Courtney Jane vs Love Letters | The Immersed Female

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Love Letters interviewing Courtney Jane on ‘The Immersed Female’ for Cool Perth Nights

Courtney Jane is a Fremantle based artist and photographer who is known for documenting her and her friends lives through her film photography. Courtney’s photographs are often raw, candid shots which paint life in the creative port town in all its delicious glory.

When Courtney approached us to help throw her first solo exhibition, we jumped at the chance to throw a party in celebration of her latest series and to allow everyone to see her beautiful new work. The exhibition titled ‘The Immersed Female’ takes place one night only at Mojo’s Bar, with acoustic sets from Racoo Charles and the Moke Folk, Gemini Talk, Fraeya, Georgia Faith and Pulse Valley.

The entire series is of friends in Courtney’s outdoor bathtub, directly exploring the female form and identity, with each subject choosing an object that represents them to be present in the photographs.

We spoke to Courtney ahead of the exhibition to chat her creative journey, love of film photography and more about The Immersed Female:

Love Letters: When did you start taking photographs and how has your photography evolved over the years?

Courtney: I have always been obsessed with cameras from a young age. It probably began in high school when I chose to reject the higher education system and the pressure of others for me to conform and let go of my creative side. Instead I decided to study cooking, art, woodwork, photography and all that jazz. From memory I had a digital camera that lived in my pencil case which I used to take photos of everything during and after class. I’m pretty sure I got it taken off me at one point.

Eventually my interest faded in and out when Iphone’s became all the rage and digital photography lost its originality or uniqueness. That changed when I met a girl at a party one night who took a photo of me on a disposable camera, this was the moment I fell down the rabbit-hole of 35mm photography. I started using disposables half way through 2014 and after about a couple of months I decided to get my first real film camera, a canon eos 500n, which was just the start of my collection which sadly got stolen earlier this year. I had around 40 different types of 35mm/120 cameras.

I have always felt that photography is about capturing the moment, never posed or predetermined. I feel like that’s the way I have always shot. I have always been and will always be the person at events or everyday life, taking sneaky photos of my friends before they can even acknowledge my presence. I guess the only difference in my style has been that I’ve improved with practice and been able to refine my skills.

Which photographers do you admire?

Well I don’t particularly admire any photographers I guess I thrive off the creative people around me who also shoot 35mm or just take magical photos in general. I grew up with a parent who didn’t accept my creative spark so I started to doubt myself for a while, but when I started meeting people who understood photography in the same way as I saw it, I guess it just motivated me to continue with what I felt so passionate about.

In saying that, a couple of years ago I did watch a documentary called Finding Vivian Maier, which is about this super mysterious nanny, who managed to secretly take over 100,000 photographs and had them hidden in storage her whole life. They were discovered decades later at a house auction by a random guy who later went on to find her whole collection and get them into exhibitions all over the world. She took amazingly beautiful photos of herself and of those around her, I guess I was really touched and amazed by her work.

Your latest series The Immersed Female is the first youve exhibited right? Can you tell us about the initial idea behind the project and how it was progressed?

This will actually be my second exhibition, I was part of a group exhibit called A Stray Alien a couple of years back at the Moores building in Fremantle which was up for a whole month and featured 40 local artists. But I’ve never done anything on my own before and I hadn’t yet thought of doing a series of photos for a particular reason. When I moved into my current house I was introduced to the outdoor bath and as soon as I saw it I knew something had to be done there as it was such an amazing space. Since I wasn’t working or studying due to a hand injury I had a lot of time to get creative so I just made an event with a heap of my friends telling them my idea and asking if they wanted to get involved and now we’re here, a week before the exhibition.

What made you want to share these photographs and create your first exhibition?

I’m very lucky to have a lot of amazing creative friends around me who continuously give me support and motivate me with my photography. I guess after taking photos for so long, and never really doing anything with them (besides Instagram), I chose to try with an exhibition and see how it would go.

Watching the Immersed Female series come to life has been truly enjoyable and beautiful, I’m super excited to see how others interpret my images and I hope it brings nothing but happiness to their faces as it did to mine.

The series is all shot on film, and the rest of your work in general. What draws you to this medium?

I think there’s something super magical about the whole process of shooting with film.

I’m not really sure what it is exactly that draws me to film, but I feel that it really does capture moments, in a completely different way to digital photography. I love that you only have those couple of shots to take that magical picture and even once you’ve taken it you can’t go and look back at it on a camera, you don’t know how it’s going to turn out until you get them developed.

What can people expect from the gig and exhibition next Wednesday 21st March at Mojos?

Well hopefully nothing but magic, I’m going for a super comfy Mojo’s vibe this time round more of a bring a cushion/blanket and enjoy the amazing acoustic artists. However as this is my first personal exhibition, I’m not really sure what to expect myself. But I hope people come with open hearts and take the time to view and understand these images, and hopefully appreciate the time and effort that went into the making of this series. Also that people feel comfortable to come and talk to me on the night for any question they may have, I’m very nice.

Catch Courtney’s exhibition The Immersed Female presented by Love Letters, Wednesday 21st March with live sets from Racoo Charles and the Moke Folk, Gemini Talk, Fraeya, Georgia Faith and Pulse Valley. $10 entry from 7

Andrew Ryan