FOCUS: Wendy Carrig
17 September 2020
We catch up with Wendy Carrig, Gold winner of the AOP Photography Awards 2019, Winner of The Portrait of Britain Award 2020 and an inspirational member of f22. Read on to find out about the successes of the f22 - Women Photographers at the AOP group and how the recent change in life has inspired a new creative path.
As a finalist in this years Awards 2020, with a still life series, as well as an exhibitor in the current f22 Spotlight exhibition, the images are a departure from your renowned portraiture work. Can you tell us how these images came about?
© Wendy Carrig. ALL at Sea
I’ve been collecting discarded sea-worn plastics from my local beach for twenty years, there used to be so much that I could choose items by type or colour! I have fish crates full of them. I’d been searching for ideas on how to present them as illustrative pieces and make a statement about plastic waste. Originally snapped as iPhone references for a beauty story, I was encouraged to explore my ideas in a still-life genre by a Creative Director friend, with promise of publication. I spent two sunny days selecting and composing and simply enjoying being immersed in the creative process. I was really pleased with the resulting images and. the CD was true to his word and ‘ALL at SEA’ ran as an eight-page editorial.
Last year I began work on a personal project titled On This Line That Divides, documenting all aspects of the extraordinary Dymchurch Wall, a four mile sea defence at the southern edge of England overlooking vast sands, and where refugees have recently come ashore. The human element was always the basis of my work, but there were many days when the weather was fierce and faces were few and I began to seek a different view. I love the graphic lines of pale washed-out concrete, while nature still manages to emerge between the cracks.
I’m really proud to have a still life series selected for this year’s Awards, and pleased to show work from my Wall project in the current Spotlight exhibition. Although both works appear a departure from my usual genre, I hope anyone viewing can see that my particular style of photography is still apparent. As individual as our personality it will always be our own unique view of life that sets us apart.
© Wendy Carrig. Left image: On This Line That Divides. Right Image: Skinny Dip.
Playing a significant role of the f22 Women Photographers at the AOP, can you talk more about the success of the group.
Thought extinct by the nineties and resurrected last year on International Women’s Day, f22 celebrated it’s first birthday as part of a talk at the Photographers’ Gallery London, titled Women Photographers Now. After the talk lively debate followed and we nervously joked about Covid and elbow bumped our farewells only days before #lockdown changed our world.
Trying to make sense of what was happening in our lives and our industry the f22 working group created a series of #LockdownLive events - super-sized Zoom meetings where scores of inspirational women creatives talked openly, and in a safe space, about the challenging new issues facing us. Surprisingly #Lockdown strengthened bonds and women who I had met briefly at a meeting or a workshop pre-lockdown, I am now pleased to call friends.
f22 has become an important support group for us all, and the Spotlight exhibition, our first group show, presents a snapshot of the quality and talent of women photographers at the AOP.
Meanwhile Issues raised at the Photographers’ Gallery talk, that were put aside with the advent of #Lockdown, will need to be revisited. I was honoured to be a speaker alongside the formidable Del Barrett, founder of Hundred Heroines, and Hilary Wood, founder and creator of the inspiring 209women project. Collaboration and inclusivity are key and f22 is planning more events involving other groups in the very near future.
@ Wendy Carrig. Self Portrait.
Do you have any advice for emerging female photographers
Confidence is key. Research gathered by the American Psychological Association shows that a woman’s confidence level will not be equal to a man’s, until they are both into their seventieth years! If this is believed to be true, you will need to be brave, step up, step forward, be visible, show confidence and take up space.
At the beginning of this year f22 created and ran a workshop titled Entering Photography Awards. Since then the f22 forum has been filled with chat about the successes of women photographers at the Julia Margaret Cameron, Pink Lady, Portrait of Britain, Open Walls Arles, and #AOP2020 Awards. Many of the photographers hadn’t entered Awards before and they are pleased and proud to be shouting about their work and achievements, which in turn has raised their confidence.
Have confidence in yourself, and others will have confidence in you.
And don’t forget the P words #perseverance #preparation #process #productivity #passion.
© Wendy Carrig. New Wave.
Where do you see the future of photography?
Photography has been evolving since it’s first incarnation over 180 years ago, and as 21st century photographers we will do what we’ve always done, embrace, adapt, and use change to inspire our creativity.
Throughout my career I’ve progressed through Nikon, Sinar, Bronica, Polaroid, Canon and Apple! The names may change but the cameras are simply the tools we use to realise the creativity within us, and that will never change.
We still need photography to tell a story, enforce an idea, send a message, and we need it now more than ever to show the reality and truth in our world.
© Wendy Carrig. Left Image: On This Line That Divides. Right Image: Portrait of Britain