profile: ALICIA TAYLOR
For her upcoming exhibition, the travel and lifestyle photographer has immersed herself in stormy skies and floating forms.
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.”