Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Cherryfox Fine Photography - Artist Statement & Current Projects

I am a multi-discipline artist, working in photography, performance and costumes/crafts. I've been a fully self-employed artist since 2009, a professional cabaret performer and costume maker for over ten years, and I also teach sewing.

I developed my interest in using photography to document sub-cultures at university (where I obtained a BA hons 1st class in Photography). My first sub-culture study was local punk musicians, although at that time I didn't understand that what I was doing was documenting a sub-culture. Having always been an 'alternative' person, involved in music and creative arts, it was natural to me to photograph the colourful characters that were my friends.

As I progressed in skill and thinking I began to study more delicate sub-cultures. I produced a book of black and white nude photographs of women with heavy body modifications, tattoos, piercings. At the time it was rare to see women heavily tattooed in this way and finding and building trust with the sitters was a difficult process. These photographs were hand printed traditionally and spiral bound, with the same rings worn in body piercing, into an aluminium concept book

I produced work around the experience of having breast cancer for use by North Staffordshire Hospital. I produced studio portraits of patients designed to help boost their self esteem, documentary images of the medical staff that treated them, and the support staff who helped them through the process. This was perhaps the most challenging project I have ever undertaken - at the time my mother was being treated for breast cancer and I was being advised to consider a double mastectomy to reduce my future chances. This project was a way of dealing with the issues we were facing, and helping others do the same. While I never published this project publicly (for obvious reasons) it remains one of my proudest achievements that my images made a difference to the lives of women going thought this dreadful experience.

My last social-anthropology study was 'Strange & Beautiful', a study featuring both documentary images of events and studio portraits of burlesque performers. I presented burlesque as a valid performance art form where the performer has full control of their artistic vision, which is also accessible to performers of all kinds, no matter their age, weight, gender or background. This project was released as two self-published books, launched at an exhibition that featured burlesque artists performing in front of the displayed photographs of themselves.

'It Ain't Ballet' is a continuation of the approach I developed in 'Strange & Beautiful'. I began shooting wrestling in 2011 and have slowly built up the contacts I need to make a wide ranging and balanced study of wrestling, while continuing my on-going study of the cabaret world I work in. I am working closely with a number of UK wrestling promotions (including Scottish based SSW and English based Fight Club Pro) and American promotions 'Chikara' & Excellence Pro Wrestling - promotions who have all since used my work to advertise their performers and events.

If you'd like your wrestling promotion or cabaret event to be considered for inclusion in the
'It Ain't Ballet' project you can contact me via twitter @thecherryfox or leave a comment below

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