Laura Ward takes atmospheric, rather mysterious photographs. She tells us why the creative community around Brixton and Herne Hill is so important to her
1. How did you get started in photography?
I’ve been taking photos for about 15 years. My dad gave me a second-hand Pentax camera to take on my travels around Europe, and I became hooked. I’m totally self taught – I just like to experiment.
2. What sort of subjects do you like to photograph?
I love taking photos of local places and using recycled materials wherever possible. My preferred style is quite nostalgic and quirky, but for paid work, like weddings, the photos obviously need to be technically perfect! I don’t mind taking pictures of people, but it can be difficult to make them stand out – I prefer a more abstract approach.
3. You were involved in setting up a local photography group, Effra FC. How did that come about?
When Flickr started, I put some photos up, and someone in Brixton started following me because they liked the pictures of Brockwell Park. So we met up and talked about the local area. Since then it’s gradually grown to around 100 people! We meet up in the pub every month and we’ve organised exhibitions of our work, including one that ran for three months at the Sun and Doves in Camberwell. We now have our own website, http://effrafc.co.uk/.
4. Being involved with the local community is clearly important to you.
My dad was in the army, so we moved around a lot when I was young. When I moved to London 10 years ago, I felt a bit disconnected from my family and wanted to connect with local people and put down roots. So meeting other local photographers and talking about the area through Effra FC has made me feel more connected with the local area – I love it! And Makerhood is part of the same thing – connecting with other local makers.
5. Photography is still more of a hobby for you – do you have a creative day job?
I work for a charity during the day – it’s all numbers, strategies and databases, not creative at all! But I quite like the balance between this and my photography – yin and yang, if you like. And it’s useful when we’re putting an exhibition together – you need some business skills and knowledge as well as creativity!
6. So what’s your recommendation for a bit of “hidden Herne Hill”?
I love the walled garden in Brockwell Park. It’s wonderfully peaceful and quiet – whenever I go there I completely forget I’m in London. And it’s different every time I go there – I love it!
You can see Laura’s greetings cards, including a set of Christmas cards featuring Brockwell Park, at http://brixton.makerhood.com/laura-ward-photography.
You can also keep up with her activities on her blog.