Ellen Rogers is a Norfolk-born fashion photographer who now resides in the Staffordshire countryside, having fallen out of love with London. She’s worked with many big names – from Karley Sciortino to Warren Ellis and the BFI – all of which are in awe her dark, dreamy experimental imagery. Ahead of the release of her newest shoot about London’s Match Strikes at the end of the month, she talks to Wonderland about her striking images and curious methodology.
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 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.
Do you think that growing up in Norfolk has influenced your style?
I know Norfolk has made me the person I am, 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. 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.
You experiment a lot with colour. Why do you think that this is important?
The more I work in colour, the more I realise that my colouring is a work of autonomy. Free association; it is 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.
Which was your favourite shoot?
This one, because I used the flowers I salvaged from my mother’s funeral for it.
Was it hard selecting which shoots to put in your book, Aberrant Necropolis, 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 made that is incorporated in the book, and leads to a door on my website… this one in fact… 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 reasoning behind this?
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.
Tell me about some exciting shoots that you’ve got coming up in 2012.
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.
Words: Katie Wilkinson