new genuary: introducing vicki king
Another year, another fresh batch of exciting young talent. Throughout the month of January we will be introducing the photographers set to define 2017. Capturing the world around them and interpreting it through the prism of their own experiences...
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up.
I'm from a small village on the outskirts of Leicestershire, three generations of my family have lived there. It's pretty, but most of the time [I was] there, I was planning some sort of escape. I didn't get on particularly well with the structure of school and left quite young. I had a succession of weird jobs as a teenager, one of them in a pathology lab in a hospital. After taking some night classes and putting together some work, I applied to study in London and I've been here since.
How did you get into photography?
Photography was around me before I consciously decided it was what I wanted to do. My dad used to take pictures and put on slide shows for us, they were like these manifestations of things I couldn't remember beamed up and shimmering on the wall; that must have gone and sat somewhere in the back of my mind. I had a lot of creative energy when I was growing up. I tried out a lot of things but discovered making pictures by accident about eight years ago when I photographed one of my friends, who I still photograph today. It sounds cheesy, but it was like someone turned a spotlight on.
What is it about the medium that appeals most?
Photography is one of the few things in life that allows you to create your own version of reality, which I've always struggled with. It lets you rewrite it into something more that feels more magical.
How and where did you learn your craft?
I studied photography at LCC but before then, I taught myself the basics by experimenting, messing up a lot, and writing streams of really obvious questions on Flickr forums.
Is a degree necessary to pursue a career in photography?
Not at all necessary. The internet has changed a lot. I think doing an arts degree is a privileged thing to do and not a viable option for everyone. Studying doesn't prepare you for things like how to survive creatively and continue making work once you have finished. Personally speaking: after leaving education at 16, it was very useful for me to have that time to find myself and grow in confidence in an academic but creative setting of my choice. What works for some people doesn't for others.
Who or what inspires you?
So many things. I get really into details — colors, textures, light refractions, skin. But I also find things that are so huge they are difficult to comprehend fascinating, such as space, hyper-reality, spirituality, natural elements. I like things that can potentially mean lots of different things. My favorite kind of art doesn't tell the viewer what to think necessarily; it gives clues, but lets you project yourself onto it and fill in the gaps with your own experiences.
How would you describe your overall aesthetic?
What's been your career highlight so far?
This year, work has given me the opportunity to travel more than I have previously, which has been beyond exciting.
What are you most excited about for 2017?
Making new photographs, learning new things. Exploring. I'm applying for a residency somewhere very beautiful so I'm crossing every part of my body in hope that that happens.
What are you working on right now?
Some fashion commissions, and I'm looking forward to have a bit of time over the holidays to make some work with my sister who is a painter. Also I've been working on a personal project about performance and sexuality, so the aim is to finish that up next year.
What do you stand for?
Mental health awareness, redistribution of wealth, equality and respect for all marginalized people. Having a ton of empathy and compassion for everybody — specifically for those who may have differing struggles — would fix a lot of cracks in society. I'm a huge believer that creativity is a healing force and that there is strength in vulnerability.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
I feel like I'm growing all the time, so I hope that continues and maybe I can satisfy myself at some point.
Photography Vicki King