Friday, November 06, 2009

A Conversation With Photographer and Jazz Singer Wendy Bevan

Can you please tell me a little about your background?
I moved around quite a bit as a child, but I was born in North Yorkshire, and grew up mainly in Suffolk. My parents are both actors so it meant me growing up in a really creative world. My dad is quite an excentric character, he is an actor , he also writes screenplays. He is now working on a film script that he has written based on the 'Mutiny of the Bounty'. He adapted the script for a rehearsed reading' at Latitude Festival this Summer. I was involved in the reading, I played the Fiddle throughout, as an accompaniment to the piece. My mum does not work anymore but she trained as a dancer and then she became an actress.

When you were little, what did you spend your time doing?
Making things!! I used to make a lot of things. And I used to sing all the time as well.

How do you think growing up with your parents influenced being the young woman you are today?
I think every moment of my life is inspired by how and whom I grew up with.

What made you want to become a photographer?
My grandmother used to have this wonderful chest of drawers full of old family photos from way back in the day, I used to rummage through these drawers and that I think has inspired me to this day. I found an image there of my mum from the early 70's, it was from her modeling days and she just looked so beautiful, I think that image of my mum made me want to become a photographer. She just looked so beautiful and that really inspired me.

You studied Photography in London for 3 years, did you assist/ intern with someone after or during this time?
Yes, I assisted Mark Lebon, for a short while and also assisted Nick Knight and at his Show Studio, as well as being an intern at POP Magazine. I also assist many different creatives in the Fashion Industry, art directors, stylists and photographers.

As an artist you explore various fields, let's talk about that for a moment!
How do you go about creating a shoot and what sort of equipment do you use?
I believe in the feeling of the image and I don't believe you need a lot of equipment to do that.I shoot with polaroid and I use film occasionally. I do not use digital. It's about the moment and you can not recreate/ catch it from a digital image, you sort of loose the magic/moment of/in the image.

Can you tell me about your collaboration with artist Ian Bruce? How did it start and what have you created so far together?
Ian is a very good friend of mine and I've done a few projects with him. He came up with this thing that he calls The Exchange Room recently which is based on artists exchanging with one another. Ian is a portrait painter, and painted a portrait of me and I in exchanged took a photographic portrait of him. I also perform with him once in a while as a Burlesque dancer, with his act The Correspondents.

Tell me about your involvement in the Burlesque world.
I am not much involved doing Burlesque acts anymore, even though I am kind of involved in the scene of that world. It's more a fascination of that period of time. The vintage scene inspires me and I am quite curious of the mystery of that world. I just love that sort of image, and the mystery that surrounds that world.

You're too an accomplished Jazz Singer!
I have always been in love with music and I sang classical music when I was younger, then i was in a band for a while called Medicine Show, which was an Indie / blues type of band, i was with the band for about 2 years. But I always really loved Jazz and I started concentrating on that a couple of years ago and now it is starting to take off. Again I really love that period of time, the 30's 40's and basically many of the things I create seem to reflect this era of time in some way, and Jazz fits with that world. Early in 2010 I will be hosting my own Jazz night at Bungalow 8 in London, which will be a platform to showcase some of the top talent in the London Jazz scene.

You design jewelry? How did that come about and do you still design/ create?
Yes I did design oversized pieces of jewelry; I created huge sculptural costume jewelry. When I was younger I created pieces for fun, and then in college I started making them again to photograph. After college, Mandi Lennard PR, represented me for a few years and I started to create these pieces for various photoshoots. In the end people like Steven Meisel, Bruce Weber, Jacob K and Simon Robins (among others..) shot my pieces. The Pop Boutique in Dover Street Market carried my jewelry for a while. I really loved creating but I sort of had to make a decision about it and realized that the pieces I were making took a lot of my time, it's not something I am doing at the moment, but who know's what the future will bear....recently I have used some of the pieces while performing.

Where are all you creations now?
They are all over my flat...! I am intending to have an Archive section with some tearsheets from various magazines that the likes of Steven Meisel and Bruce Weber have shot showing my jewelry.

Other areas you explore?
I've been in the play LULU recently (The images here are from the play) where I was performing and singing. I really enjoyed being involved in the play. It was the type of theatre I really like; Physical theatre based on the Lecoq style. The director Rachel Snider (some Rachel info:she worked with the performance artist Bobby Baker on How to Live at The Barbican and worked part time as a magician's assistant while in school in Paris)trained at Jacques Lecoq Theatre School in Paris. I hope to work with the Rififi Theater Company again, there is talk of LULU going on tour and also so great possibilities next year for the theatre company, with show's at bigger London Venues.

Influences of yours?
I do tend to look at old and found images but, I do get inspiration from every day, certain moments.

What is your next project/s?
I've actually been recording some jazz songs with a great producer, whom I just started working with ( Wendy did give me a demo of hers and it is really great, I can't stop listening to it and I Wish I could share it would you all somehow).I will be spending a few weeks in Paris soon where I will have some exciting photography projects coming up. Also, Italian Marie Claire which is a client of mine, will be doing an interview with me together with other female fashion photographers. That is a nice project to have in the near future. I too am doing a project with SHOWstudio, which will be a live performance, filmed and streamed onto the internet, so that viewers can see the performance as a live 'gig'. This will happen later this month of beginning of December.

Thank you my dear for taking the time to answer my questions! Hope to see you soon again.

Some Wendy links:

Lindha Portman Sagum
(All photos from the play LULU @ Wendy's Facebook )

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