Interview with Sandra Jordan
A fine art photographer who creates calming visual meditations.
Sandra's work was featured in Murze issue Three December 2018, as part of our photography project. Her work Hidden Beauty looked at tower block buildings, structures often perceived to be ugly she looks at the beauty of these constructions.
"Large in character, many people would ignore or walk past these uncompromising, somewhat harsh, fortress-like structures. Yet to me they communicate strength, honesty, rawness, an openness that I admire. So much in society is judged on outside aesthetics, yet here they seem to stand proud and want to be seen despite their somewhat cold appearance and grotesqueness. They’re not afraid to say “I’m standing here with all my physical imperfections but there is much much more to me if you just took the time to look”."
Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your work
I don’t have a formal education in photography, it’s a combination of being self-taught, doing various online courses and being part of a great worldwide photography group. I have been very lucky to have worked with some amazing mentors along the way and I can easily say that their encouragement, support and advice has led me to the work I now produce which I believe has evolved greatly since I started taking my first images.
I tend to try and shoot as much as I can in camera, mainly because I have a short attention span on the computer - I just don’t have the interest to spend hours processing an image.
What first got you interested in the arts?
I dabbled a little bit in analogue photography in my late teens but it didn’t catch hold of me back then. Twenty years later in 2007 I wanted to go back to Turkey, where I used to live, but I didn’t want to fly so I embarked on a 7-week train trip through Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria. I decided to get a camera so I would have lots of visual memories of the trip. Little did I know at the time that it would be the start of something so important in my future!
I spent the next 8 years switching my time between my freelance production manager work and photography. As time went on I became more and more enamoured with photography and in 2015 I quit my job after 19 years to concentrate on photography full-time.
Tell us about the themes you pursue in your work
I seek out moments of solitude to create minimalist visual meditations that offer a sensory escape from our hectic world. Whether it’s a lone tree in a winter landscape, a mountain or a ‘portrait’ of a city building I strive to remove all the clutter to construct an image that serves as an antidote to our modern way of living. There is an underlying theme of individuality through all my series, this is something I have only recently noticed in my work.
How would you describe your approach to photography?
I use the act of photography as a type of meditation, it’s the only thing that lets my mind switch off from anything else and just focus on the task at hand. It allows me to slow down. I don’t start out with a concept in mind, instead I go out and work very much on gut instinct. It’s a simple black and white process for me, I see an ‘image’ and I either get excited about it or have no reaction, there isn’t an in-between. I only take a photograph if the scene really draws me in, even if I don’t know the reason for this at the time, but once I have found the first few images, a series very quickly develops in my mind.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about being a photographic artist?
I don’t find much challenge in the creative side although sometimes I do find that going out feels like a bit of a chore, but that dissipates very quickly once I am looking through the viewfinder. For me it’s more the business side - the marketing, keeping up with social media, getting my work seen etc - that part takes up more time than I would like as it takes me away from creating.
Tell us what gear you use, what is your favourite equipment to use?
I’m mainly a Canon girl. I use a 5D mk ii and a 6D with 17 - 40mm, 24-105mm and 70 - 300mm L lenses. The whole kit can be quite heavy to lug around at times so I also have a Sony rx100 iii which I’ve been using a little more of more recently.
Are there any upcoming exhibitions or projects in the works ?
My father passed away in September 2017 which has had a massive effect on me. It’s only recently that I have been able to pick up the camera again and I am now working on a series exploring the implication of loss and the grief that accompanies it. It’s very much in the early stages but I’m excited to see where it will lead.