One of this year’s anticipated SALA Festival exhibitions is a collection of exquisite photos from photographer and traveller Georgia Combe’s solo trip to India. In our latest spotlight, Georgia tells us about her journeys and her fondness for photojournalists such as W. Eugene Smith.
Q: Hello Georgia! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
A: I’m a 24 year old photographer interested in using photography as a way of understanding and coming to grips with the world and my place in it.
Q: Who inspires you? What inspires your art?
A: People. Specifically, my Mum, she’s a real creative. Our family shed has always been a mecca of dyes, fabrics, paints and textiles. Mum, forever the supporter and enabler, never the dictator, in everything I’ve wanted to do. Always encouraging me, my brother, and my friends to express ourselves creatively. That approach kind of backfired on her when she had to come to terms with me travelling through India by myself for a few months but she was entirely stoic.
Q: Do you have a preferred medium?
A: Photography. Mostly digital, but I use a lot of old legacy lenses. Most portraits I’ve taken with my grandpa’s old Minolta lenses on a digital body.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Most of my work would come under the umbrella of travel photography. Related to that, my approach to travel is closely connected to my style of photography. I’ve never been particularly interested in sightseeing. The idea of box ticking museums and sights, or even countries and cities in some respects, is fairly lost on me. I like to keep things simple. Walk, read, eat the food and talk to the people. I enjoy making myself uncomfortable and going to places that are really foreign. I’m a people watcher and that fascination with people is what comes out in my photos.
Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process i.e.: from lingering idea to putting it into practice?
A: The process of taking photos helps me connect with places when I’m travelling. It gives me a drive and reason to learn about where I am. I never know what I’m setting out to take photos of but I try and find images that speak to a particular conception I may have about a place or person in addition to being a unique or “decisive” moment as Cartier-Bresson would term it. When I’m putting together collections, I try and string together something that communicates something about the subject, be it something aesthetic or something deeper.
Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the next five years?
A: A few more continents.
Q: If you could recommend one photographer, who would it be?
A: W. Eugene Smith, a photojournalist who developed the idea of the photo essay. He has a massive, almost infinite catalogue of incredible photos covering really important issues in his time like Minamata in Japan. I love all the old photojournalists. I’ll also take any opportunity to get on a soapbox in the name of Sam Cooke. His music has been the soundtrack to many moments in my life.
Q: What is your favourite gallery?
A: I guess it’s more of an exhibition than a gallery, but I love seeing the Archibald Portrait Prize. The more I travel the more I love and engage with my sense of place within my home country, and the Archibald is always such an interesting reflection of Australia’s zeitgeist.
Q: Where can we find more of your work?
Q: If you had to wear the same outfit everyday for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Jeans and a t-shirt.
– Masya Zabidi