When I first presented the initial shot for 'I Want to be Just Like You' (consequently unpublished) I was told by my tutors at LCC that the work was exploitative and that it reminded them of the murdered child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey. I was warned not to continue the project. I was also told that it reminded them of the work by photographer Anna Gaskell. I made a point of not looking at too many photographers during my degree for fear of the institution and my peers claiming unoriginality. Unfortunately this is hard to avoid in the art world as most things have been done to some extent, but in an effort to avoid I never looked at Gaskell's work.
I was recently in Washington DC watching TV and a GAP advert came on. Gaskell was sat on a bar stool, discussing the unpredictability of creating and capuring an image, whilst wearing GAP jeans, there was neither sight nor sound of her work in the advert.
Having never seen her work before or after creating my graduate project I was curious to see what was so special about this photographer....
The following images are my favourite,
Gaskell is approaching some of the same themes in her work as I do. I admire the way she makes the highly staged element of her work, organic and less constructed. She isn't afraid to close crop or to accentuate the sexuality of her subjects. There is a sinister, eerie aura which shifts between still and paniced. Alice in Wonderland is obviously a favourite for photographers commenting on childhood and it is in itself a very strange story that hovers somewhere between childhood and adulthood. I applaud Gaskell for creating a very successful series on such a popular story. But I am still now sure why she appears in a GAP Jeans advert, recession maybe?