Wendy Bevan


Written by James Read
15 Friday 15th January 2010

Wendy Bevan is a fashion photographer. She doesn't use £2K Canon DSLRs and arrays of flashguns. She shoots on good old Polaroid, and styles in shades of circus-burlesque. Kind of a paradox, since fashion is all about bleeding edge newness, and all of her photos look like they've been stored in an attic for sixty years. Somehow though, it works, and it's wonderful - her CV includes shoots for  Russian Vogue, Italian Marie Claire, The Independent, The Observer, Nylon, V Magazine, Qvest, POP Magazine, i-D and more. Eish!

Tell me about your equipment. You shoot a lot on Polaroid, right? What's the attraction?
I have a really simple set up, and most of the time use natural light. I don't believe in overloading shoots with unnecessary equipment. The beauty is there already, and my job as a photographer is to find it and capture it within an image. That doesn't necessarily mean more equipment is needed.

I love the magic of the Polaroid, and the instant beauty that I am able capture within each sheet of film is unique every time. It allows me to work freely and express the most intricate of details subtly. Indeed I have an affection for the format. It is wonderful. The properties of the film naturally evoke the feeling of nostalgia, through its dream-like qualities.


And they've just announched the Polaroid factory is going to be reopened! Hoorah! What else is going to be IMPORTANT in 2009?

World peace!

One item of clothing to erase from history and another to cherish please.

I'm surprised that flourescent Lycra has become a trend again. It was wrong the first time round - surely we realised then? The corset should always be treasured, and heels.


Rate the following in order of importance: model, setting, pose, styling.

This is difficult! A great shoot is the combination of all of these things being perfect, and a fantastic team. But, I'd say A) Setting B) Styling C) Model D) Pose.


What's been your most interesting/weird/innovative shoot, assignment or collaboration?

In the early days when I first started shooting, I think I was probably a bit more experimental. I used to dress models in very abstract creations that I had made, and then photograph them. There is always a sense of chaos behind the scenes, which I couldn't work with out! Every collaboration turns out to be interesting and different from the last.


What are you working on at the moment?

Several projects. I am going away on a trip soon to Key West, shooting for Italian Marie Claire, which I am really excited about. The shoot is based on 50's pinup imagery.

Cool! Anything else?

I'm also starting to integrate theatre into my work, and have started working with a theatre director Rachel Snider, who created the  Rififi theatre company and conceptual/performance artist Charlotte Jarvis for a commission for White Mischief, in March.

Also, I have ongoing projects with Ian Bruce, a portrait painter whom I collaborated with last year, and intend to continue this relationship throughout 2009 and beyond.

Finally I am constantly working on personal projects that combine everything that I am involved in - photography, music, burlesque etc. This year I would love to produce a book of works so far, and also work on a second solo show. I have a small exhibition in May 2009 at the Macondo cafes in London. I also have a gallery in Paris that now looks after some of my work (www.wantedparis.com), as of early this year.

See www.wendybevan.com for more.

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