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get to know melbourne photographer alice hutchison

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Alice Hutchison's photographs feel like childhood memories of visits to your eccentric aunt's house that are being viewed though a cinematic fever dream – weirdly sentimental and chock-full of colour. Naturally, we were intrigued, so we had a chat with the talented shutterbug to find out more.

Hi Alice, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do. I’m a photographer and art director living in Narrm, Melbourne. More recently I have started working as a director for Pixel Melbourne. I also run an art practice alongside my commercial practice.

Describe your artistic style in five words. Surreal, nostalgic, intriguing, sentimental and funny. 

How did you learn your way around a camera? I studied photography after pursuing a multitude of creative endeavours – photography presented a new opportunity and vocation. When learning to use a camera, nothing in particular came naturally to me. I only tend to learn technical skills to facilitate a creative outcome; the technical side of things is a means to an end. I guess this is symptomatic of being more interested in creating work and expressing an idea rather than the technical mastery of a tool.

What kind of subjects interest you the most? My preoccupation with nostalgia is present in most of my work. I enjoy re-creating an era, time and place; a historical fiction. I often draw upon cinema as a visual tapestry of stolen memories. The female narrative is an ongoing theme in my work, often in subtle ways. Some art projects fall outside of these themes, however, and focus on current social and cultural issues.

How do you come up with your ideas? Creating time and space to form an idea is important. When this is achieved, good ideas come quickly and stick around. Ideas evolve from memory, imagination, visual association and the cultural diaspora. I try to fixate on a visual, which forms the basis of a concept that will go through a process of exploration and refinement. Staying engaged with art and culture is crucial to making anything that will resonate with others. I also get creative energy from collaborating with talented friends and artists who bring different skills and perspectives to a project.

Who are your favourite photographers? Taryn Simon, Nadia Lee Cohen, Matthew Stone, Alex Prager, Matt Henry, and a plethora of Australian photographers such as Phebe Schmidt, Lauren Bamford and Myles Pedlar – just to name a few. I’m also deeply invested in classic cinema, art, design, music and fashion. For me, it’s the same thing… all art forms derive from a need to communicate creative energy. When I work as a director or art director, it’s necessary to draw upon these different disciplines.

What are you currently working on? I’m in the editing phase of a video artwork that will be part of a physically huge sculpturein St Kilda, titled Screening. This project is a collaboration with cinematographer Wil Normyle and OCTA. It explores our physical relationship with screen-based devices and opens on June 16th.

What do you get up to when you’re not taking photos? I attend other art-based events or see friends. I’m quite social and love a little bit of a Euro lifestyle on the weekend – good food, good wine and good people. Nature and exercise are also super-important, so making time for these is a daily challenge. 

Where can we see more of your work? @aliceshutchison and alicehutchisonimagery.com.