The term 'to capture on film' has never been more appropriate than it is in application to the work of fashion photographer Ellen Rogers, creating aesthetic dreamscapes, where spectres, spirits and parallel worlds of beauty are drawn in to and co-exist in stunning analogue photographs alongside the “real” subject - a contorted and effervescent expression of, both, the human form and true Human nature. Dazed spoke to the ethereal photographer, who we featured in a RISE piece a while back, the week of her first book signing and mini-exhibition at The Last Tuesday Society.
Dazed Digital: What is about analogue film that captures your imagination and your creativity that digital photography can't emulate?
Ellen Rogers: I suppose it’s the attraction to the organic quality of film; it’s not necessarily the idea of purity, I’m not a purist - I like a lot of digital work. I seem to give the impression (wrongly) that I dislike digital art, I don’t, I like it, but it isn’t for me. It’s an angle I can’t see from.
It is just like that fact that I am vegan, it’s not like I still hang around protesting outside Huntingdon life sciences like I did as a kid. I don’t necessarily believe the things I once did, to the extent I once did, but a switch was flipped and I couldn’t turn it off. It’s engrained there (those abstracted morals) and it is as etched in my psyche as the light itself is on my film. I suppose I have become a creature of obscure morality.
DD: There's a certain Deus Ex Machina quality about your work – spectral and spiritual manifestations that exist as part of, but also apart from, the reality of the subject - like a lifting of the veil. Is that something you aim for, something you're interested in expressing?
Ellen Rogers: I don’t think it was ever my intention to avoid anything or show anything particularly; it was just an exercise in the automatic. I do have intensions that I have not exorcised, I will. Clear intent is very difficult when you are making work commercially or for and with other people. My personal work will make full use of its liberations this winter, I will push my freedom.
DD: I read that you don't consider your predecessors or contemporaries as your inspiration – more outside sources – I get the feeling you enjoy aestheticising the various aspects of the human form and the human experience?
Ellen Rogers: Of late it has been my political views that have dictated the direction of my work (outside of editorials that is), so yeah, to a degree it is an attempt to articulate aspects of humanity I am appalled by or hope to oust somehow. I am working on a project based on various things I want to bring awareness to. Of course it’s to be listed as personal work so not to be compromised in any way.
DD: You're signing your book this coming Thursday; are you planning any sort of aesthetic or sonic accompaniment?
Ellen Rogers: We thought long and hard about how this should pan out: sonically, one of my best friends (and an incredibly talented photographer) Susu Laroche will be djing, there will also be a few original prints to be seen and, aye, I’ll be signing.
Ellen Rogers will be signing her new book 'Aberrant Necropolis' on Thursday 28th July at The Last Tuesday Society and it is available to order now from her website.