Into the Woods
Photographer Ellie Davies on the lure of the forest and her work
THE ARTIST Ellie Davies
THE LURE OF THE FOREST “I grew up in an area of Southern England called the New Forest and loved being outdoors in nature from an early age. These experiences have grown into a lifelong fascination with forests. Being amongst trees is a universally altering experience. The minute you step under the canopy the atmosphere changes and your senses are heightened. It’s a bit like being under water. I find that I need it regularly in my life, and it has been hugely fulfilling to bring it into my work for the last 10 years.”
ON PHOTOGRAPHY “I went through art school intending to become a sculptor, but after moving to London I took a photography course and was absolutely electrified by the wonder and the processes of it. I loved it all: the old film cameras, the technicality of lighting, especially the magic of the darkroom.”
FREEING THE IMAGINATION “I love things that seem uncanny or peculiar in everyday life, and in woodland this often comes in the form of a sensory change—a different atmosphere that you can’t necessarily explain. The imagination becomes freer, and the mind wanders to what might be. I think there are parallels here between the woods and the dark—as a child all things are possible, and I am interested to explore this potentiality in my images.”
AWAKENINGS “My work seems to elicit wildly different reactions in different people. Some find it beautiful, spiritual, even soothing, whilst others find it sinister and frightening. I always try to make my images in a way that leaves space for the viewer to make their own interpretation, to bring their own story or narrative into the work.”
NEXT Davies plans to show her next series, “Stillness,” at Photo London, May 13-16, 2021.