Lisa was brought her first 35m camera by her Father when she was only four and soon became fascinated with the idea that this small devise could capture a fraction of time with the click of a button and transform it into a piece of eternal art . “As a child it seemed like a magic trick preserving a memory for me to keep and I still feel that way, it is a wonderful form of self expression and a powerful tool of communication.”
School was quite challenging for Lisa as she has dyslexia and found class room environments distracting and scary, “I would often stay home and miss lessons due to social anxiety and I would spend days drawing, making anything and everything from left over materials, I found this therapeutic and it made me feel relaxed. Being an only child you have to entertain yourself and learn to be imaginative, art fulfilled me and continues to make me happy.” When Lisa went to college she studied subjects that would allow her to be expressive and artistic, she took an A level in Dance, Photography and Textiles at St Vincent College. This was the start of her academic journey; here she was given the support and confidence to engage in these subjects and be comfortable with who she was. During her studies here, she developed a dis-associative disorder, called DRD (de-realisation disorder) which makes the world around her feel permanently dream like and surreal. Lisa states “Photography was my love, my escapism. As soon as I was behind the lens I didn’t feel so disconnected.”
Lisa went on to study photography as a degree at the University of Portsmouth. It was a very academic course however Lisa built up her skills from these years of education and found coping strategies to deal with dyslexia and DRD. Here she became interested with the psychology behind why we admire the images we take or are taken.
Lisa was influenced by artists such as Richard Billingham, who’s images represent the dysfunctional relationship between his parents and explored how their environment reflects their chaotic family relations . Lisa from a unconventional upbringing herself, felt like she could relate to Billingham’s work and did a study based on her father, exploring their relationship and his job as a mechanic.
Lisa was also interested in the concept of life and the human body. The creation of life as a living organism has lead her to feel curious about human existence making her question her own purpose for living. “I am interested in human instinct and behavior and how every decision that a person makes has a consequence on their life. The path of life is spontaneous and unpredictable for everyone, yet we make our choices based on our belief systems from the environment we have grown in” Lisa was given the rare opportunity to photograph a friend giving birth to her daughter. The mystery surrounding life and death sparked an interest in the works of Bill Viola who studies the power and complexity of human behavior, Lisa finds his art aesthetically stunning and psychologically intriguing.
Lisa was also very influenced by fashion photographers, like David Lachapelle. She loved the bright bold colours of the set design and styling, this also incorporated her love of dance, film , theatre and costumes to tell a story. Lisa worked as a wedding photographer and in a photographic studio in between study and during her University break she lived in London and had the chance to work with top celebrity fashion photographers and stylists. As much as this experience was fun and glamorous, Lisa debated concepts of how photography can educate as well as being aesthetic.
Lisa decided to go travelling for a year travelling around Asia and Australasia. During this trip Lisa enjoyed the freedom and beauty around her. “When you are somewhere beautiful you want to snap everything but you also have to remember to take time to step aside and appreciate the moment. I learnt to dive and had the chance to see the great barrier reef. Photographing Whales in the ocean off of Harvey Bay will always be one of the most amazing days of my life. Lisa always had a passion for animals since childhood and decided on her return in 2010 to become vegan, already a vegetarian at the age of 7 she felt that once she had the knowledge of animal cruelty her choice to eat an animal based diet was taken away. Lisa believes that everything on this earth is special and should be appreciated and treated with kindness.” She also believes that photography is a powerful tool in passing on messages and being the voice of those who are not able to communicate this, for an image to make someone express an emotion or learn from is a magnificent gift.
Lisa had a wonderful opportunity to go to The Gambia in West Africa last year and shot portraits for Hadamayaa – a grassroots charity based in The Gambia, West Africa, and seeks to support girls and women. “The people of the Gambia are genuinely peaceful, kind and giving. They gave up their room for me and shared their food. When I arrived with donations I wanted to give them everything I had, now I realise that they gave me much more, they taught me to live in the moment and gave me the knowledge that material objects do not define you, it’s your actions that do this”.
With other creative passions in mind and her love for the stage and film Lisa went on to study a diploma in SFX make-up. “I love how hands on and imaginative this art form is, its fun to play around with someone’s visual identity and transform them into another being entirely.”
Lisa currently works as a freelance photographer and make-up artist . Working frequently with the military as a make-up artist for accident simulation training. “I love the study of human anatomy and I am able to use my creativity to help people”.
With this in mind Lisa wants to use her talent to remind people that beauty surrounds us daily if we stand still and look, to enjoy creativity and be the change we want to see in the world.
Lisa was recruited by Sadie Kaye and Charlotte Farhan the co-artistic directors of Art Saves Lives International as an artist in residence in 2014 and has now, since January 2015 become an Artistic Projects and Campaign Director for ASLI along side MD Charlotte Farhan. ASLI is a non-profit organisation which aims to help disadvantaged and marganalised artists get involved in art based projects around the world to promote and educate all people about the power of art and how it can save lives. ASLI are very proud to have celebrated’the celebration of women month’ in March 2015 and looks forward very much to working with lots of very talented local and international artists who are creatively contributing to up and coming campaigns and our ASLI E- magazine. ASLI organise community swap shop events in their local town Portsmouth, to promote recycling and up-cycling as part of their running campaigns. ASLI have previously taken part and organised an ASLI art project with a pediatric/psychiatric unit in Southampton, called Bursledon House. Lisa and Charlotte Farhan taught the children to express themselves with art therapy by creating their own personality portraits and creative writing, as well as a performance where Lisa painted children’s faces as different animals and they recited poetry. Their visual art was made into an exhibition to promote the residential school that the children use and hopefully raise money for more art supplies and school trips to art museums . Exploring creativity to promote change is very important to Lisa, education through all forms of art is a life line for many people of all ages and a cause which Lisa is passionate about.
The future holds lots of promise for Lisa. Planning more charitable work and developing her artistry in photography, make-up and visual art is just the beginning. Hoping to launch her collections in exhibitions around the UK and also has been invited to exhibit her photography in Hong Kong.