Ever since she first picked up a camera several years ago Norwegian born photographer, Mariell Amélie, has been fusing the lines between fashion and art through her whimsical and often eerie approach to photography. Describing herself as an introvert, Amélie’s pictures reflect a similar sense of solitude and silence that she experienced whilst growing up. Now based in London, her lens continues to capture precious moments inspired by memories and dreams.
Currently housed at Notting Hill Arts Club, Forget Me Not / Forglem Meg Ei is Mariell’s debut solo exhibition, presenting an assortment of self-portraits from her extensive archive. Last night Twin joined Mariell for her opening night to find out more about the girl behind (and in front of) the lens…
What initially attracted you to photography?
When I was younger I stumbled across a drawer full of Polaroid pictures of my mum and dad from the Seventies. I found it so fascinating that a particular moment from their history had been permanently captured in a single shot so I bought myself a camera and began playing around and experimenting with photography. I grew up in a small island, Andøya, in the polar circle of northern Norway with just my mum and dad… I had to learn to entertain myself and enjoy my own company so being on my own was something I got used to; I guess that’s why I primarily focus on self-portraiture.
Who/what inspires you?
My Grandmother. She was the most creative person I ever met yet no one really knew it. Moving to a big city like London from my small Norwegian home was a bit overwhelming but I knew branching out was something I had to do; she taught me to take risks, challenge myself and never give up. I decided to call this exhibition Forget Me Not (Forglem Meg Ei in Norwegian) referring to the flower of the same name that I have tattooed on my wrist in memory of my grandmother.
Describe your photographic style in three words:
Isolated, cold, eerie…
Females are often the subject of your pictures (in this case, yourself) would you say you were a feminist at heart?
I definitely like to make a statement with my work to express that you don’t have to be a male to have power and freedom. Also there’s simply something about the female form that I find to be more interesting, but ultimately I like people to see my subjects as individuals without casting any stereotypical or preconceived views.
You split your time between Norway and London – where do you prefer shooting?
Well the majority of the pictures in this exhibition were taken in Andøya. It’s just such an amazing place with such beautiful and untouched landscapes. I work with a location scout back in Norway who helps me to find some incredible settings for my shoots. I think everywhere in London has already been discovered and overdone so it gets a bit tedious.
I’ve been really busy the last year on various commercial projects: I’m not saying that I haven’t enjoyed them but I now want some time to really focus on projects that I am truly passionate about. I’m going back to Norway in a couple of weeks so I am planning on shooting a lot when I’m out there and hopefully creating a brand new set of images for my next exhibition.
Forget Me Not / Forglem Meg Ei is on at the Notting Hill Arts Club, now until 11th June 2012.
Words: Sarah Barlow