Oh Comely Feature No Hyphen (PDF)

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Lucy with her beloved vintage bicycle.

the fearless explorer
words and photography bethany watson

photographer lucy cullingworth on travelling the world and her
stateside inspirations

Describing herself as a ‘spur of the moment’ photographer, Lucy
Cullingworth dreams of capturing the world in all of its glory. A fan of film
cameras, she aims to photograph the unexpected goings-on in life and
bring them to our attention, all in a series of retro hues. We wanted to
know more about Lucy’s work and plans for the future so we met her for
a chat.

What style of photography excites you most? I’m interested in
documentary photography and natural-looking photographs.
Recently, I took a trip to Berlin where I captured images of the lifestyle
there and intriguing areas around the city. Two friends came along and I
had fun incorporating them into the photographs when they were least
expecting it.

Lucy, tell us how you first became interested in photography.
I never intended to become involved with photography, but at college I
had an extra class to choose and I picked it. Since then, photography is the
only one I seem to have stuck with.

What was your favourite spot in Berlin? On one of the days, we visited a
theme park that had been abandoned for around ten years. It was buried
inside of a forest and we had to find a gap in the fence just to get inside.
Everything was rusty and rotting and it was really quite difficult to get
around – at one point I almost fell into a river!

How are the aesthetics of your photographs influenced by your personal
taste? I take inspiration from photographers such as William Egglestone
and Stephen Shore who have a retro American feel to their work and I like
to recreate this look with film cameras. However, I’m also a fan of Diane
Arbus who has a darker, more sinister approach. That’s probably the reason
for the contrast between the look of my photographs.

I managed to get some beautiful pictures there as the sun was out and it
kind of contrasted with the eerie atmosphere of the
theme park.

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Above: a dinosaur replica from an
abandoned theme park in Berlin, shot by Lucy.
Right: Lucy holding her DSLR camera.

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Have you ever visited any other fascinating locations? Once I visited a
ghost town that previously hosted a fishing community. The doors to the
buildings had all been broken into so I was free to wander around. Being
alone there, however, was quite strange but thankfully I’m not
easily frightened.
Describe your a favourite photograph of yours. Again, I was in Berlin when
I noticed a religious ‘Jesus’ propaganda poster on the wall and began to
capture it with my camera. As I was doing so, a man entered the shot and
blurred due to my shutter speed, making him look like he was turning his
back on Jesus. The photograph has a kind of haunted and spiritual
feel to it.
Where do you see your photography career heading? Being able to travel
around the world taking photographs is my dream. I’d love to visit India
and explore what it’s like to grow up there, capturing striking photographs
and emphasising the vibrant colours.
I would also find it insightful to experience photography on the front
line during a war. Nicholas Nixon is a photographer who uses his natural
surroundings to create shocking and powerful images and although he
specialises in portraiture, his work has influenced me a lot in this field. I’m
looking forward to what the future brings.
location @theenglishmuse

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