Based in Suffolk, Amy Marie Gladding started shooting film at 18. Her mixed media practice explores the natural world and changing landscapes. Her work is experimental and spans many art forms. She works predominately through analogue processes.
She studied Fine Art (combined media) at Swansea Metropolitan University, and now works as head of photography A Level and teacher of art at a local sixth form. See more of Amy's work on instagram at @my_faraway Check out Amy's website at helloladyeee.com
A/A: Does working as an art instructor inform your work?
AG: I absolutely LOVE teaching art and photography and it has a huge impact on my own practice. It keeps me excited and enthusiastic and I get so much energy from the young people I work with! It helps me take risks and try new things as I’m always learning about different techniques and approaches that I’m sharing with my students. Watching them create and how fearless they are helps me to continue to challenge and stretch my own ideas.
A/A: I'm curious to know how your students view analog photography coming from a world where they have been inundated with digital images since birth.
AG: It takes them a while to get to grips with the slower way of working, but I would say on the most part they love it! The magic of the darkroom and the unpredictability of the alternative camera -less techniques we use (such as cyanotypes, salt printing, chemigrams, photograms, anthotypes) seems to ignite something in the students!
I think my love for film and experimental darkroom processes kind of rubs off on them too! We were lucky enough to win the “UK Film photography community fund” two years ago after I put in a proposal to the amazing folks at Analogue Wonderland and that paid for the equipment and materials for us to start exploring colour film processing and making colour prints in our school darkroom! This has been amazing and after so many years of only working in black and white the kids have LOVED experimenting with colour! It’s just a shame the film is so expensive!
A/A: I find that many of your images focus on nature. Why is that an important theme for you? AG: In the last ten years or so I have found a new appreciation for my surroundings in rural Suffolk and unknown lands I discover during my travels. I’m fascinated by transformation within the landscape, the cycles and seasons and survival. When my daughter was born four and a half years ago, I underwent a transformation and my creative self was forgotten for a while. Slowly, I began to make again, and my return to teaching aided this massively. I would use the time whilst she napped as a baby to go wondering and take the camera out with me. Now she is older I set aside time to go out in the local landscape and observe and record alone.
The freedom I get from walking and shooting when my time is so little, and so precious, is what makes every shot sentimental to me. The whole process is intertwined and fraught with the essence of motherhood and feelings of being tethered and needed constantly. When I go out to photograph I am free for a short time and it’s bliss (just as much as my time with my daughter is bliss but in a completely different way). Each photograph speaks of a personal experience and rare solitude within the landscape.