Interview With Photographer Bella Howard
My interview with Bella Howard took place in 2011. It was one of my first and most fun interviews. I stumbled upon Bella's work while browsing a few Alice By Temperley ads and I decide on the spot, in that moment that I was going to approach whoever was responsible for these fun, colorful, whimsical ads. Bella was a darling and didn't hesitate to answer a few questions from a girl across the pond and I'm damn glad she did. Read on...
London based fashion photographer, Bella Howard, draws forth candid, bare, brazen and confidently colored images (in attitude and hue) that beckon and intrigue. She’s shot for Topshop, Nylon, Vice, Lanvin i-D and DSquared and shot vivid, playful portraits and campaigns that leave a remarkable impression. Having documented her trip across the United States, Howard exhibited her Drive-Thru ‘zines at the Wayward Gallery in London, and is gearing up for the release of her book which also documents her Drive-Thru experience.
Ditte Dennisor: What is your sign?
Bella Howard: Gemini
DD: Did you make any resolutions for 2011?
BH: Just the usuals of doing more exercise, drinking and smoking less and travelling and shooting as much as possible
DD: Is fashion photography your first love?
BH: I love fashion but I also love documenting my friends and my travels as it is more natural and real. I try to bring a sense of that into my fashion photos though as well.
DD: “This Is England” is one of my favorite shoots of yours and I especially love the polaroids. Did you choose the location of the shoot?
BH: Thank you!! I love that shoot too. I chose the location as it was estated near my old house and I always wanted to shoot there. Luckily it fit in perfectly for this story.
DD: On your blog you cite Jarvis Cocker as one of your heroes. Who are your other heroes?
BH: Ooh gosh I have soooo many. I guess Greg Araki the director is definitely a mega inspiration, I love Patti Smith, morrissey, John Waters, Kim Gordon, Courtney Love, Juergen Teller, Wolfgang Tillmans, the list goes on. I discover new heroes everyday.
DD: The one theme that is prevalent among your photos, as I see it, is: youth. Wild, unapologetic, brazen, spirited youth. Is this something that you unconcisiously tap into? What were you like in your younger teenaged years?
BH: It was deffo an unconscious happy accident. I started to get my photos published 4 years ago when I was 19 so I was and I guess pretty much still am the same age as my subjects, most of them are my friends so I guess the spirit of fun is actually genuine, what you see is what is happening at the time. As a teenager I was obsessed with music I went to an all girls boarding school in Yorkshire so I was pretty sheltered from the real world, but still sneaked out to see bands and made a fanzine as a form of escape.
DD: How would you describe your personal style?
BH: In the day it’s extremely casual and tomboyish, normally just a baggy t-shirt (usually a champion t) with leggings or tracky bums, a pair of timberland or new rock boots and a jumper or hoody. But by night I’m super girly if I’m going out, I love to dress up, generally I wear thrift store buys or hand me downs from my mums wardrobe, but I also get a lot of stuff off ebay. I only wear stuff other people won’t buy.
DD: Recently you had an exhibition of photographs taken while you were traveling through the United States. Was it cross country? What were some of your most memorable moments from your trip? Do you have any plans to exhibit your photographs from Drive-Thru in the States?
BH: It was a cross country trip, starting in NY then down through the west coast to New Orleans and ending in LA. My fave places from my trip were definitely Lafayette in Louisiana; it was so different to anywhere else in the USA. We had the best friend ever to guide us around and danced all day and night to Zydecco music. I also loved Dollywood and the area around there; it was so random so many amusement places and things to do in the middle of a strip in the middle of nowhere in Tennessee. Sedona was beautiful but a bit touristy. I would love to exhibit in the USA, but it is just finding the time.
DD: Are there any destinations you’d like to photograph that you haven’t already?
BH: Soooooooo many! I am desperate to go to Iceland, Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, Russia, you name it and I wanna go. I’m going to Tokyo next week to shoot Vogue Girl and it is my first time there. I am ridiculously excited.
DD: You’ve got a book coming out soon that Luv Luv Luv Records is putting out. Is film also an aspiration of yours?
BH: I would love to shoot film and have been asked to on a number of occasions but the deadline is always so soon and I refuse to shoot on digital so it is a bit tricky unles it is for a personal project.