Confident in her talent and skills as a photographer and as a creative, Jodie Cartman knows what her art is all about. There's so much more to it than meets the eye — it's a process and a journey combined. Read on to learn more about her in this short interview. Do be warned, this contains a lot of her fresh work with one of our most favorite films, the LomoChrome Purple.
Hello, Jodie! Welcome back to the Lomography Magazine. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi. A bit about me….. I’m an artist residing in The south east of England (Lewes). I practice as a fashion designer/milliner, tutor and photographer.
How would you define photography?
An easily accessible tool with endless possibilities and outcomes.
What's your favorite thing about it?
The unlimited variables there are and vast world of opportunity for experimentation. You can take one idea and do so much with it, whether it’s down to your subject, location, the equipment, editing, processes — there are so many layers that can be manipulated in so many ways. A never ending world of play.
Let's talk a bit about your work — how would you describe your photographic style/approach?
I have a very open and experimental approach to photography — I think some of the best results can come from accidents or conditions out of your control. I often have an idea or concept in mind for what i want from a shoot, but i’m always open to seeing how ideas develop and adapt to conditions on the day and rolling with them.
Who or what would you say was the biggest influence in your work?
The subjects that I shoot and the environment they are set in. I enjoy taking dream-like photographs so I tend to choose subjects and locations that possess an ethereal quality, but not always.
Your series with the LomoChrome Purple portraits is easily one of our favorites. How did you come up with that mystical/fantasy concept?
I love costumes and I love nature and the outdoors, so I wanted to combine both in this series. The Lomochrome purple was the perfect film to marry the two and create the dream-like folk-horror-esque world of the 3 women or ‘spirits’ in the woods.
What inspired you to pick up a film camera and take photos?
From creating hats and costume pieces I always needed photographs of the things I was making. I worked with various digital photographers but as my vision was so strong, I was never quite happy with the results. So I bought a camera on eBay and decided I’d learn how to get the results i wanted by doing it myself. Since then photography has become as much of my career and focus than the millinery and design element. I felt compelled to start shooting on film in particular after working with a wetplate photographer — I found the process thrilling and it got me hooked on exploring film and doing so for the pleasure of it and not just out of necessity to compliment my design work.
We love how you can change from one style of shooting to another effortlessly. How do you prepare yourself when you're shooting different subjects?
I just get in the zone and focus on the subject and matter at hand. Luckily it seems to come quite naturally.
What makes you hit the shutter?
Composition - I guess I have a knack for seeing a good shot and a gut feeling of knowing when i come across a good opportunity to pull the crank and click.
How do you stay creative?
I keep interested, keep learning and keep going. I fear I’d become stagnant if I stopped exploring what else there is to learn.
What's your favorite photo? Could you tell us the story behind it?
This dramatic photograph of a mountain in Hereford called ‘Lord Herefords Knob’. We were driving over the welsh hills and it was one of those moments when I just said “stop the car” wound down the window, focus and click. There were cars behind us so I didn’t have time to mess about. I went for it in the moment and love the dark and brooding result.
If you could shoot anywhere or any subject in the world, where or who/what would it be? Why?
I’d love to do a some highly-stylized shoots with access to weird and wonderful sets, Extravagant vintage and designer costumes and a roster of great hair and makeup artists. I admire the bizarre stories and compositions in images by photographers such as Miles Aldridge or Nadia Lee Cohen. Super slick, creepy and futuristic and yet retro at the same time. Very clever.
How do you see the future of film photography in the near future?
I think it’s having a revival right now, and will continue to become more popular and more accessible and interesting to younger budding photographers. The new Instax mini-8 for example is an easy way into film photography, and with so many interesting films and cameras out there I think it will continue to grow.
Who are the artists that you follow on a regular basis?
Ellen Rogers is my go-to photographer. She really has that dark gothic-meets-ethereal thing down. I was lucky enough to have her photograph some of my design work a few years back. Also, Rosie Welsh the wetplate photographer I mentioned earlier.
What advice would you give to aspiring photographers and creatives out there?
Work hard, try new things and don’t waste time on shoulda, coulda, woulda. Life’s too short.
Does gear matter when it comes to putting out creative content?
It doesn’t have to, no. I’ve taken some great images on cheap supermarket disposable cameras that only cost me £6 and photoshop is also obviously a great tool for editing and getting the creative results you want regardless of the gear you’ve used.
What was the most memorable advice you've been given in your career as an artist?
Don’t stop. Keep working hard and keep fighting back.
What's your favorite song/movie/book? Why?
Now that’s tough. These would change depending on my mood to be honest. But if I had to choose right now I’d go with The Wickerman as my film choice - amazing soundtrack and scottish scenery and i love the quality, grain and hues 70s film equipment produces.
Kate Moss’s ‘Mistletoe Bride’ as my book choice - a collection of beautifully written short eerie stories based around East Sussex. It excites me to read hauntingly beautiful tales about real, local locations and buildings and inspires me to visit them (with my camera of course).
Song… this has to be the hardest - there are so many great songs! At the moment I’m listening to a lot of Jake Thackray so I’ll go with one of his called ‘go little Swale’. He’s was a Poet and musician from Yorkshire (where I am from) and sings of places and people similar to those I grew up in and around. It makes me feel proud and nostalgic.
How does a perfect day look like for Jodie Cartman?
A leisurely walk in the countryside with my Canon AE-1 in hand followed by a dark ale and a warm fire.
What's next for you?
I’ve just bought myself some second hand dark room equipment so I can start developing film myself…
Any last words for our readers?
Yeah — get shooting! What are you waiting for?!