Saturday, 18 December 2010

Its having a voice without actually speaking, a conversation with Reo Bartosz.

I know i have mention Reo and her amazing talent before and i'm sure i will continue too, but for any one who wanted to find out a bit more heres a feature i wrote about her.

‘It’s having a voice without actually speaking’

A conversation with ground-breaking

conceptual photographer Reo Bartosz

By Hannah Cross-Phillipson

The world of Reo Bartosz is a world of endless possibility. Her photography explores fantasy worlds as well as harsh realities. She pictures a strange feline whisperer, or a frozen corpse, or women transforming into or maybe merging with trees, their running feet taking root. Reo frequently uses her own body as her subject and her canvas to create characters in a myriad of imaginative, dark and intriguing stories.

I met Reo in the coffee bar of the City Art Gallery in Manchester. She arrived before me and I first caught sight of her against the window with the steam from her cappuccino wafting around her white-blond hair and making her look even more beautiful and other-worldly than ever. Her attention was elsewhere, she seems absorbed in her thoughts and I imagined she was planning her next image,

She turned and smiled. Suddenly the moment was lost and we were just two young women meeting for a coffee. But I wanted to know more about the other Reo and the world she goes into, and invited us into with her photography.


‘There are no boundaries …’


I began by asking her how her interest in photography began. She explained that

she’d always known that she wanted to do something creative and had always loved photography - just hadn’t known that that’s what she wanted to do with her life. In college she experimented with a range of media and found only photography could express the images in her head.

“Photography enables me to become more creative, there are no boundaries; you can be as creative as you want” she explained. “The quote that’s on my website says it all, it encapsulates what photography is for me: ‘photography isn't just taking a snapshot, it's having a voice without actually speaking. That’s what it enables to me to do, it lets me express myself, and express my emotions.”

We began to talk about style and influences. Reo admitted she does not feel she has a style of her own yet as she is still developing and learning. She does however have a passion for the more conceptual side of photography. At this point she found it hard to express her motivation in words but it was clear to me that the thought of creating emotion and strong reaction in a viewer is one of her main ambitions and she wants to develop that.

Everything is inspiration for me

After seeing how ambitious she is, I wanted to know more about the inspiration behind that ambition. “I don’t have one specific thing that gives me inspiration”, Reo said. “Inspiration is everything. Music is very inspirational to me. I put my headphones on, I listen to some emotive music and sketch out ideas. That’s when I really get the creative juices flowing.”

I asked her whether there was any advice she would give to anyone who wanted to work in photography, based on her own experiences. “Be careful - it’s a ‘dog eat dog’ world. I had always thought that about the fashion industry but I’ve found out that’s it’s the same for photography. Everyone is out for himself or herself.”


I didn’t think it would take over

as much as it has done –

it’s almost as if I need it …”


Photography has clearly become really important to Reo. That was very apparent to me as we talked and Reo confirmed it. “I didn’t think it would take over as much as it has done its almost as if I need it”, she confessed. “Everything I look at… everything I say … everything I think of … that could be a photo. That’s a opportunity.“

Ambition radiates from Reo so when I brought up the subject of the future she was quite passionate. “Well, I don’t want to be scraping pennies out the sofa when I’m 30. I want to be successful by then, I want people to respect me as an artist. I want my work to be seen and noticed. I just feel that there are people, who are not mega successful but are more successful then I am, that look down their noses at me. I want to get to the stage where those people respect my work and me.”

Throughout the interview I had complimented Reo on her work, which I admire greatly. She was gracious in receiving my comments, but I felt she was not really convinced that other people could value her work. She will always push herself further to make people think, and to mess with or break the rules and conventions. When I thanked her for her time, she almost seemed more grateful to me for choosing her as the subject.

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