The fith PhotoVoice photography competition in partnership with Professional Photography magazine, was inspired by an image from PhotoVoice project ‘And we shall find tales in the shadows’. Photographers were asked to submit up to six images inspired by the theme ‘Friendship’. Photo Editor at The Wall Street Journal, Dan Gaba selected Fiona Bailey as the winner.
How did you get started in Photography?
After leaving school I did both O and A level photography and subsequently went on to study photography at the University of Westminster. I loved the process of taking pictures and the ritual of going into the dark room, developing, editing and printing. I loved it all then as I love it all now.
How would you describe your work and your practice?
My photography mainly deals with family and community. I work mostly within the community, building up a narrative of life around me, trying to show its complexities and diversity. I also work as a freelance art buyer in the advertising industry so don’t always have as much time as I’d like to work on my projects – and I have quite a few projects on the go.
Tell us a bit more about your winning image and the series that it is from.
This is an image I took last summer of my daughter, Billie-Jo and her friend Yasemin. Billie-Jo has Down Syndrome and I have been photographing her all her life, but especially now as she journeys into womanhood. She has just turned 18, a milestone she is very excited about, but with it comes all sorts of challenges – for her and for us as parents. She is desperate for independence; but giving her the best opportunities and facilitating that independence can be hard.
What do you think the future for your photography will be?
I will be continuing to work on my projects and also slowly move into getting more commissions. It would be great to collaborate with charities and help them to spread their message.
I am currently working with Tamara Pollock, and the charity icandance on a book called ‘what we talk about when we talk about dance’. Billie-Jo has been attending icandance since she was six years old. It is a series of images and quotes/anecdotes taken from interviews with young people with disabilities and their mothers. It’s looking like this project will be published soon.
Are there any other up and coming photographers that you think people should know about?
Not necessarily up and coming, but the photographers that I admire are people like Sian Davey, Laura Pannack and Celine Marchbank. If you don’t know these photographers then do have a look at their work.
How did you hear about PhotoVoice and how do you think your work relates our vision and mission?
I am a member of Shutterhub and went to one of their meetings where it was suggested that I have a look at what you do. Having a child with special needs and being around disability in it’s many forms, I am very interested in using photography as a way of communication where the spoken language is not possible.