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cassia beck photography interview

Like donning a pair of rose-tinted specs, Cassia Beck's photography makes the world one shiny, happy place. Whether she's shooting plastic toys, beautiful blooms or the carousel at her local fairground in Brighton, UK, everything comes coated with a little bit of sugary sweetness, making us want to step outside, take a big breath in and embrace all the lovely things that life has to offer.

We asked the clever lady a few questions about her work.

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What is your name and how old are you? My name is Cassia Beck and I will whisper my age. 37.

Where were you born and where do you live now? I was born in London and now I live in Brighton, UK.

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How does where you live affect your photography? Brighton is hugely inspiring for me with its bohemian atmosphere and colourful houses. There is a huge beach and a pier with fairground rides. All of these things have shaped my style of photography.

When did you first know you wanted to be a photographer? When I bought a Holga camera after feeling inspired by a friend who owned one. There was nothing technical about it so it was a fun introduction to photography. There was, and still is, nothing more exciting than getting the film developed; the results are always unexpected.

What kind of subjects interest you the most? I love the fairground, it feels mysterious and a little magical to me. I only ever go to the pier or the fair when they are empty. I don't like going on the rides, just photographing them. I have lived near the sea since I was a child, I find the beach is a good place to unwind and take pictures. I am always happy to photograph flowers, too.

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Is there a certain camera or type of film that you wish you could own? Not really. I have an extensive collection of cameras, old and new. They all have their own characteristics that appeal to me.

What kinds of ideas are you working on at the moment? I am currently working on a year-long project called 'Mundane'. My aim is to photograph something ordinary and boring every day for the next year. It's hard work and I am only on day 10! I want to challenge myself to take beautiful photos of things we see all the time but don't take much notice of. I worry I will get bored and don't want to bore other people, but that's the point, otherwise it wouldn't be a challenge.

When it comes to taking photos, do you have more of a controlled/set-up or spontaneous style? Definitely more spontaneous. I tend to just walk around and take pictures as I go. When I set up a still life, I prefer it to be simple so I don't plan much in advance. I always use natural light for my work, so as long as I have something interesting to photograph and good light, I'm happy.

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What advice can you offer on finding your personal style or aesthetic? Take lots and lots of photographs of everything you see. Use lots of different cameras until you find one or two you feel you can't leave home without. Personal style is all about the subjects that appeal to you the most and the type of camera you use. When I am in a rut, I set myself a project so I begin to think outside the box.

What are the hallmarks of a great photographer? When I look at other photographers, I always think they are great if they have a distinctive style you can spot a mile off. It shows when they are photographing something the way they see it rather than trying to recreate someone else's style.

What are your thoughts on the rise of mobile phone photography and Instagram? I do love taking pictures on my mobile and use Instagram every day. I don't think it matters what you use to take photographs, as long as you have a good eye.

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What do you enjoy doing when not taking photos? I love making collages when I am not holding a camera. It has been a hobby for years and now I sell my work online under the name of Violet May. The rest of my life revolves around my children. We can be found at the park, getting creative at the kitchen table or watching films.

Where can we see more of your work? Online, you can see my work on Etsy, Flickr and Society6. When my toddlers are a bit bigger I want to start showing my work in galleries again. I have kept life pretty simple since having them.

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