Meet our favourite West London photographer Lily Bertrand-Webb. A long time friend of the brand, Lily has shot many of our Yolke Girl features but htis time steps out from behind the lens to take the spotlight.
Having lost her hearing at a young age, Lily taught herself to lipread and it is through her photography and film where she visually accentuates her other senses.
Inspired to take pictures by her godfather, lily has worked with the likes of Sam Taylor-Johnson & Dorothy Bohm as well as featuring on permanent exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery.
Step into Lily's world.
Photography by @jimiherrtage
HOW DID YOU GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY?
It was my photographer godfather, Andrew Forrest who first introduced me to the magical world of the camera. Legend has it that I picked up his camera from before I could even walk! (I have a photo of me as a baby with a camera to prove it!)
I lost my hearing when I was 18 months old and now wear a Cochlear implant. From a young age I realised that photography was a way of communicating with the world which didn’t require sound. I’m a very visual person, so I think my deafness is part of the reason why I love photography in the first place.
After studying photography at Bournemouth Art Institute and graduating in 2011, I went on to assist a few photographers before working for an independent photography gallery in Fitzrorvia for a couple of years. Since then I’ve been working as a freelance photographer!
WHAT'S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY?
When I was 3 years old, bathing in this glorious waterfall in Dominica with my parents for the first time in 1993. Being half Dominican, I’ve been yearning to go back after a 30-year hiatus. I finally went back with my sister and my Mum in February this year which was a very special trip for us as a family. My sister and I made a little photo diary that will be published on Citizen Femme’s platform later in May. It was a very special trip for us as a family.
FAVOURITE MEDIUM TO USE?
For me nothing quite beats the feeling of shooting on film. I’m obsessed with the whole process that comes with it, shooting on my analogue cameras, taking the film rolls to my darkroom and then printing photos with my printers. The intensity and richness of the colours never stops surprising me.
What SUBJECTS DO YOU LIKE SHOOTING?
I always have a camera with me as I’m always inspired by everywhere I go and everyone I meet. There’s nothing worst that not having a camera and missing ‘The Moment’ - I obsessed with the act of freezing time and documenting life as they go by!
My favourite type of shoot is usually a portrait shoot. I love spending time with the sitter, usually with coffee, as I gently ‘interrogate’ them as I nosily learn about their lives before eventually taking their portrait! It usually takes 1-2 hours. My favourite quote is from one of my favourite female photographers of all time, Eve Arnold:
“If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.”
ANY EXHIBITIONS YOU'VE GONE TO OR ARE PLANNING TO VISIT THAT YOU'RE EXCITED ABOUT?
I’ve been meaning to go to the brilliant Deautuse Borse Foundation Prize at The Photographers Gallery. The Photographer’s Gallery is a fantastic photography gallery that put on inspirational exhibitions. I’ve been going there since I first discovered the gallery when I was studying photography for my GSCES many moons ago! They’ve since moved to a bigger, beautiful building in Soho.
Do you have any exciting projects in the works that we should keep an eye out for?
Excitingly I’m just about to drop a new series for Partnership Editions, an online art platform that sells affordable art for all. The series, “Eye Spy” an ongoing series of photographic hand printed images I’ve taken over the years from the simple yet important notion of looking up. Sadly we live in this modern age where we are glued to our phones looking down and so missing life’s delights surrounds us.
It’s coming out on 31st May! www.partnershipeditions.com
Your favourite hidden gem in London?
St John's Lodge Gardens - a beautiful secret little garden in the heart of Regents Park. Perfect for a little bit of escapism from London life!
What are your guilty pleasures?
G&T with peanuts at the local pub!