“I wanted people to place themselves within the image, transporting them back to their teenage life, I am very much interest in the psychology and the seminal work of Winnicott (1896-1971) and his development of ‘the self’ during childhood and the teens.”
Zac T Lee
Zac T Lee (born in 1980) is a contemporary photographer from the UK. In his series “Troubled Little Girls” he is dealing with questions of how we construct identities in today’s society. For Zac T Lee photography is a medium to explore the subject of youth within the context of isolation and abandonment
Interview with Zac T Lee
Zac, you were recently shortlisted for “Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2013”. What does a photographer (and his body of work) need in order to stand out and get noticed? Especially keeping in mind the abundance of visual imagery in today’s society?
Trying to standout will lead you away from what you have set out to achieve, follow your own instincts and staying consistent to your own practice.
Your recent series is called “Little Troubled Girls”. Why did you decide to take on this subject and what it is about?
“Little Troubled Girls” (2013) is a series of photographs taken in charity shops across Greater London. The series shows different girls within changing rooms. The girls are adorned with found objects from around the store. Styled in objects, worn/used in unconventional ways.
This series casts an eye over various tangible links that run through my artwork, especially dealing with and capturing the emotions of identity, isolation, youth and their relationship with the space that surrounds them. The subjects having the ability to take, recycle, incorporate, fashion, hang, balance and wear. Their bodies forming a blank canvas that can act as reflective mirror, offering a glimpse at their true selves. Peeling back the layers of identity that we construct in today’s society.
“Little Troubled Girls” is made up of twenty-four photographs, six of girls and eighteen of back room spaces within charity shops. The photographs of the back rooms add a hidden depth to the girl portraits. Showing a space is usually concealed; a forgotten place where items are discarded piled and dumped, contrasting the found objects adorned on the girls.
What reaction do you intend to provoke in people looking at you photos?
“This series aims to present an honest and frank consideration of the emotions of young girls within our culture today.”
I wanted people to place themselves within the image, transporting them back to their teenage life, I am very much interest in the psychology and the seminal work of Winnicott (1896-1971) and his development of ‘the self’ during childhood and the teens. Winnicott draws on experience as key to the construction of identity. This series aims to present an honest and frank consideration of the emotions of young girls within our culture today.
Looking at the final series, one often doesn’t realize how much time it took to realize it. How much time did you invest into this particular project?
This varies from project to project, some project are ongoing whereas some have a limited time scale.
A photographer has many “tools” at hand to bring across his message: lenses, lighting, framing, color treatment etc. Can you elaborate a little bit on the techniques you used for this particular project in order to link form and content?
“Technology, I believe, does have the potential to water down the art form of photography, taking away the essential skills and processes a photographer should use.”
This series and within all my work I use analog photography. Analog offers a hands-on approach to photography and the sense that each image is a crafted art form. I enjoy the process of using and developing analog film, going to the dark room and having a direct and psychical relationship with the work, using my eyes to adjust rather than relying on technology and monitors to make certain decisions. Technology, I believe, does have the potential to water down the art form of photography, taking away the essential skills and processes a photographer should use. However, it is important also to not deny the new benefits of technological advances in digital photography.
At the beginning of each project one often has some kind of idea in mind as to what the result could be like. Sometimes that changes along the way and the result is quite different. Was that the case and if so what did you learn during the project?
I have especially learnt a more technical side to photography whilst developing my practice, considering different formats such using a large format camera. This has allowed me to consider my work in different perspectives.