“‘Art’ created and built organically from a true passion will resonate with people and naturally take off, and perhaps so can ‘art’ that is manufactured to make money but probably won’t stand the test of time.”
Emma Dudlyke, is a London based photographer, whose work isn´t so much about fashion; but she uses it to dress her thoughts for her shoots. Learning about film photography was the best way for her to fall in love with the whole subject. Her settings, outfits and visual language are elaborate and picturesque; and one image feels more than just one moment, because of the many details going on.
We talked to Emma about her first memories of taking pictures, her shooting process, and about art and commerce.
How did the world of photography show up in your life? And can you remember your very first image that you were happy with?
I’ve been lucky to have travelled all around the world with my family, so photographing and documenting these new unfamiliar but incredible places came naturally. It would pain me inside if someone had forgotten the camera, sort’ve as if all of the memories had never happened. Photography became more real for me when I went to sixth form, I pretty much got one on one teaching as not many people did photography – so it was amazing to learn how to use the darkroom, develop film contact sheets and prints. I think learning with film photography is the best way to fall in love with photography. When I got my hands on a macro lens, shit got real haha so I started taking those really cliché photos of nature like pollen, blades of grass, flowers, eyes you name it! And from that trusty little macro lens I produced my first ever photos that I was really proud of. Close up abstract photos of pink roses dripping with black paint. I loved it because it was so juicy and detailed – but now I look back and they’re a bit cringe, but everyone’s got to start somewhere.
Describe your style in one sentence.
Reclining into deep green velvet theatre chair
in the middle of a small dark room
surrounded by damp wallpaper and draped curtains
dimly lit by waxed candelabras
cigarette smoke fills the room like smog
outside its winter, but here it is hot
and through your rose tinted glasses
you watch girls with bodies beautiful to look at
dancing naked with only sequins left, unapologetically
I come here to stimulate
Some of your shootings seem very elaborate. What is the usual creative process at a shooting?
Some of my shoots do seem elaborate and I guess they are! I wish I could shoot in a landscape of sand dunes or a lagoon but for now I’m fortunate enough to have some wacky friends that live in these amazing places I’ve shot in. Everything can inspire me so in a daydream or a thought a little mental invention sparks and I go from there – these ideas only are born and made into a reality if I have found the right location or created the right scene and atmosphere, then from there it’s all an exciting collaboration between the team and the scene, like a performance. It never quite come out as I’ve imagined but that’s what is exciting. My work isn’t so much about the fashion, although it does have a massive part to play but to me fashion is just messing around and I use it to dress my thoughts for my shoots.
I noticed you had Georgia Jagger in front of your camera. How was working with her?
We went to 6th form together and we both were studying photography. Now I think about it I actually got her to do some silly things, like re-enacting Botticelli’s Venus and superimposing her into a sea shell. This was all before she started modelling full time, so working with her was always on a friendly fun silly basis, but she’s a beautiful girl and that’s why I loved photographing her for my projects. I’ve actually even got some Freud-esque portraits I painted of her which I’m quite proud of somewhere hanging up in the school.
You can’t take your eyes of what?
Do you think that art and commerce rule each other out?
‘Art’ created and built organically from a true passion will resonate with people and naturally take off, and perhaps so can ‘art’ that is manufactured to make money but probably won’t stand the test of time.
“Music is my Nectar” is a sentence by you. What´s your favourite track these days?
Music is paramount in my life, always searching and absorbing. It’s hard to say what my favourite track right now is because there is so much great stuff I’m loving – so let’s go on my current mood – I’m excited about a trip to Berlin tomorrow so the my track would be – The The – Uncertain Smile from one of the greatest albums ‘Soul Mining’ from the 80’s and one that is really dear to me. It’s intellectual and emotional uplifting your spirits and yet the lyrics are heart wrenching, a little bit philosophical and actually filled with a lot of self-loathing. The piano solo in ‘Uncertain Smile’ by Jools Holland is one of my favourite piano solos so have a listen and hopefully enjoy as I much as I am right now.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I want to look back on my life and say that I did cool stuff – so I hope to be doing exactly what I love – photography, travelling collaborating and just finding a way and place to express myself in this big world we all live in.