Interested by the human psyche, obscurity and those tender, glorified moments of absence, Helen Flanagan work portraits the intensity of loneliness that we human beings like to close our eyes for. The general dreamy atmosphere of composition and used palette of loamy colors makes every photo look like a still from a dream. This photography is maybe not for everyone, but we really appreciate it. Turn of the lights, get a glass of whiskey and put on a Nick Drake record.
“I love to find some sort of worth in the ordinary. It makes you look at the world a lot differently – an exquisite feeling of discovery, to be excited by the significant or the mundane and hold on to it.”
Who’s the person behind the photos?
An average, restless girl called Helen (no different from most Helens…) who longs to be distracted by the creeping monotony of age and so clings dearly to creative thoughts, visions and people.
What got you into photography, and what makes you keep on doing it?
My dad was into photography; maybe it was him who did it subliminally. I would snoop through all the old albums regularly. Also, I remember being aged 10 with a friend and having a basic point and shoot camera on holiday. The excitement to see the end photographs was great. These physical rectangular glossy documents, holding memory, charged with own personal and controlled subjectivity. What makes me keep doing it is probably the similar feeling. I love to find some sort of worth in the ordinary. It makes you look at the world a lot differently – an exquisite feeling of discovery, to be excited by the significant or the mundane and hold on to it.
If we’d like to trade something for a photo you made, what should the CFYE delivery man bring to your door?
Film please! I’m skint.
What’s your favorite item to take on the road with you?
A camera and a bottle of gin, bound to be crazy.
Something really fun about me:
I don’t mind being alone.
Best shooting location we should check out?
I dreamt about one, it was magical, honestly. The light was beautiful – and the person, I couldn’t quite make them out. It was like some old ruin, but everything was soft focus in colour, muted greens were prominent and hints of purple. Ah, I’d love to go there in person.
Tell us about your work as a photographer, did you just pick up a camera and educate yourself?
I’d play about with cameras and was especially fond of using tactile stuff on photos. So hands-on physical photo manipulation, because I did art, snipping, painting doodling. Nothing came serious out of it until I decided to pursue a degree at Falmouth uni, where I am now!
What’s your camera setup?
I upgraded my Bronica for a Mamiya and work 35mm with an Olympus om10. My canon 350D died two years ago and shall never be forgotten.
How does your environment react on you taking your camera everywhere and shooting all the time?
I always find myself shooting my housemate Kitty. I think one day I will dedicate a personalized book to her every move.
What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you when you were out shooting photos?
My current project on shooting men from adult dating/swinging sites can be strange. It’s very revealing of human nature and the psyche. They tell me a lot about their personal lives and problems after only ten minutes of me meeting them.
Who is your favourite movie/gaming/cartoon character?
Zelda. Radiates happiness
Which artist would you like to work with?
Francesca Woodman, because she is dead and I want to be awkward (as well as mesmerized by her) But on a realistic note, although it definitely isn’t realistic, I’d have the feet of Michael Ackman, the legs of Hellen van Meene, the torso of Sarah Moon, the arms of Bill Henson, the hands of Julia Beaseley, the head of Katy Grannan and the mentality of Ryan Mcginley. Dream team!
If you could fill a swimming pool with something, what would it be?
Soft foamy stuff, like what I think a fluffy cloud would feel and so I would dive into this mass of softness, laced with silk that felt like cream, maybe bounce – hopefully not drown.
Favourite city, and coolest thing about it?
Reykavik, Iceland. Coffee shops: the splendid type, with books and records and vintage furniture.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Well, I should probably aim to complete my degree. In the meantime I shall scrape my pennies for film and hopeful adventure My website and blog are frequently updated: