Ellen Rogers’ timeless fashion photographs emanate alluring beauty and subtle seduction. They portray dream and grace and they transport you in another era of aura and solitude. She breathes and lives in her darkroom. She is an artist of analogue photography.
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Ellen Rogers and I don’t seem to be able to stay in one part of England for very long before upping and starting again in another part. My gypsy bones are rattling.
How/When did you begin taking pictures? What was your first camera?
I actually started to learn compositional traits and technical ability from a very young age, my Father was a motorbike racer and when he stopped racing he spent most of his time photographing races. So I learnt how to develop E6 film and B/W film/images on a technical level from about the age of 6 in our darkroom at home. We also had a huge back catalogue of 70’s and 80’s photography magazines and I would try and read those the best I could whenever I could. My first official camera was a Yashica Mat, I was given it on my birthday one year.
Describe your style in photography. What are your usual subjects and themes?
Well it’s very difficult to pin down a subject and theme because the nature of an inquisitive mind would want instantly to break free of a mould. The only limitations in art are set by the artist themselves. I guess I could say that my imagery sways towards psychological research and effects certain stimuli have on the mind but it never has any one theme or subject. That would be too strict of a parameter for me to work within. I spend my time experimenting in alternative photographic procedures and researching claustrophobic ideas of repression with narrative structures too.
Amongst your numerous film photographs, which is your favourite?
I would struggle with picking a photo of mine, honestly I feel I have never come even close to what I want to show, my mind has only just begun to connect emotionally with my artwork and when I meet a natural and (hopefully) eventual ease of transition between a more comfortable connection of ideas and production skills I will have made something I am happy with. I am very much in the mind set that a good artist should never be truly happy with anything they have made as it makes them complacent.
What is the soundtrack for your series of photographs?
Soundtracks are hard for me also, I have been asked on a regular basis for the last couple of years to do artwork for bands and I have been staunch in my dissociation with music as I see it as another brand. My work is my brand – my finger print – and to lend it to another artist feels like handing over parts of my soul. So I have been very much a separate entity from other artists. That was until I started working on films with my boyfriend Prizme. We made two films (one to come out on ‘Kickstarter’ soon) and one which can be found here. The aim after the first film was just to make something together, after that we decided that we loved working together. Our coming film is a bespoke album made by Prizme made to be the soundtrack to my images. We bounced off each other to make the whole project. It will be in essence a film, and album and a small art book. You can hear some of the tracks here with more explanation too.
We all have our idols, which photographers do you look up to?
I know if you have just encountered me here for the first time I may come across as taciturn and contrary but to add fuel to the flame it’s safe to say I am not influenced by photography. I am influenced by history and psychology, the occult, religion, and authors such as Mark Z Danielewski, Iain Banks, Robert Chambers, H.P Lovecraft etc etc.
If you could take anyone’s portrait using film, can be living or dead, who (would it be), which (camera would you use), and why?
Tom Waits, it flies in the face of everything I would do creatively for so many reasons, but the stories that live in just the patina of wrinkles on his face would sing volumes like no other. I should be clear here; I don’t mind what camera I used as it’s the singer not the song that makes for a good listen.
Analogue vs. Digital. What makes analogue/film photography more special than digital?
Pure silver and gelatine, the precious metal and a formally living organic form combined, it’s a poetic substance. The layers of which give depth, to be a film is to be eventually eaten by light. What a beautiful sacrifice that is. Its insidious and eventual decline will be one of great regret for me.
Do you own Lomography cameras? Which is your favourite?
I do own the Holga 135BC TLR, I think if I was to go for another I would be inclined to choose The Jonathan Edwards as I have a soft spot for twin lens.
A lot of people are into photography today, what would you say to them to inspire them more?
I think ‘Do your own thing and don’t copy others’ is the best advice you could give anyone. Go out and find something original that no one else has done. It takes a great mind to invent and a small mind to regurgitate.
Do you have any ongoing/future projects?
Yeah, I am very excited about a little project I am working on with a stylist friend and my boyfriend (Prizme again). I won’t say too much but there will be a set of images from it and a limited run of prints too. They are based on some of mine and Prizme’s findings about scientific experiments of the 1950’s on humans.