A man bungeeing off a crane in Battersea Park reminded me of dreams when you can't quite jump high enough. View all the films from my Ongoing Documentations series here.
"Art as Therapy" - watch my latest film with Lee Eelus for Art on a Postcard x War Child
I loved meeting artist Eelus in his studio in Brighton.
My film with him is now available to view below, and learn more about the project here.
"Making memory tangible" - Film with Selena Scott for Art on a Postcard x War Child available to view
I filmed and interviewed the emerging and talented artist Selena Scott in her studio in Cambridge. View the full film below, and learn more on the dedicated page here.
Filming with Eelus
I filmed and interviewed the artist Lee Eelus in his studio in Brighton for Art on a Postcard in support of War Child. It was great to see his creative process in action, and also to learn more about how his neurodiversity influences his work. As part of ongoing Inside the Artists' Studio series. View the films here soon and see my portrait of Eelus here.
Filming with artists across the country
I've been commissioned by Art on a Postcard in collaboration with War Child to research, film and edit several short films of artists in their studios as part of their 'Inside the Artists Studio' series. So far, I've been to Cambridge with painter Selena Scott, and on the back of a motorbike with painter Andrew Torr! I look forward to sharing the films - stay tuned. (Scroll down for a bonus picture of me hiding my fear on the back of the bike) View the films here soon.
Tabby Barbera: Promo Shoot
I've been out and about taking promotional shots for up and coming artist Tabby Barbera. Check out the full photo series here. Tabby's work can also be found at www.tabbybarbera.com
I Saw a God Dance
I've recently edited a 25 minute documentary for Apsara Arts, directed by Malti Patel.
I Saw a God Dance charts the impact of pioneering Indian classical dancer Ram Gopal OBE, 80 years since his first stage performance. It brings together intergenerational dancers who explore the place of Indian classical dance in a modern world. This marks my third short film with Apsara Arts, and it's been a pleasure to learn more about Indian heritage and culture in the UK. The film will be shown at the David Lean cinema on 25th March. You can view more of my community-based projects here. Here's a small clip:
Evolution of a flame
First we sparked fires from a flint, and now we watch through the safety of our screens. Portable flames to watch later and share, light behind light to gather and stare. View all the films from my Ongoing Documentations series here.
The Day Frank Died: Screening
The Day Frank Died is a 30 minute documentary I directed and edited about the life and sudden death of my paramedic grandfather in the late 1960s.
In the documentary, I interview my father and his four siblings, piecing together the story of my grandfather's life and the mystery of his death 50 years down the line. Discovering my family history, and understanding the deep-rooted impact of my grandfathers death has been incredibly eye-opening and drawn me even closer to my family.
Yesterday the film had its first screening to the family, three years on since they were interviewed. It was an emotional and cathartic experience that reinforced the importance of film and documentary as a form of healing.
New Project: The Power of Words
I have recently completed directing and editing a short film with Status Employment, funded by the Lottery Community Fund. It's been a brilliant experience working in collaboration with the group members, and running workshops focusing around the power of words and language. Words shape the way we think, and influence our actions. From collaging emails to projecting words on the wall, the aim of the filmmaking process was to invite the group members to explore the possibilities of reshaping relationships with poignant words and phrases.
Drawing from my own past experiences of counselling, working on my vocabulary was integral to being able to express and challenge my understanding of the world. This was the starting point of building the workshops that feature in the film.
Status Employment are a charity that assist people with disabilities and people experiencing mental health problems in finding and retaining paid employment. See more information about the project here.
Wotsits on the Elevator
A bit of drama at the bottom of the escalator at Oval Station. Shout out to Vivaldi for providing the music. You can watch my ongoing documentations of everyday life here.
Mentorship with Emmy Award-winning Producer Maureen Murray
It's been a fantastic 6 weeks, developing several ideas for arts documentaries with producer Maureen Murray (Foxtrot Films) which I hope to pitch soon. Here we are at Yoko Ono's Mend Piece exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery!
The mentorship was provided by the Grierson DocLab. Read the Grierson DocLab website posting here.
New Project: Can You Hear Me?
