In the Special 60th Edition of Aesthetica we celebrate the emerging photographers that are shaping the future of the image-based practice in The Next Generation. We have partnered with the London College of Communication to survey some of photography’s rising stars and showcase their fresh ideas and new concepts. Award-winning photographer Alice Myers has pursued documentary projects in Mexico, Ireland and France. Her works look at migrants attempting to cross borders and her series Nothing is Impossible Under the Sun captured people in Calais trying to get into the UK. She speaks to us about the impact of winning awards and her interest in border crossing.
A: In 2008 you won the Jerwood Award – how has the impacted upon your career?
AM: Winning the Jerwood Award was the best thing I could have hoped to happen straight after graduating. Several great opportunities came out of it, such as being printed in the Guardian Weekend Magazine. It gave me a lot of important exposure.
A: An image from your Nothing is Impossible Under the Sun series appears in Aesthetica Issue 60. It was taken in Calais; please can you explain the ideas behind this series?
AM: Calais is a place where cameras are often used to oppress and expose people. Many people were afraid to be photographed as they did not want people from home to know where they were. Within this context I sought to use the camera in ways that felt respectful and generative, while remaining aware of my role as photographer. By negotiating the way I took portraits and by incorporating a variety of materials contributed by the migrants I worked with (sound recordings, drawings, writing, photographs from people’s Facebook accounts) I aim to shape a complex picture of the situation for those who are legally invisible.
A: What do you think is important about documentary photography?
AM: I think it is vital to provide space to open up political situations for more complex and open consideration. Also, documentary is all about interaction with a place or a person; exploring and questioning the nature of that interaction is fascinating and poetic.
A: What advice would you give to emerging photographers?
AM: I would tell them to do exactly what they want – when you’re working on a personal project you need to remember that doubting and struggle is part of the process. It is also important to remember that things can happen over long timescales. I’m always getting too impatient, which isn’t helpful.
A: What do you have planned for next?
AM: I have an exhibition at Folkestone Triennial with Aida Silvestri and Nikolas Ventourakis called Defining Lines. The aim is to bring together our work around borders on the border of the UK with workshops and discussions. I’m also formulating a plan for my next project, which I’m hoping to start in November. I’m hoping to work in Scotland this time.
To see The Next Generation feature, pick up Aesthetica magazine at www.aestheticamagazine.com
Find out more about Alice Myers at www.alicemyers.net
1. Alice Myers, from the series Nothing is Impossible Under the Sun, 2013.