Ellen Stewart

Ellen Stewart is a fine-art photographer living and working in London. Stewart graduated with a Photography degree from the Arts University Bournemouth in 2019. Presently, she is undergoing the first Khadija Saye Photography Fellowship at London Transport Museum whilst also focusing on editorial-based projects. Coming from a painting background, Stewart took her main influences from the likes of Gerhard Richter yet she was introduced to photography through undertaking a foundation course in art and design. The course created an interest in the different ways you can use photography as an art form and this underlying deceiving nature it has. The series ‘In My Fence Wall’ won her the representation from Photograd till 2020 and more recently she took part as a nominee in the South West Graduate Photography Prize for their 2019 exhibition.

In My Fence Wall

The series focuses on the everyday banality of the home with the aim to confuse and question our own associations to our private space. Using the constraints of my childhood house I play with ‘making strange’ the seemingly mundane in order to explore the tension of how we look at the every day and the epic.

The ‘every day and the epic’ is a phrase coined from the exhibition catalogue The Epic and the Everyday published by Southbank in 1994. The catalogue features one of Andreas Gursky’s photograph View over Cairo comparing the epic scene of the vastness of the metropolis with clothing lines of the everyday realities of the people that live there. The mix of the epic photo with the underlying markers of banality really interested me in how these two components work together to form each other. I attempted to play on this thought when embarking on In My Fence Wall, drawing focus on if we can see the every day as epic, and how little do you have to change the every day to make it epic as such.

I approached each scene as an almost physical collage, trying to juxtapose or remove parts of the composition in the fewest attempts possible to see how little has to be changed to subvert this complete familiar feel. Simplicity and isolation of the photograph is a technique I tried to master to create an important mix of somewhat unsettling and somewhat humorous series.

To view more of Ellen Stewart’s work please visit her website.