I've recently completed editing a short documentary titled Can You Hear Me for Status Employment and The Maudsley Charity, produced by Catherine Eaglestone. Filmed remotely during the 2020 pandemic, the documentary brings together drama improvisations focused around social anxiety, merging the boundaries between fiction and reality to understand feelings of loneliness and togetherness. The film has now been entered into to mental health and experimental short film festivals. View more information on the film here.
Unfortunately I got locked out of my old Instagram, but not to worry! I have created a shiny new Instagram with the handle @gell_docs
Please follow to stay up to date with my latest work, and drop me a DM or email if you'd like to collaborate!
The Day Frank Died Update
Pleased to say that after three years my short film The Day Frank Died is close to completion. It has been an emotional process listening to my family's experiences of their fathers death when they were young. But I feel that this process of editing has been very important, helping me to learn more about my family and piecing their memories together in one place to build up a sense of who my Grandfather was and how his death has affected them years down the line.
Mentorship with award-winning producer/director Gillian Mosely
I've spent the last six weeks building up several short documentary ideas, with mentor support from Gillian Mosely (MediaLab). It's been great spending time solidly creating treatment pitches and developing my creative practice as a filmmaker. The mentorship was provided by the brilliant Grierson DocLab scheme.
New video: Ongoing Thoughts #2
I have uploaded a new video as part of my Ongoing Thoughts series, a series of short documentation videos filmed and edited on my iPhone 8. This series aims to transpose my thoughts from the diary to the audiovisual. The full series can be found here.
Below: Ongoing Thoughts #2
Next Choreography Festival: Ingredients for a Portal
Last night I attended a movement lab directed by choreographers Renée Bellamy and Saffron Mustafa. I've never attended a dance lesson of any sort before so this was a real eyeopener for me. It was very revelatory to me to see how dance and movement can be used to explore and process emotions and thoughts. We were asked to choose an object and explore our relationship to the object through writing and dance. I recently found my Grandma's wind up wristwatch which I thought I had lost so I based my dance on this. Writing poetry and thoughts about the object, we were then asked to pick out the words which stood out the most to us and utilise this in our movements.
Hands turning, head turns to listen. Ticking starts up once again as I wind the time back. Listening to the tick-ticking her own ears would have heard. For that small moment her heart tick tocks again, I listen for a suspended moment and put her back in the box again.
It felt like we were able to become the object and there process the associated feelings from the inside out. My thoughts filtered down to 'I have not lost something if it is apart of me already'.
I have started editing footage of my family that I have filmed over the years, starting from when my sister was about 10. Editing together these films years later gives me the opportunity to relive certain parts of myself and my family's life. The editing process acts as a way to reframe and revisit these memories, to rewind and pause and reflect in retrospect.
You can keep up to date with the ongoing series of videos here.
Live on Wandsworth Art
Wandsworth Art is a new online platform that showcases artists, designers, creative projects, groups and organisations based in or from the borough of Wandsworth. My profile is now live on their website and I look forward to future collaborations with artists of Wandsworth.
You can find my profile and check out the scheme here.
Selected for Grierson DocLab 2020
Really honoured to have been accepted onto the prestigious Grierson DocLab scheme. Through this scheme I will be trained in documentary production and theory as well as being given opportunities to network and learn from seasoned factual television proffesionals. Although the residential scheme will be online this year, I'm keen to make the most of what the scheme has to offer and kickstart my career in factual programming!
I think that particularly as young creatives it can be easy to lose our voices and value in the competitive sea of ‘the industry’ but I am hopeful that this scheme will be able to provide us with the confidence and practical skills to truly find and value our voices and share them proudly with the world. I think as filmmakers we have an important responsibility of using this pervasive platform to amplify the voices of those who might not always be heard, to challenge perceptions and present ideas in a way that is accessible to all.
My profile can be found on their website here.
New ways of documenting
I am finding ways to document my thoughts in a way that takes my words out of the pages of a diary into something more visual and representative of a the way a memory works. I made this short piece on my iPhone and intend to make many more.
I will be regularly uploading new videos here.
I have started documenting this strange and unsettling time through photography here. It feels like we are suspended in a moment of time and I will process these feelings and worries through my photography.
