Carolyn Lefley Presentation

Coventry University 1997-2000 – BA Fine Art degree

– Her early influence was Robert Rauschenberg, painting over found objects, he likes to act between art and life and she saw photography as a medium to do that
– Specialised in photographing the home. She was inspired by the philosopher Bachelard “A house that has been experienced is not an inert box. Inhabited space transcends geometrical space” – can a photograph of the home bring back memories and make people relate with their memories
Final degree (2000) – decided to photograph coventry houses that where owned by estate agents. The hardest thing for a student photographer is to gain access into places. A really friendly estate agent let her take images. The images had a paint-like quality, and she wasn’t trained as a photographer, but had a keen interest in it as an art-form


View Point (2001) – People were using digital cameras to look out at the sea, the seaside telescopes looked nostalgic, took her back to home again doing the project.

– Wanted to move into a more physiological message with her photography, decided to take images of people watching television. Watchers (2004) – Shots shot on colour negative (tungsten balance). Went to different friends and family to take them watching television, called Mary and Phil, she thinks it makes her room look really clean with interesting patterns. Decoration is indicative of the personality of the individual making a portrait of them without being present in the frame.
– (First project made during MA in photography at UniversityWestLondon) 2005
– Going back to her child home, where her parents still live. Couldn’t wait to escape, as an adult moving to an old home, you’ve moved on but you haven’t moved on. Night photography, makes loose shadow, escaping into the nightime suburbia of different houses


Semi Detached (2006) – Artists book – Same autobiographical process, it makes you think differently about photography if you know the end result. When she went into the neighbours house it was like her home but flipped, it smelt different and it looked different. Took a long time to consider the mirror image, using a polaroid back she could measure up the room. But back in the darkroom, she realised the similarity, people think its a photoshop project, but then you realise the differences, and the book binded the architectural difference together


Belonging (2006) decided to use a dolls house that has been preloved and mime a really house, tv prop hire place is where she got them from. When the viewer looks at the image they don’t know the difference, they don’t know its studio lighting. Using Mamiya R7 for close focus without depth of field, people thought the images were taken in buckingham palace. Over powering patterns, the output for these images were tray frames, 30-40inches, view can inhabit the space. Project was a turning point.
– Writers are keen to write their responses on artists work.


Within (2007) – Miniture home with signs of the real house beyond. Gaston Batchelard talked about scale and concept.

Cosmogony 2011-2013 – Studio residency, making something about the root of things, the very existence of the universe. The more you play and the more you practice the more ideas will come. Playing with scale, suggesting to the viewer that there is a feel of reality but a miniature presence

Realm (2009-2013) – Look term project – Loosing the will, loosing confidence. A digital double exposure. Started as a landscape project, away from the interior, this was the initial idea, to tell a story through the landscape, Fairy glen etc. When she came back to london she realised she needed captions, and started playing with photoshop, and thought, what if these images came together. Through doubled, making the two worlds move together, the world of myth, the home represents what we know is real. Though shooting, its only natural that it develops. Process is a big part of it. Many landscape images, and few interior images. Realm XI (Shapeshifter) – Landscape of trees about Viking warriors, the trees become the Vikings, and the trees echo the interior.

– Timespan (artist in residence). They were excavating a house, they needed an artist to work alongside the archaeologists, write a weekly blog. Clearances are a moment in scottish history, evict landowners to put sheep farmers instead, improved modernisation, pros and cons. They wanted to find out stories of how people used to live, date of eviction was 1813. Give a loose brief, and funding and accommodation. Had to engage with the local community. Make work about notions of home, Kildonan Clearances, impact of architectural buildings on our lives, excavating and documentation, art and archaeology. She photographed the visible ruins of the longhouses, the work has to communicate. Got involved, as the week progressed the work developed into a process of excavation, digging up somebodies once precious home. First inspiration were the actual finds. Shards worked well as cyanotypes, giving physicality to the images, using water from the stream that these people would have used. Breaking away from original practice. What struck her, was it was run by volunteers, descendants. Collaborated with them, making them choose the site which they relate too most. Key Themes – ‘If these stones could talk’, diaspora, Migration, Home and Belonging, Abandonment. Using Matte Medium transfer, put liquid emulation on objects and then projected an image onto the object in a darkroom (se1). Displayed in a museum, with different draws from the local area with the disasopha stones in them.

Critical Reflection


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