Before their upcoming exhibition this Friday the 23rd September, we sat down for a chat with Virginia and Ella, the two artists collaborating on this exciting event. See the conversation below on their inspirations and more!
We’re excited to have you at KERB, are you fans of natural wine at all?
Virginia: We are super excited to be exhibiting at KERB! While hunting for space specific venues for our current exhibition me and Ella both felt imminently that KERB was the space for it. The contrast of such a contemporary space and our images taking on contemporary and vintage times was the perfect combination.
I am a big fan of wine in general and I love the authenticity a natural wine can offer. I could personally drink orange wine for the rest of time so I guess that's a yes!
Ella: We are so excited to be exhibiting this project at KERB, a natural wine shop feels most fitting for some of the themes in the work - to answer your wine question, I have a very sweet tooth so a dessert wine is what I would usually ask for, just something really sweet and tasty.
How do you guys find Manchester as a city and culture?
Virginia: I think Manchester is a great place to be at the minute. There is just so much going on creatively, which makes me want to get involved and develop more and more of my art. As a culture I believe is very wide and you can meet people that you work with and end up very good friends too. I love how small in a way Manchester is.
Ella: Manchester has been a place of immense creativity for me. The city is filled with incredibly talented people and I’ve found that through putting yourself out there, you inevitably cross paths with all other like minded creatives.
Where does the name Silver Ear come from?
Virginia: Silver Ear is a title from one of the pictures Ella had taken during our works together. It is also one of my favourite works as I believe the silver earring our model and very good friend Ellen is wearing is captured in a way where the closer you get to the image the brighter the whites appear. I feel like me and Ella both wanted a more vague title for the exhibition and Silver Ear was exactly what we were looking for.
Ella: Our theme for this project is ideas surrounding fetish, my take was to photograph materialistic objects which are often fetishized, such as clothes, shoes and jewellery. Ellen, our beautiful friend and model, was wearing gorgeous silver earrings which caught the light and photographed beautifully, so naturally afterwards Virginia and I landed on ‘Silver Ear’ as the title of the show.
How did you guys both start creating what you do?
Virginia: Visual creations have gone through loads of different directions and mediums for me. I felt the most comfortable when I started looking more into female gaze and how current creators like Juno Calypso practises femininity and surrealism through photography.
I then worked on personal projects on self-portraiture and explored so many aspects of myself that I could only express so clearly through my art. I always struggled with words, so through my photographic projects and surreal sceneries I created questions for the viewer and that created conversations I was comfortable engaging in.
Ella: A passion for photographing feminine beauty began when I discovered the use of draped fabrics within visual culture to symbolise divine femininity. This, paired with my love for taking portraits, snowballed into the portfolio I have today.
What do you enjoy the most about creating?
Virginia: The thing I enjoy the most about creating is working with incredibly creative people. I also personally enjoy working on pictures and sequences, it might take a very long time to create a storyline but when that happens the feeling of fulfilment is what makes me want to create more.
Ella: Getting to know and spend time with the people I photograph is so important to me as it allows me to photograph a beautiful side to them that I’ve come to see. This is such an enjoyable part of the creative process as a portrait photographer.
Have you always collaborated on your art?
Virginia: Me and Ella met around Covid times as I was a year above her during university, we only had online lectures, projects etc. We finally met in person through an exhibition and after that I modelled for one of her personal projects. I really admired the way she photographed as she knew the moment and she was so confident about the final result-even though working on film doesn’t allow you to know at the time. We then started working together. It comes really naturally working with Ella and this project is very personal for both of us I believe, as it is the first collection of images we put together as creatives and exhibiting it.
Ella: Virginia was in the year above me at uni and we met briefly there, a few months after we met again at an exhibition and got chatting. She modelled for a personal project I was doing at the time, and from then on we started working together more and more. We’ve not known each other for very long really, however we are very in sync creatively and it feels like we’ve been working together for years when we collaborate on a project, it’s a really nice thing to meet someone you instantly click with.
Are there any inspirations to your work?
Virginia: Our project focuses on fetish photography and how that can be depicted through vintage and film or more contemporary and digital. My inspirations are a mixture driven from compositions of Claude Cahun, Helmon Newton, Lee Miller, John Willie to Petra Collins and Nadia Lee.
Ella: We had a few inspirations when creating this project, one for me being the works of Herb Ritts, a gorgeous photographer whose work is precise and just radiates brilliance.
What can we expect from the exhibition?
Virginia: There is going to be lots of curation from both of us, a very personal project with few selected visuals exploring fetish, kink, and fashion photography. We love that KERB will be the first place to welcome our vision and hope to take the exhibition on to more places. I would also like to thank KERB for being so supportive for young upcoming creatives and giving the absolute artistic freedom to us.
Ella: This exhibition displays mine and Virginia’s collaboration on the idea of ‘fetish’, and we explore visually what that can mean through photography. The images will be displayed within the 'Silver Ear' exhibition at KERB, we can't thank you enough for the opportunity to display our work in your gorgeous shop.