Toilet Roll Diaries
I've become very interested recently in the idea of the toilet roll being a symbol of the current pandemic. People have seemed to latch onto the toilet roll as an extremely essential item with shelves empty everywhere. Being seen with toilet roll shows you to be someone who has mastered the Way of the Supermarket in times of survival. You know the times it's delivered, you know the shop to go to. I wanted to use the toilet roll in a creative way, in a similar way to a mandala.
A way of letting go of the idea of it being an essential item and a symbol of primeval savvy, and instead seeing it as useful to my creativity instead. So, I decided to document each day on one sheet at a time. This has been a lovely way of documenting each day as it feels like I am creating a scroll. I got quite excited and wanted to open up this project to other people, with the intention of an exhibition of our rolls at the end if people choose to share them. Either digitally or physical, or both.
The Toilet Roll Diaries is a free communal project, using toilet roll to document our stories one sheet at a time. People can write or draw as often as you can, using as many sheets as you like. I understand that people may not all have access to loo rolls, so I'm open to other methods of documentation as this is also representative of the current climate! For example kitchen roll, paper, digital etc.
Filming Woman Up! Podcasts
This weekend I filmed and edited a teaser for series 2 of the the Woman Up! podcast. It was lovely sitting and listening to a stories and conversations from all day from so many inspiration women artists and learn from them.
The podcast can be found here.
Ellie is now homeschooled and came over to my house for me to teach her some essay writing. It feels like there is an air of new beginnings and figuring things out for the better. Her pink hair, something that she wasn't allowed in secondary school, is a symbol of defiance, fresh starts, and taking back control of her own future. I wanted to photograph her at this point as I felt that it was momentous to document.
Moving out of the family home
Mum and Dad helped me move out today and insisted on making the bed for me. Mixed emotions moving out. Guilt of leaving my parents and sister behind, but the excitement of starting my independent life. I photographed my parents helping me to unpack capture the bittersweet feeling evoked when there are new beginnings and endings at the same time.
Here in this new space,
this neutral turf,
you both put your differences
aside and were instead
equal in your strength of helping.
Not always balanced in your methods, mood or actions,
But equal in your love, both practical and kind.
Full post here
Put it to the People March
I went up to the march with my mum and uncle who managed to get me up there on a slight hangover. It was certainly a contrast to the last People's Vote march I went on at the beginning of the year. It felt like there was a lot less energy then the last one, which felt more like a celebration of togetherness. My photos were a lot more smiley and colourful. This time round felt slower, but despite this there was an undeniable quite and firm power simmering beneath the crowds. I suppose we are all more tired now, not weakened, still angry, but tired. I wanted to capture more of this seriousness this time around whilst still getting a bit of the old British humour and hopefulness peeping through. We got rained on, we got sunned on, but we powered through. (Incidentally- my step count for the day was 8469, which I will be claiming in expenses once this is all over)
See the full gallery here
Australia trip - Sydney to Melbourne
This was a much needed trip to refresh the mind. Me and my cousin traveled by car from Sydney to Melbourne past sweeping landscapes with wombats, kangeroos and a big stag crossing our paths along the way. It was a much needed refreshment on the senses.
Editing Saree Reinvented
As part of the Lottery Funded project Saree Reinvented, I was commissioned by Apsara Arts to edit a 25 minute documentary about the personal and social history of the sari. The documentary was screened alongside a diverse exhibition of sari stories, beautiful fabrics and workshops. The film is an intimate collection of interviews exploring the history of the saree and personal stories from South Asian British women filmed by project founder Malti Patel.
It's really important that these social histories are captured, and I enjoyed contributing to a community project that facilitated these the sharing and preservation of these memories.
My favourite story is from a lady called Mdrulaben (centre below), who talks about when she first came to the UK and how she would go 'round and round on the District Line' to meet people and because it is the 'warmest line'.
Visit the website to learn more about the Saree Reinvented project here.
Resilience Exhibition, CAS Croydon
Curated by Sarah Dean.
This exhibition explored mental well-being through creative practice. I exhibited two pieces: a print about my mother and a short documentary piece 'Nine to Fiver'.
