Interview with Lorna Evans, Photographer
Interview with Lorna Evans, Photographer
Recently, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Lorna Evans, photographer. Lorna is a Welsh documentary photographer based in South East and South West Wales. The main focus of her work is exploring animals, our relationship with them and the natural world. Please visit Lorna’s website to view more of her wonderful work!
KATHERINE CARVER: What were your beginnings as a photographer and when did you realize it would become your chosen form of expression? Did you study photography/art formally?
LORNA EVANS: It wasn’t until I was 17 that I discovered I had a love for photography. I went on holiday to Kenya to go on safari and bought a little point and shoot digital camera. It was during this time that I discovered how much I loved taking photographs. So, when I returned to art college in the UK I left behind my painting and drawing and started to pursue my interest in photography. After art college I attended The University of Wales, Newport where I studied Documentary Photography at BA (hons) and MA level.
KATHERINE CARVER: How do you describe your style?
LORNA EVANS: I think what really differentiates my work is the subjects that I choose to photograph; I’m interested in exploring inter-species relationships and I do this through documentary photography. I think each project I set upon requires a different strategy to be able to translate what I’m trying to say.
KATHERINE CARVER: Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating photographs was absolutely something that you had to do?
LORNA EVANS: This was during my BA studies. It took me a while to come to grips with photography and my camera – I struggled at first. It was during creating ‘Vestige’ that I realized this was something that I had to continue, as I had finally discovered what photographs I was interested in making – images that explored our relationships with animals. When I discovered this I found I couldn’t stop. So much so, that when I finished my BA, I decided to go straight into my MA.
KATHERINE CARVER: What was the impetus that inspired you to begin having dogs as the subject of your work?
LORNA EVANS: I have always been drawn to animals. I loved animals as a child (and still do) and grew up with dogs. I use my photographic practice to explore the different relationships between man and animals. Domesticated animals are closest to us, especially dogs. Humans have had a very close connection to dogs for thousands of years and I find this relationship fascinating.
KATHERINE CARVER: Where did you get the idea for your body of work entitled, ‘Vestige’?
LORNA EVANS: My father died in my presence when I was 12 years old and ever since then I have been very interested in death and transcendence and how people cope with it. I think encountering death at a young age fueled my curiosity. ‘Vestige’ stemmed from not only my fascination with death but also my fascination with animals. People are aware of the tremendous feelings of loss one can feel after a family member or friend dies – ‘Vestige’ was intended to explore how people feel when non-humans die, that a loss is still a loss, and it can hurt so much they can’t let go.
KATHERINE CARVER: Where did you get the idea for your body of work entitled, ‘Of The Night’?
LORNA EVANS: ‘Of the Night’ started from going out with a group of hunters. These people were my initial focus of the work; photographing them hunting rabbits under the cover of darkness. However, after a while, my focus shifted to the wildlife that was encroaching on the peripheries of the hunt. It was seeing these creatures, some that I had never seen before, that I became acutely aware of the distance between these animals and myself. It was then I decided to explore how humans have become estranged from the natural world.
KATHERINE CARVER: How have your own dog(s) influenced your artwork?
LORNA EVANS: ‘First Love’ was inspired from my own experience growing up with a dog, Bosun, who was my best friend. ‘ Vestige’ was influenced because when Bosun died it really affected the family, especially my mother who could never let go of his ashes that are still in her living room. After many years, I now have another dog, Cassie, who has become the main subject on my Instagram page! My name is @lornizzle, if you wish to follow my adventures with Cassie.
KATHERINE CARVER: Where do you show/exhibit your work?
LORNA EVANS: So far my work has just been exhibited in the UK, The Photographers Gallery in London being one of my proudest moments. To see where else my work has been please check out my website, www.lornaevans.co.uk.
KATHERINE CARVER: What does “being creative” mean to you?
LORNA EVANS: I guess being creative is doing anything that gets your imagination going and your mind thinking, whatever the output may be. For instance, I may not work on ‘serious’ photography every day, but I would say I use Instagram most days. It gets me thinking about my surroundings and the aesthetics, and I feel better for making those images, even if they are just snapshots of my day-to-day life.
KATHERINE CARVER: What is the most challenging aspect of being a photographer?
LORNA EVANS: At the moment I’m finding trying to juggle photography, earning money, and life to be difficult. I still haven’t found that perfect balance yet!
KATHERINE CARVER: What inspires you to keep going and what keeps you motivated?
LORNA EVANS: Competitions and submissions keep me motivated – getting good feedback makes me realize that I should continue what I’m doing and it gives me that extra boost that’s needed to keep on going.
KATHERINE CARVER: What are the most rewarding and satisfying parts about making photographs?
LORNA EVANS: I guess it’s what got me into photography in the first place, and that’s seeing and learning new things. You get to talk to people and see and experience things you may not have otherwise.
KATHERINE CARVER: You mentioned that you recently photographed at Crufts, can you describe this experience?
LORNA EVANS: It was an exciting, bustling atmosphere – people everywhere, so much so I found it made it very difficult carrying all my equipment around. Lots of people were happy to be there and talk to me. Others were less so and took it much more seriously, you could feel how tense they were. It was quite overwhelming seeing so many dogs – I don’t think you can really comprehend it unless you see it. There were five huge halls in which consisted of food stalls and shops selling some of the craziest dog paraphernalia (I remember one was selling what looked a bit like a microwave that you put small dogs in to blow dry their hair). There were also small rings for showing and then rows upon rows of divided stalls where the dogs were kept. The dogs were segregated into breeds so it was quite surreal to see so many of the same dog – imagine hundreds of golden retrievers in front of you, row after row! I heard at Crufts that something ridiculous like 57,000 dogs attend and participate over the course of 4 days. Making images was really fun, every dog has a different personality and so they all reacted differently. Some were well behaved and did exactly what their owners told them, others were young and excitable and less inclined to stay in one place. Some were even a little scared of being on the backdrop, the flash, and the event as a whole. I took a squeaky toy with me, which proved to be a lifesaver! This is great for grabbing a dogs attention and getting them to look at the camera.
KATHERINE CARVER: What are you working on now?
LORNA EVANS: My newest project is in the early stages and as of yet is untitled, but the premise of the work is about a black panther – that may or may not exist. I remember when I was younger people in my town talking of a supposed large panther type creature. It was dubbed The Beast of Blaenavon by the local paper. There were several sightings and victims were found savaged (geese, chickens and ducks). Not only does the sighting of the creature excite me, but I am fascinated by peoples’ reactions to it and I am interested in blurring the lines of reality and fiction.
KATHERINE CARVER: What artists inspire your work?
LORNA EVANS: Some of my favourite photographers include Alessandra Sanguinetti, Ricardo Cases, Charlottle Dumas, Clive Landen – the list is endless! These photographers in particular all explore human-animal relationships. Also, my friends who are practicing photographers inspire me everyday when I see what they’re working on.
KATHERINE CARVER: What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
LORNA EVANS: Nothing happens overnight so it’s important to keep plugging away and doing what you love. Entering competitions is essential, it’s really important to keep putting yourself out there. Don’t let yourself get knocked backed if you aren’t successful with a submission – your work may have not been right for them. Art and photography is very subjective. If you don’t try you’ll never know.
KATHERINE CARVER: How can people view and purchase your art works?
LORNA EVANS: You can view my work on my website www.lornaevans.co.uk. If people would like to purchase prints, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The photographs included in this post are courtesy of Lorna Evans.
You can read additional interviews here.