a print.
Tell me about the photographers that inspire you most. What books stimulated your interest in photography and who drove you forward directly or indirectly, as you developed?
A huge inspiration to me since being a young teenager was Wolfgang Tillmans. I went to see his Turner Prize show ‘If one thing matters, everything matters’ it was very refreshing to see so many different styles and forms of photography grouped together into one exhibition, by the same artist. At the time I thought the lack of frames and use of bulldog clips and scotch tape for installing the work was brilliant, but I guess many other people thought the same and now they all do that too. I found his approach to photography freeing, it made me realise I didn’t need to specialise, I could just try it all and it could still be valid. So the catalogue from that would of course go on the list of books.
Pace gallery showed the work of Hiroshi Sugimoto alongside late paintings of Mark Rothko which I felt at the time epitomised my ideas about landscape photography - abstraction in landscape to the extent that you might mistake a photograph for a painting, the catalogue from that exhibition is beautiful and very special to me.
The fashion photographer Fabien Baron produced a brilliant book called 'Liquid Light' which presents an extensive series of long exposure photographs of the sky meeting the ocean, always with the horizon line in the same position. Taken over the course of two decades and in multiple locations across the world, it’s beautiful to see such how such a specific series can generate such diverse results. And finally the book ‘True’ by Thomas Joshua Cooper is very wonderful, an inspiration.
Tell me what your favourite two or three photographers are and a little bit about them.
I think I’ve pretty much answered that question in my last response - so instead I’ll tell you that some of my favourite artists are Agnes Martin, a Canadian painter whose work I greatly admire, James Turrell, an American artist who makes the most wonderful installations using light and space and the American sculptor Richard Serra. I think I take inspiration from all of these artists and it certainly manifests in one way or another in my photography work.
If you were told you couldn’t do anything photography related for a week, what would you end up doing?
It depends how loosely you class ‘photography related’ - I make a lot of drawings and collage as well as photographs, but all three mediums feed into one another, so that's still probably related. Similarly I considered answering that I would go walking in the mountains, but I would find it very difficult not to have my camera. Though I think every so often it is important to just look with your eyes only, without thinking about capturing, it's easy to start seeing the world through a viewfinder and miss the real thing.
What sorts of things do you think might challenge you in the future or do you have any photographs or styles that you want to investigate? Where do you see your photography going in terms of subject and style?
I guess I want to tackle the heavy tripod/climbing mountains quandry (my Dad always likes to remind me of Ansel Adams and Herbert Ponting and all that they had to carry…) I’m not entirely sure where it is going in terms of new challenges and even subject and style to an extent, but my plan is to figure out more on my next trip to Canada. I think it’s important in art, not to know where it’s taking you.
Who do you think we should feature as our next photographer?
I think you should talk to Mirja Busch, I just discovered her work, she makes some fantastic images.
You can see more of Hannah Devereux’s work on her website www.hannahdevereux.com
Hannah Devereux’s work is currently on display as part of the exhibition 'WORKS – Hannah Devereux | Richard Devereux'.
The show runs until the 23 August at The Showing Space, floor two, Burnley Chambers, 5 Silver Street, Lincoln LN2 1DY +44(0)1522 887621