In support of our exhibition Adrift, we’re asking our exhibiting artists four questions to help you get to know a bit about them and their work.
Liz and Max Haarala Hamilton are London based professional photographers. Liz was born and grew up in Finland and Max in Oxford, England. They met at Camberwell college of Arts in 1997 where they studied photography and spent many hours in the darkroom together. Some years later they started collaborating on commercial portraits, editorial photography and fine art projects. In 2007 Liz completed her MA in Photography and Urban Cultures at Goldsmiths College. Liz and Max have been working on a number of personal projects alongside their commercial work. In their personal work they like to take a less obvious look at the everyday world. These projects have taken them to museums, store rooms, closed down fairgrounds, as well icy lakes. Liz and Max travel as much as possible for their photography, but are also working on a number of longterm projects in London. Their work has been exhibited both in the UK and abroad and has been short-listed for various awards such as the Fuji Film Distinctions Award, AOP Open and the Foto8 Summer Show. (bio from forthcoming Gasket and The Velvet Cell publication)
What can a photo do that other representations can’t? What is it that made you choose photography over other media as a way of communicating?
Photography has an ability represent a visual reality false or real, but at the same time it tells its own story which can often become removed from the reality. If there is no explanation people will read it based on what they know and create their own story which is always interesting to us.
What’s the first thing you remember photographing and why did you choose it as your subject?
Liz: members of my family were the first thing I remember photographing using my dad’s camera at the age of 6 then him showing me how to process and print it. I probably chose them as my subject as they were always there.
Max: I remember photographing my transformers toys using my dad’s old camera. I think I wanted to create a little story with the photos that I could keep.
How does your photographic process work, where do you start? Is it with a theory or idea, or is it driven by aesthetics or a desire to use a certain technique or piece of equipment?
We usually have an idea of what kind of project we want to do, but sometimes we just see something that is interesting to us and form a project or photograph from that. In terms of equipment we usually choose the most appropriate in the circumstances at the time of making the photographs.
Have you found photography to be an effective research tool? Has it uncovered ideas which have changed the path of your thinking?
When we are researching a project we learn a lot, we often discover new things and place through taking photographs and have found that we see more in a photograph we can in reality and sometimes the photograph creates its own legend which is also interesting.
What’s your favourite f-stop?
You can see more of Liz and Max’s work and writing here;