pro­file: ALICIA TAY­LOR

For her up­com­ing exhibition, the travel and life­style photographer has im­mersed her­self in stormy skies and float­ing forms.

VOGUE Living Australia - - Art & Design - VL Above & Be­low runs at Becker Minty, 27 Oc­to­ber–10 Novem­ber; beck­er­minty.com. Visit ali­ci­atay­lor­pho­tog­ra­phy.com

Alicia Tay­lor had an idea as she was driv­ing through Tas­ma­nia on a shoot four years ago. “I jumped out of the car and saw this storm. It was ab­so­lutely beau­ti­ful,” she says. She got her cam­era out, but wasn’t wholly sat­is­fied with her de­pic­tion. “I felt it was too sim­ple so I didn’t do any­thing with it, but I kept the im­age in my mind.” Qui­etly, over the next few years, the Aus­tralian travel and life­style photographer be­gan to amass a col­lec­tion of storm pho­to­graphs, taken by her own hand. In Fiji, she found her­self pho­tograph­ing a per­son swim­ming, and it was at this point that a more solid con­cept took hold. “I just chose, for some rea­son, to merge these two im­ages [the storm and the wa­ter] to­gether,” she says. “It started some­thing for me.” This was the be­gin­ning of Above & Be­low, Tay­lor’s in­au­gu­ral exhibition — and first foray into fine art photography — which opens at Syd­ney’s Becker Minty on 27 Oc­to­ber. The pho­to­graphs — ghostly, serene, mov­ing — seem to rep­re­sent both pain and peace at once: flashes of light­ning; gen­tly me­an­der­ing wa­ter; a lithe body, float­ing. The im­ages re­call Sir John Everett Mil­lais’ 1851–52 paint­ing Ophe­lia, which de­picts the beau­ti­ful Shake­spearean char­ac­ter who drowns in a stream. In­deed, Tay­lor be­gan mak­ing the works dur­ing a par­tic­u­larly chal­leng­ing time in her own life. “I wanted change,” she says. These pho­to­graphs are, in their fury and soft­ness, “a re­flec­tion of change and the chal­lenges of change. What I think is most beau­ti­ful about life is the journey we go on: it can be re­ally up­lift­ing, and you can go into dark­ness, and ul­ti­mately move through that dark­ness”. Tay­lor finds in­spi­ra­tion on her ex­ten­sive trav­els. “I’m fas­ci­nated by the dif­fer­ences in light and colour around the world,” she says. “Where you are ge­o­graph­i­cally and what’s hap­pen­ing in na­ture re­ally does change the colours, and I find that quite beau­ti­ful.” Art fu­els her cre­ativ­ity. “This year I went to Art Basel in Hong Kong and I loved it. For me, look­ing at dif­fer­ent medi­ums and tex­tures and colours… it just sits there in the sub­con­scious, churn­ing away.” The show fea­tures 12 im­ages, shot in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions around Australia. “I love what a cam­era does,” she says. “It opens up peo­ple to con­nect with you, it can take you on an amaz­ing journey, and prob­a­bly the only time I feel I’ve got the guts to do some­thing is when I’ve got the cam­era in my hands. I feel like it’s a key to the world.”

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