An Interview With: Bethany Millward

Who are you and where did you study?

I’m Bethany Millward, a graduate from Falmouth University’s Photography Course. 

What is your artist statement for this body of work?

This self-portraiture work focuses on a change within the photographer. The images portray the struggle through her progression toward who she is today. The images focus on atmosphere to portray the correct feelings. The work aims for the viewer to connect their own personal experiences to the work, although each individual image means something very significant to the photographer herself, this becomes irrelevant when viewing the images. They hold the ability to be read very differently and personally to each individual. Although the images are dark, they point toward a re-establishment of self and purpose. The work aims for a joint journey shared between the photographer and the viewer.

What inspired this series?

This series was heavily motivated by my own circumstances; I believe this work helped me to understand new situations and myself a lot more. That being said, the work was aesthetically extremely influenced by Laurence Demaison. His work held the perfect atmosphere whilst also having minimal information into the image. I aimed to replicate his way of drawing the viewer in, to create meaning themselves, using their own experiences.

What was your reasoning for limiting light?

I am extremely interested in the way that light can be used to conceal parts of the image. I wanted this work to be sat just on the balance that it would not be seen at first glance but once closer looked at, the image would be very clear. I wanted to include them in something that for me was so personal. By drawing them closer to the image, it hopefully creates intrigue into the images to encourage the viewer to attach their own experiences and meaning to my images.

What genre do you consider this work to be in and why?

I consider this work to be sat somewhere between fine art and fashion photography. The images are very stylized and have a feel of fashion, but because of the lighting and the flat, even way that they have been shot; they also sit quite firmly in the fine art genre of photography. Because the work cannot be so easily placed it is, for me, a lot more stimulating.

Your images use different proportions, what is the reasoning for this?

Some of the images have almost cinematic proportions, and some of them are a lot squarer than the other ones. I wanted some of the images to have a sense of grandeur and theatre, as well as being linked - through the format of cinematic proportions - to movement. Others I wanted to feel more like still life photography, these ones I kept with the almost square format. These have a much more static feel to them, which breaks up the series well when viewing as a whole.

What are your plans for the future?

I am in love with the Fashion world, For me to be able to work within it is what I am aiming to do, however, the dream would be to be able to continue to bring meaning and purpose to whatever I contribute to the Fashion Industry. Concept and influence are extremely important to my work and I feel that without these things, I would not enjoy making work.

What is the best piece of advice you could give the viewers of The Pupil Sphere?

Just to look at as many visuals as you can, read magazines and books and look at artist work as much as you can. You’ll gain both inspiration and originality (as much as that is possible) because you’ll have such a huge knowledge of what people are photographing, and therefore what you can contribute rather than copy.

Website: bethanymillward.format.com

All images copyright of Bethany Millward.

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