Today’s POP is Alicia, sitting down with RCA MA photography student Victoria Jenkins, who will display her work at SPLINTER this coming weekend at the Michael Hoppen Gallery.
Victoria Jenkins, Hippocamp, Inkjet Print, 2013
How important do you consider events like SPLINTER for emerging photographers?
Art fairs are a great opportunity to have your work seen by a larger audience, but they can be disappointing with regards to attracting collectors of photography. SPLINTER presents a really exciting opportunity for us studying at the RCA as the focus on photography and the maximum sale price of £1000 should hopefully generate some interest in our work while allowing us to meet new and experienced collectors of the medium.
Is the idea of the photograph as a collector’s piece something that motivates your work?
I really care about the finished photograph as a beautiful object, so the possibility that somebody else might choose to take it away with them, keep it in their home and ultimately value the work is a really exciting prospect.
Victoria Jenkins, Griffin, Inkjet Print, 2013
Who or what else influences your work?
I used to work in a very different way until a tutor of mine showed me a copy of Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel’s book Evidence, which has since had a huge influence on me. I have long had an interest in surrealism, but felt that the book, a collection of found and re-contexualised images from public and private archives, had a disquieting strangeness that made it so exciting.
Artists whose work I have been thinking about a lot recently include Susan Hiller, John Wells, Naum Gabo, and John Baldessari.
Your photographs ostensibly show us scientific statements of fact and experimentation, but, upon closer scrutiny, reveal subtle hints of trickery or the traces of construction rather than representation. How do you view the relationship between science and photography?
I feel that the relationship between science and photography is one of inquiry into the nature of the world around us. I do like to play with the perceived empiricism and objectivity of the photographic image and undermining this by revealing the means of my construction. Of late I have become interested in the language of science, particularly the use of diagrams and metaphors, which aid our understanding in very abstract concepts. I feel here that there is a game of give and take: in one way they reveal the world to us and add to our understanding, but they are also not exact. When we come to understand a concept ‘as if it were’ something else we are also understanding the world only as an approximation.
Victoria Jenkins, Fig. 1., Fiber Based Print, 2012
Could you talk a bit about your research methods for your past projects? Your photographs brim with a considered, intellectual energy…
Prior to studying at the RCA I had worked in libraries and archives and old habits die hard! I'm a hoarder of images and it is with these, mainly gathered from library image archives, scientific text books and more offbeat sources such as Fortean Times and furniture assembly manuals, that most of my work begins. I’d say that 70% of my time is spent looking for sources and the rest figuring out what to do with them.
How do you categorise your work?
In many ways I work quite traditionally, using a large format film camera and printing myself by hand, so I do feel more comfortable introducing my work as a ‘photograph’. However, I suppose that the research process and the way in which I display my work does matter just as much to me, so there is equally something beyond the final print that is a part of my work, too.
How do you see your work developing?
I have been thinking about the more instructional side of my work, pieces that look like an experiment in process, and how this might translate to video or performance.
What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?
Find the aspect that you care about the most and use it to carry what you are doing. I actually find taking a photograph to be a real chore but love researching, constructing and whiling hours away in the darkroom, so I build my work around that. If you’re not happy doing something, you won’t do it well, if at all.
Could you talk about your experience of photographic further education?
It’s expensive, it’s a drain on relationships, it’s frustrating and, at some point, you will most likely find yourself worrying about what some dead philosopher would have thought about your work. However, it also develops your work and how you think about it exponentially. It allows you to meet and discuss your ideas with incredible people, tutors, visiting lecturers and, crucially, your fellow students. It will open up so many opportunities to you. The decision to commit to studying anything these days is a tough one, but not one that I regret taking at all.
Victoria Jenkins, Fig. 2., Fiber Based Print, 2012
SPLINTER – An Independent Photography Dealers Fair is on from 27th – 28th April at Michael Hoppen Gallery, 3 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TD
- POP 1195 Monday 15 April 2013
- POP 1188 Monday 8 April 2013
- POP 1207 Monday 29 April 2013
- POP 1204 Thursday 25 April 2013
- POP 1171 Monday 18 March 2013
You’re currently reading “POP 1201 Monday 22 April 2013”, an entry on THEPOP.COM
- 22.04.13 / 7am