Our COVID-19 Case Studies explore the different ways the photographic community is working and staying connected through the pandemic. If you would like to submit a Case Study get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Holly Houlton is a photographer and writer currently based in Suffolk. Since graduating with a first-class BA (Hons) in Photography from Coventry University last summer, Holly now works part-time as a content creator and product photographer for a creative agency. Alongside this she continues to work freelance, including creating her own personal projects and running her photography writing platform Now Tell Me.
Holly’s photographic work mainly explores the subjects of people and place with a particular interest in the effects they have on one another in relation to experience and time. Using a personal approach, themes of intimacy, relationship and self-reflection are applied to interpret her surrounding environments. Specific attention to detail and light attempts to draw out the perhaps otherwise unseen and stimulate emotive contemplation.
Alongside her visual practice, she has written for a variety of established magazines and platforms including The Photographers’ Gallery and Loupe Magazine, as well as volunteering for various art galleries or festivals including FORMAT21 Control.
How are you adapting your work during the pandemic?
I've been working on a personal project called 'The Light At Home' during the lockdown periods, which has been my response to the pandemic and being restricted to living in my family home. The work observes the passing of time and light in the home and on walks in the countryside, acting as medative escapes to nature. I used a snapshot aesthetic to capture moments before they disappear forever, in an attempt to keep a track of this extraordinary time. This has organically resulted in forming a series of images that act as a photographic diary. They aim to represent the observations I have made, contemplating on what Charlotte Cotton discusses in her book The Photograph As Contemporary Art, this idea of capturing 'non-events', ones that I would not usually dwell on, whether this is the way an object has haphazardly fallen to the floor or how the light dances on it. I've often been drawn to typically mundane objects or happenings and how they can be transformed into something quite magical, something to experience or behold due to the photographic decisions made. I was finding that this was happening now more so than ever during the pandemic.
I was invited to present this work at a GRAIN Photography Hub Photo Café event back in February. It was an amazing experience to speak alongside other wonderful photographers and it made me really feel part of the photography industry and a community of visual artists producing work during a difficult time.
Has the new context inspired you to try anything innovative that you haven't tried before? If so, what?
I think the pandemic has directly affected my photography work, it sparked the idea of The Light At Home project, the visuals within this and it allowed it to happen naturally as I have been spending more time at home. The cyanotypes I've been making, as also part of the project, was a new venture for me in my personal work. It was an area of alternative and more sustainable photography that I had always been interested to strengthen my skills in. Leaving my university house in the first lockdown so abruptly resulted with me having little to no photographic equiptment, so it seemed like a fitting time to start investigating the cyanotype process and I've loved it ever since.
What are your current and future plans for making, showing and distributing work?
I plan to continue photographing for The Light At Home project, the slow pace of gradually adding to this work one day at a time has been really calming for me. Making this work has definitely allowed me to appreciate the small things and I want to hold onto that. I also hope to start looking at making the work into some kind of zine or photo diary in the near future.
I will also continue to write and share my work where possible and will be announcing some rather exciting news soon on my social media accounts so keep your eyes peeled for that!