Ellen Rogers is a Norfolk born fashion photographer who now resides in the Staffordshire countryside after falling out of love with London. She’s worked with many big names, all of which have been in awe of her dark, dreamy experimental imagery. Here’s what happened when I caught up with her to talk about beginnings, life choices, chromatic aberration and exciting projects that she has coming up. ..
How long have you been shooting for? Tell me about how it all began.
I have been shooting since I was a kid, my dad was a photographer too, and still is to a degree. I used to process his films for him early on; it was always fun for me, ironically it is somewhat more annoying/stressful now my wage depends on it. So it started off innocently as so many daunting things do.
Do you think that growing up in Norfolk has influenced your photography? Where did your love for the natural world come from?
It’s a good question, I know Norfolk has made me the person I am with the idiosyncrasies I have. But I think things really shifted for me when I fell out of love with London, I was living in New Cross, a dank miserable place with a boy who also came from the countryside and every day we would talk about what life was like before London, how much more beautiful it was, how much easier things were for us. How we could eat other things than beans on toast… It was then that I craved the natural beauty I could not find in London. London has a profound beauty but it isn’t natural. That said, I crave something new now I live in the country. The simple answer is I will never be happy, I have a restless soul.
You experiment a lot the colour of your images, why do you think that this experimentation is important?
The more I work in colour, the more I realise that my colouring is a work of autonomy. Free association, they are more or less a stream of my consciousness.
There are a lot of photographers doing similar shoots at the moment. What separates you from them?
Nothing is different other than the fact that I am my own person, with my own experiences and my own tastes. Other photographs are not my concern, they are their own concern.
Who have you worked with?
Ballad of Magazine, BFI, Bullett Magazine, Charlotte Olympia, Crash magazine, Curious Science, Dazed and Confused, Elite Models, Glass Magazine, i-D magazine, karley Sciortino, Labb Magazine, Lomography, Maria Francesca Pepe, Material Girl Magazine, Milk Magazine, Next Models, Piers Atkinson, Platform Magazine, Prangsta Costumers, Prangsta Costumiers, Rika Magazine, Tank Magazine, TBA, Vice Magazine, Vision magazine, Warren Ellis.
Rightly or wrongly I have declined to work with any actors, actresses or musicians because I believe that I am my own brand and to hand out my vision on a commercial basis in which I forgo creative control would be to dilute my work until it was eventually rendered obsolete.
Which was your favourite shoot?
Because I used the flowers I salvaged from my mother’s funeral.
You released your book, Aberrant Necropolis, last year. Was it hard selecting which shoots to put in it or did you always have in mind which ones you were going to use? Also, what’s the idea behind the title?
The images and order were selected at random by a puzzle we (Prizme and I) made that is incorporated in the book and leads to a door on my website… this one in fact… http://ellenrogers.co.uk/door
Aberrant, as in ‘chromatic aberration’ caused by a lens in a camera and the Necropolis is my world after my mother died. My particular Necropolis is a city of dead people.
You recently moved from London to the Staffordshire countryside. What was the main aim behind this? Did you not feel that London allowed you to be creative enough?
I fell out of love with it, with some of the people (not all of them but most of them) and I began to see it as an existence that I didn’t want, one of extortion and fear. I was numb, like I couldn’t feel my entire mind. It was like a phantom limb only I knew it was still there somewhere. I am slowly getting the sensation back. I am a solitary creature. I most certainly wasn’t cut out for the life that was foisted upon me there. For example I have never been to a club in London and I never will.
Tell me about some exciting shoots that you’ve got coming up in 2012.
Oh Yeah, shoots, that’s what I am here for isn’t it? In terms of personal work I have just completed a shoot which pays homage to the women of the match strikes in London of 1888. This is part of a continuing project to make reconstructions of historic events that stir me emotionally. I will show it very soon so please stay tuned. As for fashion, I will be working with my friends; stylist Pandora Lennard and Designer Sorcha O’Raghallaigh on a feature of Sorcha’s work, I am pretty excited about that as I love both of them.
Words by Katie Wilkinson
This interview was originally for Wonderland Magazine. View it here.