Bella Howard Interview30/05/2012
Bella Howard is having fun, it’s pretty easy to tell when you look at her work. Her photography is good times. She’s an antidote to the overly earnest, to those who take themselves a little too seriously. The result of which is compelling, unfeigned photography, the sort you want to see more and more of. It’s addictive stuff.
Clementine Widdowson - de Pressigny: I know it’s all about film for you – why is it your medium of choice?
Bella Howard: I like the not knowing, and waiting to receive the films, it’s exciting when you get the images back and they are not always perfect due to the chemicals etc. I love the grain, the texture, and the realness. With digital I’m always trying to recreate this but it’s just too perfect and flat.
CWDP: Do you have any little rituals that you do before a shoot?
BH: Early night, bath in the morning, loud music and lots of green tea.
CWDP: What’s the best thing about your job?
BH: The images you come away with, the travel and meeting amazing and talented people.
CWDP: If you did anything else for a job, what would it be?
BH: I always quite wanted to be a travel show TV presenter. It seemed like the perfect job, only doing 3 hours work a day and then exploring the rest of the time. Either that or be in a cult probs.
CWDP: Is there anything not awesome about your job?
CWDP: What other photographers or artists influence your work?
BH: Corrine Day is a great influence. I love her spirit and rawness - it’s more art than fashion in the traditional sense. Also Juergen Teller, Wofgang Tillmans, Terry Richardson, Nan Goldin, William Eggleston, Helmut Newton, the list goes on and on….
CWDP: Do you have particular stylists that you usually work with? – How do you know if magic is going to happen with a stylist, or do you just have to wait and see?
BH: For editorials I prefer to work with friends as we just get each other’s style and can compliment each other. For commercial work it’s mainly up to the client, so it can be a bit hit or miss, but so far I have been very lucky and worked with great people.
CDWP: How do you know when you’ve got the shot you’re after?
BH: Whether film or digi, you just know. I cant explain it, but it’s just when everything falls into place for that one moment. Sometimes you get loads of those moments per look.
CDWP: How do you approach your work, is there much planning involved before a shoot?
BH: Not so much planning, I work out the location and the team before, and cast the models, and then on the day I just see what the vibe is and work around that. I don’t really plan each image before the shoot - I think it’s better to be spontaneous.
CDWP: Any plans to work with moving images?
BH: Yes!!! I have now got a vhs, so I have been doing bits and bobs on that and am working out how to do editing whenever I get a free moment.
CDWP: What do you look for in a shoot location?
BH: It all depends on the story I’m planning to shoot, I like a bit of contrast with the styling and location so they somehow look a bit mismatched. I love to use as much stuff and clutter as I can generally.
CDWP: What is your dream subject to photograph, and where would you shoot them?
BH: I would love to shoot in some of the old soviet buildings in Russia and the Baltics. I think that is my next goal. The architecture is insane and so futuristic. I’m also a bit obsessed with Marilyn Manson, so that combo could work.
CDWP: What coming up next for you?
BH: At the moment I’m working on an exhibition I’m doing in September, which I’m keeping a secret till then. In other news though I’m doing another road-trip in the U.S. in August, with my sister and 2 besties, I can’t wait.
Clementine Widdowson - de Pressigny