Haunting work from talented photographer Ellen Rogers
Ellen Rogers is a London-based photographer and a talented young woman who has set herself apart from her contemporaries by sticking to all-analogue photography. Refraining from using any digital equipment or computer-based manipulation (other than scanning the end result), she has developed most techniques through experimentation with traditional darkroom processes.
To date she has been featured and interviewed in numerous magazines including i-D, Vice, Tank, Dazed And Confused, British Journal of Photography, the Guardian, Vogue IT, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar China, Grazia IT and claims Charlotte Olympia, Piers Atkinson, Sorcha O’Raghallaigh, Maria Francesca Pepe among the many fashion designers she has worked for.
Last year Ellen released her first book of photographs, named Aberrant Necropolis, charting her first two years of fashion photography. Here at The Upcoming we wanted to know more about this artist – read what Ellen had to say.
Tell us some background information about yourself: where you were born, your childhood, what you studied?
Hello hello! I studied art during my A levels and photography during my degree and MA. My father was a photographer and still likes to shoot today. I was born in Norfolk and I was raised near the sea.
I would often help my father develop his films and I wasn’t allowed to play with his cameras until I was older. I became infatuated with them.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
It’s odd because it never occurred to me that photography was something I was doing until I had to choose a degree. It became second nature from an early age. I suppose in essence my father inspired me, and his friends too.
What made you decide to use film cameras? Do you feel that there isn’t really a place for digital?
There is a place for digital. I know there is a place in the fashion industry, commercial industry and journalistic; in fact it is imperative for speed and clarity. It is of course an artistic decision not to use it and an impractical one, built on love and dedication to an older craft. I think in time I will evolve. I am too fickle to stay still.
How do you choose the models: for example Hana, the muse-like figure who appears in many of your shoots? Is it dependent on their personality or their physical form?
Muse-like figures like Hana or Maxine are most certainly attractive to me for their solipsistic traits, traits that can’t be seen but can be spoken between an artist and her muse. It wasn’t their form that attracted me to either of them; in fact they are both built quite differently. However they are both very egoless and open minded; I think I was attracted to that. They seem both to have a lot of confidence too.
Working in the industry, I can see that fashion plays a large role in your work. Do you feel there is a union between fashion and art in your work?
I feel this more on some days than others; I will be honest and say it’s not easy. It’s a struggle if you want to stick to your guns in the fashion industry as it’s always changing. I think there has to be a clear divide between personal and commercial: I haven’t got there yet. The two worlds cross over but they are a conflict of interests. Commercial work is for monetary gain and fine art is for no monetary gain.
You originally started out as an art photographer but now work in fashion photography. Do you intend to stay in fashion?
A lot of your work seems to be inspired by fairytales and fantasy. Are you quite a spiritual person? A bit of a fantasist?
I am an atheist and although I do love science fiction and mythology, I would not consider myself a fantasist. I think it’s important to be grounded whilst making work that could be considered cerebral.
You have quite a large collection of cameras, where do you buy them from?
Most of them are my dad’s! I also go to auctions and keep an ear to the ground, sometimes eBay too.
The series She Has Seen To It is one of our favourites. It’s so haunting. Do you have one series or photograph which has particular meaning for you?
Thank you! This shoot is most important to me (right here): I made it for a memorial to my late mother.
Finally, what is next for you?
Go and visit Ellen’s website to view her amazing work here – you won’t be disappointed!