Visual Essay 01 by Holly Gibson

Welcome to the first in a series of what we’re calling ‘Visual Essays’.

For the team at Mud, nurturing community is one of our key core values. In the spirit of this we are excited to launch ‘Visual Essays’. Designed to be a collaborative online series, Visual Essays is an open space for dialogue and engagement with creatives on the internet.

To debut our Visual Essay series, we’ve engaged Sydney-based photographer Holly Gibson to shoot a series of images capturing the new shades in our teapot collection.

Holly partially took inspiration from the illusion effect ‘Rubin Vase’, which presents a viewer with a 2-way visual interpretation, and worked between shooting on black and white film and colour digital photography.

Holly shares her thoughts below in a Q&A.

Was there a concept that informed this shoot?

I wanted to photograph the Mud pieces in my own domestic space, where the items would naturally belong but within composed little scenes that would compliment the different tones of the tea pots. I have been really loving the opportunity to work from home, studying where the sun hits at what time of day, and shadow playing with different bedside table and study lamps, so the shoot was kind of informed out of this experimentation and act of play.

We’d love to know a little about your creative process, can you let us behind the scenes/into your thoughts?

Before coming into this, I knew that I wanted to create an almost Rubin Vase-like photograph of the teapot handles and spouts, black & white and made with shadows and light to make reference to these optical illusions. I was gifted a Man Ray still life print from a dear friend, so these ideas of light and dark shadow play with the teapot shapes came to mind very quickly. I feel very comfortable working in B&W so I knew that it was going to be a bit more of a challenge giving justice to the colours of the teapots.

The key features of the teapots that stood out to me were the soft pink and blue tones, and the subtle differences in the shapes and sizes. The home I am in currently has a lot of character in its age and slight decay, so there were corners of colour where the still life set seemed to fall into place perfectly. Upon receiving the tea pots, I was really drawn to their environmentally friendly packaging and how something so delicate and smooth could be protected by such a rough and textured recycled paper. I was looking for a moment where I could have all the teapots together and it happened naturally that the place was where I unwrapped them on my bedroom floor.

Talk to us about your aesthetic, style and creative influences.

My greatest influence would be my grandad. I really cherish his photographs and how he was able to capture moments. When he passed I was given his Pentax so I learnt how to shoot manually on that and quickly fell in love with working on film, which I find a lot more comfort in than digital which can sometimes be a little overwhelming to me. I am still yet to define my style, but there are several Australian female artists and photographers in particular who have helped mould me to where I am now, which will still continue to shift and grow. My aesthetic is ever changing, as long as I follow what feels truthful and considered, will it feel right.

You can follow Holly Gibson on instagram @hollygibson_