text by Mayu Uchida
photo by Rebecca-Marian Irene

Fashion/Reborn: 「現在は、郊外と平凡さが醸し出す安心感について探求しています」Interview with Rebecca-Marian Irene

NeoL Magazine JP | Photo: Rebecca-Marian Irene Text: Mayu Uchida | Edit: Ryoko Kuwahara

ーーCan you tell us about yourself? About your background and about your career as a fashion photographer?

Rebecca:Well, my family are all artists. Mostly painters & musicians. My grandfather was a photographer but he never spoke to me about his craft. My first camera was a disposable I bought on a family trip on my 6th or 7th birthday. My mum got the photos developed for me. Eventually she gave me her Olympus Trip35, which was originally her mother’s before her. I still shoot with it from time to time.

ーーWhat process did you go through in order to develop this own style of yours?

Rebecca:I think my style is still evolving. It always will be. There’s a lot of experimentation involved- especially as I’m not formally trained. I follow ideas in a very long-term approach. I make various series of images with all different collaborators exploring the same idea until finally it feels resolved.

ーーHow do you reflect your own identity into your work and how do you define it?

Rebecca:Whether I intend to or not it generally shows up. There are roses all through my body of work and it isn’t a far stretch to assume that is because my mother grew roses when I was growing up. I make a lot of visual references to my life through my work that I never expect (or even necessarily want) people to notice. It’s a personal element that is just for me.

ーーWhat is the creative starting point for each of your shoots?

Rebecca:It changes often. Right now, I’ve been exploring suburbia & the safe feeling you get from the mundane. Before the lockdown, I had made two series with different teams exploring my local area. Now I can’t work with models and stylists and hair and makeup artists, but I’m still taking my camera when I go on short government-mandated walks around the area. The series will likely continue for a lot longer than I expected as my relationship to suburbia has changed with the stay-at-home orders. The mundane no longer necessarily brings safety.

ーーWhat kind of techniques do you emphasise the most? Especially, in the lighting techniques?

Rebecca:I love in-camera effects as opposed to digital manipulation. I’d rather use vaseline on a UV filter than photoshop my way into a bloom effect. Shooting through lighting gels is a lot of fun. The more I can achieve through practical methods and the less time I spend tinkering on my computer giving myself a headache the better!I used to work in filmmaking where my focus was always on practical & motivated lighting. It’s so important when you’re building a scene for a character. This isn’t so important with photography though and I love to use unmotivated lights and spotlights. Light can come from anywhere and no one questions it- they view the image in a vacuum of that work as opposed to existing within our reality.

ーーWhere do you gain your inspirations from?

Rebecca:Oh, from just about anywhere. Glamorous movie stars of the golden age of cinema. Playboys from the 70s. Renaissance paintings. The films of Wong Kar-wai. Weird memories that pop up as I’m trying to fall asleep and remind me of strange styling choices I made as a teenager. American movies about misfits and prom queens. I try to keep a list of ideas but I always forget to update it.

NeoL Magazine JP | Photo: Rebecca-Marian Irene Text: Mayu Uchida | Edit: Ryoko Kuwahara

ーーDoes trend or movements in the society effect you in any ways? How do you balance your own style and trend that is on-going?

Rebecca:It’s hard to say. I loved the cow-boy trend that has just passed through Melbourne. I love a Spaghetti Western so it was an easy one to incorporate. But, and without going into any details, there are other trends I’ve found tedious and stayed as far away from as I could.

In terms of balancing the trends with my own style; that isn’t something I’ve ever really considered or had much issue with. My style will come through whether I intend it to or not, it’s an innate part of my practice.

ーーHow did the crisis of coronavirus impact the fashion photography industry?

Rebecca:My ability to survive on my work is gone. Dead in the ground. I mourned it for the first month in isolation but now I’m thinking of ways to engage with photography outside of commerce. I’ve spent so long with my ability to create tied to my financial success and while it was scary to have that taken away, it’s also freeing. Art for art’s sake.

ーーWhile long-term effects of the current coronavirus is expected, has anything changed in terms of your perspective towards creations under quarantine?

Rebecca:It’s something entirely new, and not something I have a handle on yet. Being forced to reimagine my entire creative outlet is a shock I’m still processing. I’ve been experimenting, but there’s nothing I’m ready to talk about publicly yet. I don’t like to share things with the world until they’re 100% finished.

ーーWhat do you want to challenge yourself in the near future? Do you have any goals set for yourself?

Rebecca:Yes and no. I’m taking it day by day right now. There have been a few personal tragedies that have unfortunately lined up with the virus and it’s left me feeling completely ruined. I guess my goal is to take care of myself and those around me as best I can manage until we regain a semblance of normality.

ーーWhat do you see in the future of fashion photography?

Rebecca:Unfortunately, I don’t know. Maybe it’s counterintuitive but I’m trying not to think about it too much. The world we know is gone and I hope I can adapt to whatever takes its place.

NeoL Magazine JP | Photo: Rebecca-Marian Irene Text: Mayu Uchida | Edit: Ryoko Kuwahara

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