Georgie Wileman, 24, a London based photographer, likes to shoot her subjects in their own spaces, bringing a direct closeness to her portraiture. Known for her intimate photographs of male model wonder boys Ash Stymest and Miles Langford, and for editing the annual magazine Boys by Girls (exactly what it says on the tin: a magazine full of beautiful boys shot by female photographers), her latest project Girls at Home was definitely a branch off in the feminine direction.
Working with female models, she shot them in their actual homes, getting on with their everyday lives rummaging around in
kitchen cupboards and chasing mice out of their flats. Slotting in with the current zeitgeist represented by women like Lena Dunham who champions the joys of girly bedroom existence, Wileman’s shots have a refreshingly gritty honesty and naturalness about them.
What prompted you to start the project?
I’d been shooting a lot of guys at home, like Ash Stymest for Vanity Teen Magazine and Jack Marcy in his grandma’s house and I’d kind of just been shooting guys for Boys by Girls for such a long time that I thought it would be a nice way to transfer over to shooting women. I wanted to see the models stripped back and shot as real people.
What was it like working with girls, rather than male models?
I always thought that I would find shooting girls more difficult because female models have always seemed more guarded to me – in the past I have found it a lot harder to get a natural shot from girls. As soon as I arrived at one of the girl’s flats I got my camera out started shooting while they were getting settled. This seemed to help them forget about the camera pretty quickly. I also kept chatting to them and shooting them while they moved from room to room so that they didn’t try to be perfect in every shot.
It’s refreshing to see models doing ordinary things around the home, why is this the basis of your project?
I actually started shooting people in their own spaces for a school project, which focused on elderly men in their homes. A lot of my work has been an extension of this. I like that shooting people in places that they are comfortable in helps to tell their story, and even if people are done up I always prefer it if they give something real away in a picture. For this project it’s been really nice to pare back the models and shoot them as real people on their beds and in pyjamas. It’s been great to take away the glamour associated with fashion photography.
If you could shoot anyone tomorrow who would it be and why?
I never know the answer to this question. It might sound weird but if I fall in love with someone I have to keep shooting him or her. Miles Langford at Elite for example – I’ve shot him so many times and I would shoot him tomorrow and the next day and the next. I tend to have to meet people and shoot them first to really crave to shoot them again.
Who are your main photographic influences?
I have always loved Hedi Slimane, specifically his shots out of the studio. His stuff is always so beautiful and he just seems to document life and people really well. It’s the heart of his images that I really love, so even though the finish of his work is very different to mine he manages to always capture something remarkably special about his subject.
Words: Esme Anderson
Images: Georgie Wileman