SML LAUNCHES NEW PHOTOGRAPHS COMMISSIONED FOR 20TH ANNIVERSARY: Q&A WITH PHOTOGRAPHER CHARLOTTE HART
We are delighted to unveil new photographs by Charlotte Hart, commissioned for SML’s 20th anniversary. Charlotte was the winner of the open call we launched earlier this year to commission new photographs in response to our brand and the theme of artistic creativity in the visual arts. We felt Charlotte’s work connected strongly with qualities we consider important at SML, including her focus on details and attention to nuance. Her reflective and contemplative photographs capture in-between moments – those that might otherwise be overlooked – and convey a thoughtful intentionality owing to her choice to often shoot on film, as she has in this new work.
Charlotte, who qualified with a BA in Architecture from Oxford Brookes University in 2019, before working as an Architectural Assistant, lives in the UK between London and the South East. Having been attracted to photography from a young age, she began to pursue it professionally in 2020 and currently works as a photographer, writer and designer. Charlotte spoke to us about what inspired her for this project, the influence of architecture in her photographs and what she has coming up next.
SML: Hi Charlotte, thank you for these amazing photographs, we are proud to feature them on our website. Can you tell us about how you got into photography?
CH: I was given a camera when I was a teenager and I spent some time travelling alone – it became my way of interacting with a place. Having a camera made me feel comfortable in any environment and allowed me to really explore, understanding places beyond the surface level of just passing through.
SML: How would you describe your photography practice?
CH: I find process really important. And time. So much of an image comes about through observing what I could take. I may notice a quality in something, a certain light or angle, and then I begin framing it in my head. Many of my projects have been the result of having spent time somewhere or repeatedly passing something, and then returning to photograph it. In my photography practice I use both digital and film. I think they both have their place and merits, but I love the discipline that film instils. When you only have a certain number of shots left on a roll it becomes really important when you click the shutter. I also love the anticipation of developing – when an image comes out well, it is so gratifying (as well as relieving).
SML: You trained as an architect and worked in an architect’s studio. How important is architecture to you in your photography?
CH: Very. Studying architecture completely changed my way of seeing. It allowed me to understand space from an entirely different perspective and also heightened my attention to the peripheral aspects. As an architect you are working with lived space, not a fixed image, and so tactile and ephemeral qualities become relevant. Trying to convey these is something I am constantly trying to achieve with photography.
SML: What aspects of our brand and the theme of artistic creativity in the visual arts did you take inspiration from?
CH: I associate SML with attention to detail – it is apparent that you value the little things that sometimes get overlooked. I am interested in the peripheral, what could be referred to as offscreen space. The little details that are essential to our experience but are less acknowledged. Within an architectural mindset, I regard space from a descriptive position, building a scene from sensory fragments rather than assessing its pure physicality as our minds really respond to gestures and glimpses.
I also saw a connection to process and nurturing relationships. Activity in the art world can seem very distant, critiquing final artworks for example, but there is so much more involved than this. A lot of time is actually spent in contemplation, both between the artist and their work, but also with the collectors and curators. I was encouraged by thinking about this idea of time and how the less tangible qualities of the artistic process could be communicated.
SML: Last but not least, what do you have coming up next?
CH: I am trying to move towards integrating my research and theoretical work within practical design. I would really like to continue making things in the physical sense, but there needs to be some sort of critique. A benefit of working in different disciplines is that they allow me to approach one through the lens of the other. I am tentatively exploring moving image; still using a fixed frame but introducing a few seconds of movement or sound to see what further senses can be triggered.