Interview by Mia Kingsley
For this weeks ‘Mia Meets…’ I will be chatting to a young lady by the name of Eleni Mattyear. She’s an awesome photographer shooting film, living in Brighton and doing her own thing. But taking photos isn’t her only talent as she is also the founder alongside fellow photographer Rhiannon Adams of ‘Peachy N Keen’, an amazing blog space where female artists get to share their talent, meet other artists and gain support without judgment (check it out!) We chat about photographer Vivian Maier, running around Brighton with semi naked girls, organic portraiture and dreams of traveling the world. Meet Eleni…
How did you first get into photography?
I took it at A level when I went to college
Have you always been creative?
Yes! Every since I was a little girl, arts and crafts was my favorite hobby, my mum used to spend hours doing it with me. I always thought I wanted to do art or illustration and it wasn’t until after my foundation in illustration that I realised it wasn’t for me and started to concentrate more on photography.
What inspires you to take photos and produce artwork?
I tend to be quite spontaneous with my shoots but I do sometimes have ideas for setups, I get inspiration from fashion, culture, film, stories, my own emotions or something I pick up on in someone else’s emotion or way of being, the idea for the shoot is always with someone particular in mind. I think you could say that overall I am inspired by people.
Do you think living in Brighton influences your work at all?
I’m sure it does, it’s a very artistic and liberal place, if I’m running around town with a semi dressed girl taking pictures no one seems to bat an eye lid, so this probably influenced the spontaneity of my work.
What, who, when and where would make your dream photo shoot?
It changes all the time but I have always really wanted to do an amazing super high budget underwater shoot. Surrounded by coral with floating fabric and long hair and underwater lighting and everything.
How did you decide you wanted to explore other people’s work, to create ‘Peachy N Keen’?
I noticed an influx of work coming from female photographers and artists and I just thought it would be cool to have a place to see it all together, to make it easier for us all to communicate with each other and support each other.
What does it take for you to admire and want to share somebody’s art?
I am really drawn to work that is free and original, especially if the subject is unusual or has an interesting story or relationship behind it.
Which artists do you find inspirational?
So many! It would be ridiculous to list them all, I’m not very good at following the art scene so I don’t really know any recent artists. But someone who I have recently discovered is Vivian Maier. I was shown her book a couple of months ago and I’ve just fallen in love with her pictures. I could look through the book all day. She was never a working photographer, all her images were just raw observations and everyday life. Her work didn’t follow a fashion or trend in the art scene, it was just her own work from her heart. Her photographs were discovered after her death.
Do you think that the work of those you admire somehow crosses over into your own work?
Absolutely, subconsciously I am influenced by things around me and they translate in my work all the time, I usually don’t realise it until a few months or years down the line when I look back at the work though, then I remember who I was into at the time or who I was or what I was doing.
How would you describe your style?
I’m not sure if I’ve even found my style yet, I think it will always change too. I don’t really know how to answer this but here is how various other people have described it… Free, organic portraiture with a youthful and spontaneous feel focusing on a fashion/style element yet capturing the relationships between the photographer and the subject.
Do you think ‘Peachy N Keen’ has a style?
I’m not sure, I guess it does, in the sense that on the blog it is mostly fashion ‘style’ portraiture, but we are not one thing. We want to show all types of work. We are currently working on a website which will be a lot more artists focused, rather than just a mass of images and names.
What would you like ‘Peach N Keen’ to give to its viewers?
A place to see work and for artists work to be seen, a place where girls can communicate with other artists, express opinions and read/listen/look and things that relate to them. Somewhere that’s unpretentious, non judgmental and supportive.
Where do you see ‘Peachy N Keen’ in a year’s time?
In a year’s time we probably will have finished the website, I hope we will have put on another exhibition and released some zines. Our dream is that peachy will be a magazine one day, and continue to hold events and exhibitions that support young female artists.
As for your own photography work, where would you like it to take you?
I would love to be able to travel with my work! I see myself as an editorial/fashion photographer as far as work is concerned but I would like to always keep doing personal projects, I’m a big believer in printed work, not confining everything to the internet. So exhibitions and galleries will always be something I will try to be involved in as much as possible.
What’s next for you Eleni? Any cool projects for us to look out for?
Well I have just finished working on a project with an analogue photo collective Format34. We put on a big group show, it was great but lots of work so I think I will have a bit of a rest for the remainder of 2013! In the New Year I am hoping to organize a 2nd Peachy n Keen show and perhaps a solo show with B-rad Gallery. Run by a good friend and guy behind the Photocopy club, Matt Martin. And to hopefully shoot lots and lots and get printed lots and lots:)!
Aw thanks so much Eleni, we look forward to future shows from ‘Peachy N Keen’ and your own photography! 🙂 Check out the links below to keep updated with Eleni & ‘Peach N Keen’:
But until my next interview for more ‘Mia Meets…’ or more Mia Kingsley: