Ellen Rogers: Photographer
Ellen Rogers is an all-analogue photographer and filmmaker. Using traditional darkroom processes and development techniques, Ellen Rogers is noted for the exclusive use of film in her photographic work. Ellen Rogers is best known for her work in fashion photography and portraiture.
Photography is not just important to cut out a specific moment in time, but also to create and express your own world. There are so many things that we can learn from artists. She is, with out a doubt is, one of the best living photographers in the world.
-----For those who are not familiar with you, tell us more about you. How did you get interested in photography and why did you decide to become a professional photographer/artist?
I’ve been taking photographs my whole life, or at least as far back as I can remember. I used to take photographs with my dad and his friends and I always looked forward to shooting long exposures at night and doing complicated or technical shoots. I went to university and studied print making but I found myself channeling everything I made though the filter of photography, like screen prints and photogravure for example. I finally did a master’s degree in photography. I became a professional quite be accident, a stylist approached me about a fashion shoot at my master’s degree show and it went from there.
-----When you create your art pieces, what kind of processes do you have in your mind? Can you see the final production when you start a new project or does the process of creation give you ideas?
Quite often I’ll have a place in mind; that is to say, I will want to portray an event or realise an idea or emotion I’ve been fixating upon. Quite often it will be a selfish excuse to get something off my chest. It’s like an exorcism to remove an inundation of sensitivity so I can better function in day to day life. I always feel that way, that a more sensitive and pained version of myself makes the work not the practical girl who I usually live in the body of.
-----What kind of emotions and sensations you experience when you create a great piece?
If I’m honest with myself, I don’t think I’ve ever created great work, and just that thought is enough to keep me striving for greatness, something I genuinely don’t think I’ll ever achieve. As for sensations I get when I work, I love to be practical, and doing something that involves technical skill, I often think that’s quite a wholesome feeling, working with mechanical cameras and film stock.
Ellen Rogers: Keep Me Striving For Greatness
-----What makes a great piece of art? (Techniques, concepts, experience, knowledge, intuition etc.) What is the best mix for you?
From what I can view in other people’s work, when I see greatness, I see a healthy understanding of the medium they are using, a confidence to transfer emotion and ideas effectively to a new medium, a sense of humor and an ability to stick faithfully to your original idea and see it through to its end with patience and respect.
-----What is your typical habit and pattern to breed your fountain of creativity?
Of late, I like to spend time with people who challenge me personally, who don’t tend to agree with me morally or politically, so I can try and see new points of view and ways of thinking. However, inspiration changes for me so quickly. I might still be inspired by a story I love or a feeling I lack or something I am burdened with.
-----Based on your experience, what you can learn in school and what do you need to learn outside of school to be a successful photographer/artist?
Well, I think university particularly sets you up for meeting deadlines; it took me a while to notice that. That in fact I was already primed for the deadlines I had as a fashion photographer before I had even done my first fashion shoot.
Outside of university, well lingo I suppose, I won’t go into the minutia of words and events but making things like ‘call sheets’ and such was a learning curve to me, but you know, I enjoyed being thrown in the deep end from time to time.
-----There are many talented people without a lot of exposure and commercial success. What is the difference between successful and non-successful photographers/artists in their way of thinking and attitude?
Oh that’s a difficult question, and ultimately I think from what I can see the difference is maybe whether or not you want to be notorious. Not everyone does, and really I can’t blame them for wanting their privacy. I personally, would measure talent and success in different ways and don’t consider them always mutually exclusive.
-----Imagine everything is available to you without any limits, what would you like to create?
A photo that can move.
-----If you could make a call to 20-year-old Ellen Rogers, what kind of advice would you give to her?
Ellen, you big silly, no need to be so defensive, aggressive and single-minded, you might regret that. In fact, I’m certain you will.’
-----If you could leave one message to make the world better, what would be your message?
Do messages make people better? I’m not sure that’s for me to say, and the world is full of individuals who might need individual messages.