Alis Pelleschi is a photographer concerned with everyday life and society’s fascination with pop culture and wanting to be famous. Her photos are a mixture of bright colours, parody, humour and style, all with extra portions of tongue served in cheek. Don’t Panic believes that she is one to look out for...
What got you into photography?
It was a mixture of things. I guess, it all kind of really started with MySpace
. We moved house when I was about 12 and no longer lived on a street full of fun kids, so I spent quite a lot of my free time taking photographs of myself. I would spend hours dressing up and becoming characters and posing and taking 4mp pictures on a brick of a point and shoot. I guess I became a minor MySpace
celebrity with self-portraits inspired by the everyday characters I would come across in Bradford. It wasn't until a lot later that I actually realized that photography was something you could make money or a career from.
What is the central idea behind your work?
I guess I'm constantly trying to push the questions of what is fashion, what is beautiful, what or who is interesting, whilst at the same time not taking myself too seriously with it.
Where do you get your ideas from for your photos?
A lot of my work revolves around characters or people that I come across in my everyday life. I think the world I've grown up in which is so rich in imagery and celebrity lifestyle and popular culture, is inevitably where a lot of my references come from.
What thoughts or feelings would you like people to take after viewing your work?
You can be whoever you want to be!
Are there any photographer’s out there at the moment that excites you?
There are so many young hot exciting photographers right now to keep your eyes on, especially with the continuously evolving internet world. I can never get bored of Marie-fleur Charlesworth
! Her pictures are beautiful and slightly dark. I recently become friends with a lovely boy called Lee Chantler
, who takes really descriptive and honest portraits. Matthew Brindle's
colourful and bold photographs and self-portraits. There are so many!
As an artist/photographer you often get in front of the camera as well as behind. Is this more therapeutic than narcissistic? Please explain.
I actually wrote my dissertation on those ideas! Self-portraiture and Photographic Identity in Contemporary Society. I could ramble on forever on this subject, but I shall speak about how it feels for me. A self-portrait is more often than not, a form of self-exploration, but whether it is questioning something about me, or my body, or the world around me, or something completely different can vary. It becomes another tool in which I can express an idea or concept. It is not always necessarily about me, although any photograph someone takes say something about the person who takes it. I think it's also the idea that I'm willing to do things that perhaps other people aren't for my own photographs and I'm not afraid of making myself ugly. I don't have to speak and can just rely on my own willingness to get the image right through set-up, posing, camera, lighting, editing, retouching, finish!
It depends on what your measure of fame is. But I think in some way it is true. Whether it be the famous crazy person on the bus. Or the 15 minute long tube journey in which everyone is admiring your looks/style. Whether you appear on some dodgy advert, or on a reality TV programme
,or Love It
magazine (my favourite magazine).
Your photos appear to range from parody, fashion style and avant garde. Is there a particular area that you are more comfortable with?
I think the photographs I am happiest with is when I'm allowed free range to do whatever I want, which is when I guess all three of those things come into one. I think fashion/avant garde should also be either humorous or stupidly over-dramatic or stunning! If it can be all those things too, then wahey!
Some of your subjects, such as Nathan, Jade, and Daisy appear more personal than your other photos. Do you make it a habit to get to know your subjects before shooting them?
I much prefer to work within a small team, or even just me and my subjects. For the past six months I have been shooting a series called I'M SO HOT, I CAN'T WEAR PANTS
, which basically consists of a series of naked fashion portraits of different guys: so skinny guys, fat guys, old guys, young guys, all sorts, and with a lot of them I haven't had a chance to meet before I shoot them. And you know, to bare all to a loved one, never mind a complete stranger takes a lot of trust and courage. I try to bring that comfort out in people so that they will give me as much as I give myself when in front of the camera. To work within this way was quite exciting as well, as it meant I could spontaneously play off the situations/locations I was in, as well as the personalities as they presented themselves.