Lottie Davis (b 1971)
Is a multi-award-winning and BAFTA-nominated fine art, portrait, travel, editorial and commercial photographer based in London, UK. Her fine art photography is mainly concerned with narratives of memories, the tales and myths that we use to structure our lives. She is inspired by cinema, theatre, literature as well as classical and modern painting. “She employs a deliberate reworking of our visual vocabulary, playing on our notions of nostalgia, visual conventions and subconscious ‘looking habits’, with the intention of evoking a sense of recognition, narrative and movement” (The Photography Show 2017, 2017).
I’m exploring some of her work as I have a germ of an idea about using a mealtime as a basis for my assignment and I am aware of her image “Sunday lunch”.
This image was taken as part of her Love stories (2012-14) series, recreating the moments that parents first met as photographic archive. To create her images she interviews both parties together then separately, as their versions are usually slightly different, then combines the information. This image was then faithfully recreated as the fifties, at the cost of £5000, though sometimes she creates the past meeting in a different period. I was interested how she links her series by putting the girls always in a red dress, and also how she asks the actors what they’d like to wear so that they can really “inhabit” the character. Davies describes how she used props that belonged to them as well as something from her own life (Andreasson, 2017). She also describes how she added the cat for some movement and to take the viewers eye around the table and back.
Her project ‘Memories and Nightmares’ focuses on images inspired by narratives of individual experiences, real and fictional; these were constructed by friends written accounts of early childhood memories or nightmares. Davies says that she uses memories as inspiration to celebrate memories and encourage us to tell us more about ourselves (Smithson, 2017).
This image resonates with me as one of my earliest memories is the day my sister was born.
The story to this image, which was actually her own memory, “The day my brother was born” is:
“I am running down a corridor in a hospital, and to my right I can see a playroom with a dapple-grey rocking horse in the far corner. Usually I’d have gone straight in because the rocking horse was my dream toy, but I carried on running, thinking “I’ll go back and play later” (Smithson, 2017).
In this series rather like her “Love stories” where Davies puts her subjects in red dresses she gives the subjects red hair like herself.
I am interested in how in her work she dissects the meaning of memories, the way they are remembered and described, she says:
“What counts for us in the memory, it seems, is ultimately not its reference to the ‘objective facts’ of a particular moment but its capacity to act as a founding myth, a myth of the creation of the individual person”. (Lottiedavies.com, 2017).
I also like her photographic mantra to treat subjects always with dignity and that “The camera always lies and every photograph is from a single perspective, that of the photographer, and so I try to be honest” (Wright, 2017). Her work is very imaginative and I like many of her starting points. I will return to some of her other work in the future.
- Actively involve the actors so that they inhabit their roles
- Detail in the props are critical
- Add some personal props, material signs of my life.
- Compositional tricks to lead the viewers eye.
- Personal symbolism like Davies red dresses and hair.
- Crystal clarity in focus throughout the shot
- If recreating a memory collect good factual evidence
- Possibility for treating recollections as tales and myths
Andreasson, K. (2017). Lottie Davies’s best photograph: a couple re-create moment they met. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/nov/27/lottie-davies-best-photograph-couple-recreate-moment-they-met [Accessed 24 Jul. 2017].
Lottiedavies.com. (2017). Lottie Davies [online] Available at: https://www.lottiedavies.com/PROJECTS/Memories-and-Nightmares/2 [Accessed 24 Jul. 2017].
Smithson, A. (2017). Lottie Davies. [online] LENSCRATCH. Available at: http://lenscratch.com/2010/10/lottie-davies/ [Accessed 24 Jul. 2017].
The Photography Show 2017. (2017). Lottie Davies. [online] Available at: https://www.photographyshow.com/speakers/lottie-davies [Accessed 24 Jul. 2017].
Wright, Z. (2017). PhotoVoice » Ten Questions with… Lottie Davies. [online] Photovoice.org. Available at: https://photovoice.org/ten-questions-with-lottie-davies/ [Accessed 24 Jul. 2017].
Please note: Any images by other photographers used on this site are accredited and are being used for personal research and educational purposes only.