I wanted to capture the idea of parents being the emotional hearth of the household, and how when they don't feel alright, the energy shifts, roles merging.
Shooting Tabby Barbera Blood Oranges
Had a great time piercing blood oranges with hooks and twine and filming Tabby Barbera for her song 'Blood Oranges'. I came up with the concept and shot/ edited the video. This was my first music video shoot and I really enjoyed the citrusy experience and the freedom of experimentation. Will definitely be doing more.
Tabby's songs at: www.tabbybarbera.com
See full shoot here
Shooting White Lies at Amsterdam Paradiso
I photographed White Lies from backstage during their Five tour show at Amsterdam Paradiso. It was a great experience being immersed in the music backstage. I find that gig photography can be a bit samey sometimes, so I was aiming to capture the abstract shapes and forms of the band members as they played their instruments.
As always, what interests me a lot is watching other people watching other people, so I have taken quite a few crowd shots for my own interest too.
My photos were shared on the White Lies social media pages and can be found here and here. I was pleased with the social media reaction.
View the full shoot here
Jean Cooke: Delight in the Thing Seen - Finalist for CPIFF Rising Star award 2019
My documentary Jean Cooke: Delight in the Thing Seen has been nominated for the final selection stage of the CPIFF International Film Festival 2019. Through this I have also selected to undergo a placement at MullenLowe London where I will get hands on experience in a specialist branded content company. The film can be viewed below:
Observational photographs in Prague
I am interested in how people store memory, particularly in the modern age where memories are capitilised. In times of past, a memory captured was a special occasion. Assembled, often deliberate, stored onto film and developed, often by people who could afford cameras or photographers in order to do this. Then printed, perhaps only once, and shown to friends and family. But in contemporary society, an image memory is nearly anyone’s to capture and store. Memories are saturated, memories are shared, memories are compared, memories are capitalised on and fed to us by Facebook. In my photography, I like to capture the action of people capturing memory, observing the moments people decide are important and memory-worthy.
When we witness a photo being taken, we are privy at that moment to the life around the frame, and how that person desires themselves to be placed and perceived within that frame. We catch a glimpse of their true intention. For example, we may see a person walking round in solemn solitude, pick a spot to stand in front of a building, extend the selfie stick and watch their face break into a well-rehearsed ‘everything’s great!’ expression.
Full gallery here
Featured artist in Sweet Potato Magazine
Curated by Kerry Ann Cleaver, Sweet Potato magazine is a monthly publication featuring up-and-coming artists from all over the UK. The full publication is available to view here
'Til Debt Do Us Part exhibition at Peckham Pelican
I curated an exhibition of 10 artists from the Student Loan Generation, with artwork ranging from embroidered job rejected letters to collages of Student Loan terms and conditions. This included artwork of both university graduates as well as people who had chosen not to attend university, and was born out of wanting to express the dissatisfaction that myself and my peers felt about life post education. It was a really positive experience to bring people together, both artists and non-artists to express their opinions through their artwork which then created a dialogue. It was a very well attended private view and interesting to see cross-generational conversations happening among the attendees comparing their experiences.
The pieces I exhibited were Loan Sweet Loan, a pastiche embroidery piece satirising the idea of moving out of the family home by contradicting it with the extortionate amount of student debt and overdraft I faced post-uni. I also submitted a few of my pieces from my collection of poems and photos from 'Tales of Thornton Heath', an ongoing collection of poetry about discarded objects that I find around Thornton Heath. I have never felt particularly connected to the area that I live in, but writing these pieces found like a form of poetic litter-picking that helped me feel as though I could claim ownership of my experience in my area. View the full post here.
Tales of Thornton Heath
I have started an ongoing collection of poetry about discarded objects that I find around Thornton Heath. I have never felt particularly connected to the area that I live in, but writing these pieces found like a form of poetic litter-picking that helped me feel as though I could claim ownership of my experience in my area.
You can find the full collection of poetry here.
The Aled Jones Record
Stepping out from a charity shop in Croydon, I noticed a discarded record on the pavement outside. I took a closer look and saw it was by Aled Jones. People walked passed without a second glance.