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Guest Speaker: Rachel Brown

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

Successful photographer and the Photo director of Harper's Bazaar UK Rachel Brown represented a talk on her journey within the photography industry, her personal work and how she funded to achieve her outcomes and projects in America.

In Brown's personal work, she observes the world as a stage, exploring unfamiliar places often alone at night and occasionally populating the images with people from casting calls, creating a psychological sense of danger. From documenting the surroundings Brown tries to question on the construction of fear, gender, class and escapism within the Western society which is demonstrated through contrasting lighting techniques and colour choice.

One project in particular that interests me is Browns final degree project 'I want to be just like you' - 2008. The series of images focuses on 4 female subjects, turning real life domestic locations into film like sets. Brown uses styling to disguise their true identity, resulting in the young girls turning into characters. The use of low lighting and photographing at night, Brown draws the viewer attention into the photographs by using seductive contrasting colours whilst unnerving them with the strangeness of the content from the positioning of the girls in which questions the construction of femininity.

The elements that Brown uses in this project interests me as the use of light, colour and body language can draw the viewer into certain emotional states and create a range of different meanings.

From adapting these techniques into my own personal work of the manipulation of the human form, this will allow me to consciously consider ways of addressing a potential meaning and make the viewer observe the entire photograph rather than a specific part of the frame whilst potentially unnerving them with seductive parts of the body or an unusual representation of the human form.

Harley Kelly.

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