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Observations of environmental and political change
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Observations of environmental and political change

Interview with Tracey Walker

Tracey, how did you become interested in photography?

My photography journey started at school, where we were encouraged to embrace Analog Photography. The school had dedicated facilities to develop and print our images. In addition, trips to our local beaches inspired us to experiment with its uncultivated environment.

I do enjoy using film and the raw grittiness it extrudes, but now I am converted to the digital age. I love the freedom to experiment with multiple images, keeping the critical process of photographing with intent.

How would you describe the photographic work you do?

My work doesn't fit into a particular genre of photography. I experiment with light and mood using natural and studio lighting. People, animals, nature and landscape are all favourites, including our friendly Saint Bernard "Bear".

I often attempt to document and preserve a piece of history and tell a story with meaning. I endeavour to create awareness and stimulate curiosity, to make people think. The use of dark, moody colours and atmosphere are prevalent in my images.

My work expresses issues that have affected or touched me somehow.

When and why did you start taking photos of environmental issues?

My photography is an extension of my art journey. Over the years, painting and printing have been my portals to tell a story and express ideas to stimulate curiosity and awareness.

I have now employed photography to capture the images for my pieces. In some cases, I use the captured image in its purity to tell the story; other times, it is part of a mixed process built from photos and painted media layers.

Can you tell us about your project, "An Inverse World"?

"An Inverse World" is an ongoing series of projects that I continue to explore.

The series features a small tree as part of the landscape, trying to adapt and survive in its changing environment. In each panel, the tree resides in a unique setting. The fifth image shows a small glowing shoot nurtured beneath an older tree, symbolising a glimmer of hope.

The series stems from my observations of environmental and political change and came to fruition when taking part in an online workshop with Sharon Tenenbaum. Every two weeks, we received a new exercise to challenge our imagination. For our final assignment, we produced a series of six images. I took different aspects that had evolved through the processes and applied them to this latest series.

I hope to catch the viewer's attention through the images by conveying that something isn't quite right.

The short statement describes this series of the six images.

"I dream of the past, a simpler life. Less threatening, less complicated. I try not to dwell, but everything seems to be changing. The world is in turmoil. Our climate is unsettled. The reassurance of trees that will blossom at the beginning of spring is no longer a given".
An Inverse World by Tracey Walker
An Inverse World by Tracey Walker
An Inverse World by Tracey Walker
An Inverse World by Tracey Walker
An Inverse World by Tracey Walker
An Inverse World by Tracey Walker

What’s your process when working on a project like this?

When starting a project, I have a loose plan that often changes and unfolds as the work develops. I usually begin by photographing images that I wish to include in my composite, mindful of lighting to create a coherent picture.

I capture some images within their natural environment and sometimes use a plain backdrop to help create the mask of the subjects that I wish to isolate.

I import the images into Lightroom, where I make minor adjustments before exporting them into Photoshop. Here, I use multiple adjustment layers to help create their environment.

I spend a lot of time experimenting with painting colour and light to create the atmosphere and mood and I am always writing down ideas as they come to me.

Do you have any favourite photos? Tell us about them!

I have two favourite photos. One is of my Father, an image inspired by a work hanging in their home, which is a copy of the work by Charles Frederick Goldie. Titled "A Warm Day." I wanted to capture the painterly lighting and the serene pensive pose.

My other fav is an image I captured of my husband clutching an onion that he had just picked from his garden. It represents his obsession with gardening and the need for more sustainable practice. Again, I have emphasised the texture as I wanted to highlight the onion skin, roots and the dirt on his hand.

What are your hopes for the future?

When I have completed several of the series founded on "An Inverse World", I would love to exhibit the images and include photographs and mixed media works in the exhibition.

Where can we find you online?


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