Interview with Talented Up-and-coming Photographer Rebecca Palmer

Hi Rebecca, it’s a pleasure to feature you here on Business Boom Bolton! Can you firstly introduce yourself to our readers and let them know about what you do in the creative industries.

Hello! Well basically, I’m an 18-year-old student photographer who specialises in portraiture, mostly conceptual images which have a story behind them but I also like to do commissioned work and add my own unique twist to it!

What was your route through education to get to your work today? Did you find college education was all you needed to become a photographer or do you think that a university course can be much more beneficial?

I wouldn’t credit my College course as giving me all of my photographic knowledge – after the first year of A level Photography I went out in the summer, bought a Nikon D3000 and shot as much as I could and as often as possible, learned my way around the camera and how to use it to its best ability. I then taught myself Photoshop – although we had it at College we were never properly told how each tool worked, and as I went on noticing techniques other photographers used I figured them out myself and began to implement them into my work. In September I started a BA Photography course at the University of Bolton, but I don’t think this is vital for my chosen career path. I decided to do it mostly for the new experiences within photography I hope will come in the future and the fact that having a degree’s never a bad thing!

Remnants through the Weeds

Reality's End

What was the moment that you developed your passion for photography? Was there a particular photographer when you first began who inspired you the most?

I’ve been taking photographs all my life! For my 7th birthday I was given my own cheap 35mm film camera (which I still have) as I loved taking photos on my mum’s camera. So I constantly had it with me and took terrible snapshots, which I insisted had to always be developed. When I was 15 and in my final year of High School, part of my Art GCSE required me to do some photography. I didn’t have my own digital camera so borrowed one from school, but for the time I had it I never put it down. I was then bought a proper digital point and shoot for my 16th birthday, which was where it all properly started! I didn’t develop my own style until about a year later, after my first year of College, when I decided to get a Flickr account. My very early influences were found on there – Rebecca Jones and Eleni Caulcott. I then found the work of Rosie Hardy, and from her Karrah Kobus, Terra Kate and Brooke Shaden, all well-known names on Flickr. 

Requiem for a Stranger

What drives your passion for photography today? Do you have any people/styles who act as your biggest influences?

I’ve always had an urge to create things, it used to be cartoons, then general sketches and paintings, now I channel it through photography. Some of my main influences would be my boyfriend John (who is a writer), my Uncle, Paul Needham (an artist), the names I said above, the authors Charlaine Harris and Gemma Malley,and the music of Kate Nash and The Hush Sound.

With the busy period of Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas all around the corner, is this as busy a time as ever as a photographer, or is it a steady workflow throughout the year?

I think it’s mostly got busier for me now as I’ve suddenly become a lot more well-known than I was! I am actually offering Christmas portrait deals though – £35 for 10 final edited images (this can be of family, children, couples or anything else) so if you’re interested make sure to get in touch!

What is your current setup in your studio? Is there any particular pieces of tech you have your eyes on for christmas this year?

I actually don’t have a studio, although I do know a very good one in Manchester city centre which can be rented out! 99.9% of the time I shoot outdoors on location, I prefer the use of natural light. However I am hoping for a new lens for Christmas – either the 50-200mm or 70-300mm Nikkor lens! I’d also love a wide-angle lens, I’ve had my eye on the 28mm f2.8 for a while!

Heroes like Teardrops

The Great Escape

What do you think of the Bolton creative community at the moment? Do you see it growing? Or do you feel its dwindling with people preferring to network and work in Manchester and beyond?

I’ve recently seen many different independent creative companies and businesses around Bolton, much more than I ever expected there would be! I definitely wouldn’t say it’s dying out – I myself advertise myself as being available to shoot in Bolton, all around Manchester, and parts of Derbyshire (such as Buxton) as all of these places are easy for me to travel to.

How do you find Bolton on the whole as a place to work in? Do you find enough work or do you search further afield?

As said above, I do advertise more widely around Manchester, but this is more for the ease of my clients and models than myself, I find Bolton to be a great place to find work!

We see you are involved in the upcoming Vintage Tea Party organised by Polka Dots and Pearls (click here to see article), What is your role in this event? Is it a typical charity project we should all try to be involved with?

I think it’s more than just a typical charity project, it seems very unique and imaginative in my opinion! Everyone should definitely try to get involved with it. My role at the tea party is to offer photographs of the attendees, which can be bought as prints or just digital files on my client website (www.rebeccampalmer.zenfolio.com) with all of the money from the purchases being donated to Bolton Hospice.

Rebecca Palmer Coursework

Memoirs of a Memory

Which businesses in the creative industries in your local area would you recommend to our readers to check out?

Well, Polka Dots & Pearls and Little Poppet Cupcakes of course! I contacted them about the tea party and soon after I was confirmed as the photographer of the event, they’ve even given me another job since! I honestly don’t know many local businesses that well yet, but I’m eager to get in contact with more of them 🙂

What places online do you search for inspiration? Do you enjoy reading any particular blogs or websites?

Well Flickr, of course. I get a lot of inspiration from the fantasy novels I read, from lyrics or simply from a quote or phrase I’ll read or hear. I tend to mostly over-exaggerate real life situations for my images, or use more dream like scenes and ideas.

Who do you see as the best people to follow out of your twitter following? Do you have any people you recommend we should all go out and follow?

@Business_Boom, obviously 😉 honestly I made my Twitter little over a month ago, still finding my way around it, although it has brought in some great business for me already.

How do you rate Facebook in terms of helping gaining customers as a photographer? Do you treat it as a platform to gain clients or to spread your name and network as a creative?

I find Facebook can be fairly helpful but only if you have friends willing to look at what you’re constantly posting, I get more attention via my Flickr

What are your plans ahead for the rest of 2011 and beyond in 2012?

Keep shooting as much as possible, get places within photography, see more places, meet more people, and keep enjoying it!

Thanks very much Rebecca and all the best for the future!

Don’t miss other interviews featuring; Dan FreebairnRachel TonnerRebecca Ebbit & Cormac McGloin. Don’t miss Rebecca over on Design Juices.

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