CAMP is the new group exhibition launching at Dalston Superstore on 07.02.19. It features the work of photographers Anna Sampson, Spyros Rennt and Emily Rose England.
Is there a common thread between your work as artists?
Anna: We all shoot on film, and we all document and celebrate LGBTQ+ identities and communities.
Spyros: The fact that we all photograph our surroundings, the people close to us, intimate moments – and of course the queerness of our subjects.
Emily: We all come from various queer communities and whilst or work differs in aesthetics it is obvious to me that our backgrounds and involvements within our respective communities is a major influence and shape on our work. As a result, our work has a tendency to explore and celebrate queer identities.
What does camp mean to you?
Anna: I’m a huge fan of Susan Sontag; and after re-reading her “Notes on Camp” a few weeks ago it seemed the perfect title, in relation to our work. Camp, to me, means glamour, decadence, flamboyance, fearless, exaggerated, androgynous, gorgeous.
Spyros: Camp stands for visibility, resistance, unconventionality and worlds unseen.
Emily: Freedom & fabulous queer identity.
How does queer identity inform your work?
Anna: In Gender Trouble, this collection very much challenges the notion of gender identity by merging and blurring gender clichés and stereotypes – and by photographing and representing these androgynous, sexless, queer beauties, I look to subvert and overthrow this male/female; active/passive binary, to demonstrate that gender, like sexuality, needs to be respected as fluid and non-binary.
Spyros: I live my life as a gay/queer man and my work is about the documentation of this life. My circle of friends and acquaintances, the places I frequent, the music I listen to: queerness surrounds me like a warm blanket.
Emily: I document the life and community around me: the queer community of East London. It was never an intentional thing to go out and document the queer scene for the world to see, more an organic progression which has become an internal view into our community – as opposed to an external view which can often result in work becoming exploitative. Although it wasn’t intentional to capture our community for the world to see I’ve realised over the years how important it has become. With the recent rise in far-right groups and ideologies who would love nothing more than to erase our existence it is important to capture and celebrate our loving, beautiful and creative community. it is important to show and celebrate that or identities do exist and are completely valid.
What other things/artists/themes influence your work?
Anna: I find my influences mostly in gender/sexuality/feminist/queer theory. I owe so much to theorists like Laura Mulvey, Judith Butler and Simone de Beauvoir – as well as artists such as Kathy Acker, Valeria Solonas, Cindy Sherman, Claude Cahun, Ren Hang, Robert Mapplethorpe, …. the list could go on and on and on.
Spyros: As much as I love all the great artists that came before me and paved the way, I also enjoy following the work of my contemporaries. Instagram, despite its many negatives, works great for me in the sense that it helps build a community of creatives with whom I can actually interact with and exchange opinions. And of course my own life and experiences influence the work I produce.
Emily: As my work is about capturing what is around me, things such as different nights put on and art and movements created by my peers is a massive influence: us existing is an active rebellion against patriarchal hetero normative society.
How and why did you get into photography as an art form?
Anna: I was a painter, yet grew too impatient to see a painting through, so took up photography (accidentally) in the final few months of my degree. I simply bought a cheap red leather point-and-shoot off eBay to take with me on nights out – but this quickly became the main outlet for my artistic practice/voice. I think it suits my style and sensibility perfectly. Seeing as most of my favourite artists are photographers I guess it was just a matter of time before I started shooting, too!
Spyros: Photography was always spoken to more than the other art forms, maybe because it was the most accessible to me. I like it as a documentation of events transpiring. My memory abandons me some time but photos are always there to remind me of feelings, faces and actions.
Emily: I’ve always been creative and drawn to creating art from an early age. Photography was a natural step for me, I mean essentially you are still painting but with light instead of paint! Once I had begun working with it, it completely made sense to me to pursue it as an art form. I have always been fascinated with its ability to capture a moment or idea like a snapshot in time.
What is your most memorable superstore moment?
Anna: Just a few weeks ago it was my staff Christmas party and we ended up at Superstore. I was very anxious this day, so almost didn’t go out but ended up dancing on the bar, and woke up covered head-to-toe in bruises.
Spyros: The last time I was in London in October: a packed Superstore, watching some drag shows with good friends, spilling my drink left and right (as I said, it was packed), flirting with cute boys – it was quite a night!
Do you have any special treats in store for us for the launch?
Anna: I have very few Gender Trouble zines left, so come and grab one if you want. I won’t be re-printing anytime soon, and they are all sold out at The Photographer’s Gallery!!!
Spyros: I am excited to be showing some prints that I have never shown before. I am also bringing a few copies of my book “Another Excess” with me for anyone interested.
Emily: I will have postcards available of my work to buy as well as first opportunity to buy the prints once the exhibition has finished. Also you will be treated to my divine djing skills!
Come down for the launch on 07.02.19 from 7pm xxx