Each time we encounter work from Eleanor Hardwick we always somehow find ourselves surprised at her inexplicable ability to somehow one-up herself each time she puts out new work, we didn’t know that you could better perfection but she proves that yes… it can be done. She truly has an artist’s eye, her work can invariably come off as either surreal or very classical and pristine, while always remaining beautiful. In our Issue 9 Meet the Photographers interview with the artist in question we talked about her work with Meadham Kirchhoff for London Fashion Week, her frequent collaborations with Petite Meller, creating art for yourself and more.
Can you talk to us about being the In-House photographer for Meadham Kirchhoff during their London Fashion Week shows? (2014) I honestly am not interested in many other designers these days, so it’s an honour to work for them each season. They are artists, truly… that’s so rare in fashion when everyone just wants money. They just understand that young, feminine mindset, and the vast variety of characters that she wants to be and can be all at once. I love their ability to always balance the really dark and unsettling with the really sweet, fun and humorous.
Have you found there is a lot of pressure to change your stance or your style? With that, how important do you feel it is for people to do what they love? I think it is vital that an artist is constantly changing and developing. An artist is human and humans are constantly aging, evolving, growing; so it’s only natural that the approach of the artist does this too. I don’t however feel pressure to do it; it is something I do naturally, because I like trying so many different things. I almost feel there is the opposite pressure: people always want you to be the same, they like knowing what to expect, and some photographers create the same work for years. But some of my favourite and most successful artists; Tracey Emin, Yayoi Kusama, Miranda July, Yoko Ono… they do everything. Even Joni Mitchell, Kim Gordon and David Bowie paint alongside making incredible music. So, similar to the notion that a great musician never makes the same album twice or plays the live song the same as the recorded version… I think there is no point doing the same thing over and over when there’s so much to try. I like mixing mediums to create an entire world and story; photography is one part of that, diary photos another, videos the next, then music, set building, costume making, zine making, poetry, performance, collage, illustration. I love it all because it is all part of one larger picture. I think it’s important to just do what you want to, because if you’re creating for someone else… why are you even doing it? Does it get you up in the morning? You can try all your life to please other people, but at the end of the day, the only person you have to live with forever is yourself. So you have to make yourself happy.
Have you ever had someone tell you that you can’t make it? How did you react to that? I’ve had my fair share of a lot of old, boring white men underestimate me, not take me seriously. But they always change their game when they see my work. Their whole stance changes, suddenly I’m not a “stupid little teenage girl” but I am an artist and they want something out of me, as if they want what I do to rub off on them somehow. They like to use you and manipulate you. The BIG problem here is that they assume you are a naive little girl from the offset. In a way, having a “skill” or an “art” makes you “mature” in their books and they only take you seriously if they think it will benefit them. Well, I don’t care because they just care about money, and technicality, and incredibly boring things. “Making it” to me is making the ideas in my head, and living not in this patriarchal world, but creating my own world, parallel. Who are they to say whether I can’t make it, if I am happy within myself?
How did your frequent collaborations with Petite Meller come to be? I work a bunch with a fabulous stylist called Nao Koyabu, who is great friends with Petite and styles her all the time. So we work together a lot. It’s always loads of fun and mischief.
You curated your own exhibition / duo zine launch, Twenty Thirteen, which explored the work of 42 young international female photographers in a one night only show. Can you tell us more about it? I wanted to create this almost “scrapbook” of a room, with different stories of female adolescence told in so many different ways. The idea was to celebrate young femininity in all its shapes and forms. We wanted the night to be one night only so that it felt really special, and fleeting – much like adolescence itself.