#portraitoftheartist is a feature in which we ask an artist or designer, aspiring or established, to tell us about themselves, something they’ve created and what inspires them. The idea being to dip into the psyche of the creator. That and to look at some nice art/fashion.
I’ve been a photographer for two years. I originally wanted to be an actor and applied for drama school, but when I was offered an internship with a fashion and portrait photographer in west London, I just couldn’t turn it down. I realized that with photography, I could have more control over my work; create my own stories through my images. Images which can make a point, illustrate an idea and tell a story, all without words.
I mainly shoot fashion, but I think there’s something raw and unique about photographing strangers, and so I love reportage and documentary photography. I like to think that in these images I’m able to portray the mood and atmosphere of what I’m photographing and really evoke a sense of what it’s like to be there.
For example, this year, I did a documentary on Glastonbury and Notting Hill Carnival to try and capture what it’s like when a huge mix of people come together to celebrate something and just have fun.
I am currently working on a project called ‘Faces of the Streets’, and the image I’ve chosen is from this body of work. It was inspired by my experience in Los Angeles and Las Vegas last November. There, I was able to spend some time with the homeless population, who shared their experiences with me as I took their portraits: the woman in this picture lived on the streets in Las Vegas and had four children.
Taking these photos inspired me to do the same in London, and I realized that through my portraits I wanted to show the beauty and diversity of the city we live in; the variety of people we come across every day. From the homeless at Waterloo to the ladies of Notting Hill, everyone has something in common – all these millions of people form the character of London. Ultimately, I’d love to be able to use my images to help the people on the streets in some way, maybe in collaboration with a homeless charity.
I always have my camera with me wherever I go, and so I have the chance to go out and photograph the people of the city when I’m not working on commissions or in a fashion studio. I’m so lucky that I have this on my doorstep and it’s really refreshing being able to photograph clothes and fashion one day and shoot documentary style images the next – it means I never tire of my work and am constantly inspired.
Inspiration wise, it’s all about people for me. Every day I take the tube and see hundreds of people and I’m always left fascinated by the idea of all these lives that we know nothing about.
Whenever I’m walking about I like to take in my surroundings and acknowledge the people around me. I like to see what stories I can gauge through people’s faces. Somebody once told me that in every dream you have, every different person that is in your dream is a face of someone you have seen in your life: your brain can’t make up a face.
Whether that’s true or not, it stuck with me, and I like the idea that everyone I come across has an impact on me subconsciously; everyone inspires my work.
Amelia loves the 1950s era of documentary photography, which has resulted in (amongst other things) a love of hats and red nail varnish. She is also very keen on eating sushi and watching Downton Abbey.
To see more of Amelia’s work visit: www.ameliaallenphotography.com.
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