You probably wouldn't see my work in a gallery. Then again you wouldn’t refer to me as an artist. There are no awards for what I do, perhaps because it's hard to describe it or the value is yet to be quantified in a general sense. You may see my name beneath a photograph although I didn’t take it. I don’t work for an advertising agency, design studio or magazine. So, what am I? What do I call myself? These are questions I am still uncertain how to answer clearly. Let’s go with image-maker. Perhaps even storyteller. Though better known to some as an art director, stylist or set designer, depending on where you’re from.
The word ‘stylist’, in particular, was a word I disliked. The aversion was a result of listening to others question its importance and intent. It was a result of witnessing the photographer and stylist working relationship. In the beginning, it was never equal. With the photographic world heavily dominated by male photographers, it was at times difficult to have your voice heard as a female creative.
I love what I do but don't believe anyone that tells you loving what you do doesn't come with stress, anxiety and uncertainty. It starts at the very beginning. What will happen if I quit my job and start doing what I love? What if I fail? What if I don’t have any great ideas? More often than not, I don't know. I don't have an ideas bank and I like that. Having preconceived ideas leaves me feeling comfortable, even bored. It’s as though the future is written out. My process revolves around not knowing. It is the driving force behind creative exploration. The beauty of an idea that has yet to be exposed. The process of discovery is the most exhilarating part. The thought, the research, the reading, the sketching, the late nights, the stress, anxiety, needing help, then not wanting it, the desire to quit and then persevering. It goes on. It's an agonising but rewarding process.
Once you have an idea, the uncertainty doesn’t stop there. There are new questions. Is this really ‘the’ idea? Are you sure you can’t do better? How am I going to realise this concept? Has someone done this before? This is where the collaboration between a photographer, designer, producer etc. can be so vital. The constructive criticism, feedback and suggestions are integral to bending the rules even further or perhaps not too far. But doesn’t this equate to more uncertainty? At what point do you stop and feel satisfied? From uncertainty in the way I'm defined to uncertainty in the quest for ideas, the search is never over. Creativity is discovery; a challenging process of unknowing, that somehow makes the physical result, the finished product, so certain.