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‘A snapshot of me’ with photographer Charlotte Dobson

Meeting 3: 16 July 2020

I’m trying to connect to the beauty in the world, as it is something that everyone can see, but is often not appreciated in the fast pace of life.


Assemblage member Charlotte Dobson is an undergraduate photographer at Leeds Arts University. As an emerging photographer, she has had works exhibited and featured in various magazines and exhibitions, namely in Italy and Rome. In this meeting she chatted us about her process, inspirations, and experimentations. Below are some key quotes from her talk and you can download her presentation slides at the bottom of this post:

My approach to photography:
‘Usually have something planned in mind, this usually consists of the subject matter and background, but then I experiment with things like the angles and focus. I have recently been enjoying being more spontaneous, for example, with the photograph of my sister in deep thought whilst setting up the camera (below). So I have been realising lately how capturing something in the moment can be so effective. The mediums that we use can be so powerful in capturing reality.’

What inspires me:
‘Initially I find my phone a useful device to document and record, but I then switch to another medium that I feel can better reflect everything I want to express. I have recently been using film more to push my technical skills, but discovered that I have to be completely calm and undistracted to really make effective images’


Shooting outdoors:
‘I sometimes shoot outdoors with dreamy light, usually early in the morning, just as the sun is coming down. It’s about having patience and using light almost as a director and being less in control, which kind of contradicts the idea of a photographer, but when working with nature, it is about working with it slowly.’


Experimenting with film photography:
‘I think it’s great when different art forms cross over and are able to support and heighten one another. Coming from a fine art background, I have always been pushed to experiment, and have took this further in photography with other technical processes like film. I enjoy working with film photography because it offers an element of surprise. It’s definitely easier to work in the moment more because there are limited shots for a roll, not unlimited like digital, so you have to have a stronger presence with it.’

Working with colour:
‘I like to use black and white photography to emphasise shadows, but I use colour photography when there is really interesting colour, for example bright or moody. This image of my Mum (below) with the black eye gives soft textures on the skin with the background, which contrasts the harshness of the red bruised eye.’

Booking making:
Book making has been an effective
way to portray my interest in creating connections, due to pairings, layout and sequencing. I created a book to do with climate change and animal welfare, to encourage the viewer to simply question their thoughts and beliefs, including poems from other people. I find poems make the work more dreamy and less harsh. I collaborated with a graphic designer to keep it playful as something too harsh might put certain audiences off.’

On photography:

‘Like other art forms photography is also about imagining, not just showing what is there.’

Want find out more? You can check out Charlotte’s other work here: @charlottedobson.photography