All images courtesy of Claire Atkinson
Next as part of our next interview series, Claire Atkinson has kindly offered to answer a few questions for us! A recent graduate of Bolton University, she captures her world using photography, however she does not describe herself as a photographer stating 'I express myself using a camera, making tidy souvenirs of this sad and wonderful mess' That's definitely something Cause and Effect can relate to.
Claire's pictures are quite simply are really really great!!! I love the way she captures the essence of human isolation that plagues all of us and our emotions that go with it. Her pictures are intriguing and you get a clear sense of her perspective through her ideas. Cause and Effect thinks that great things lie ahead for Ms Atkinson's work, but have a read and make up your mind up for yourself!
Tell me a bit about yourself and what art you make?
I'm a 22 year old female, very much in limbo who makes candid photos on the streets of Manchester. I wouldn't call myself a photographer though. "Photography is nothing. it is life that interests me" as Cartier-Bresson would say.
Tell me about the themes you are working on at the moment and how you explore them?
A re-occurring theme that I read in my photos is isolation in public places, which I continue to explore. Making photos on the streets uses your reflexes and subconscious. There is no time for manipulation and that really interests me. The pictures I take reflect my mood or my situation without me really being conscious of it. So I rarely go out with a theme in mind, I just shoot whatever I see and occasionally a theme emerges.
For that reason I see it as very pure form of expression. I think there is a lot to be said for the sincerity found in simplicity. If i am reading, I'd rather see some straight talking Bukowski than a carefully crafted poem. It's the same thing with what I do.
What’s integral to the work of an artist and what is your artistic outlook on life?
Obviously a lot of dedication is necessary, but I think that comes easily with passion. I think that everybody has the right to express themselves freely without being judged for it.
What do you think your role as an artist has in society?
I always took pictures firstly to satisfy myself. Aside from that, I think I can show people a few things that they might have missed at first glance…maybe!
What jobs have you done other than being an artist? Have they influenced your work in anyway?
I've worked in a supermarket, I've done data entry, I've developed film for people, I've worked for the mail service and I do odd photography jobs. The job in the supermarket taught me a lot about people actually. I was incredibly bored most of the time. It's kind of like being on a bus, all different kinds of people heading for the same place. Customers would come in everyday just to have a chat because they had nothing else to do. It showed me how mundane life can be. You could call it an introduction to the human condition.
Do you find the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract the isolation?
It can be lonely. You are on your own mission which never ends.No matter what time of day it is or what I am meant to be doing, I can never switch off from it. Trying to come up with the ideas of how to make enough money to live whilst preserving the creative energy to pursue the work you feel you are meant to be doing is hard. Being with likeminded people makes that a lot easier.
What was the one memorable thing someone has said about your work?
A woman I met saw my project 'grey areas' and said it was "like being hugged and slapped in the face at the same time." I was happy with that.
You can see more of Claire's work here - http://www.claireatkinson.net/
Cause and Effect