In Conversation With Scott Charlesworth
Next up in our series of conversations we have photographer Scott Charlesworth. Residing in the North West of England, Scott's work has massively inspired us here at The Balti Club. Having worked with some of the biggest players in the creative scene such as Crack Magazine and LAW, we were absolutely thrilled to catch up with Scott and find out more about his impressive body of work.
The Balti Club: Starting right back at the beginning, how did you initially get into photography?
Scott: As a kid I was always drawn to the camera during family holidays. I guess because I was never that good at drawing, the camera provided me with the tools to show others what I wanted them to see. I took photography as a sit off at college but it soon became the only reason I actually showed up at all. I was drawn to the technical aspect, using the camera more as a measuring instrument than an art form.
It helped me slow down and appreciate things that I wouldn’t normally notice.
The Balti Club: You studied a BA Hons in Photography at University. How much of an impact did the course have on your work?
Scott: I would say the company that I kept was much more influential on my work than university itself. I was creating lifestyle imagery for the most of my first year and it took me a while to get over what I thought was avant-gardism being fed through the hierarchical education system. It felt like I was always fighting with my own ideas just to fit within the set parameters of the course.
Seeing the work of my peers, of whom I admired, created a competitive environment in which we all wanted to see each other reach our potential, and most importantly to create work.
The Balti Club: As I understand, you spent a number of months working for LAW Mag, could you tell us a little bit about your time with the guys?
Scott: They gave a guest lecture at our university and created an indescribable atmosphere within the room. Having struggled to associate with the pretentious imagery I was being told mattered at university, LAW was the breath of fresh air that changed my ideas on what photography could be. I spent the next week creating my CV in the style of their contents page, in hope that it would convey how much I wanted to simply play a part in their publication. I still remember the feeling I experienced when I got the acceptance email back.
I ended up staying in London as an intern for seven months. Some people say never meet your idols but I’m thankful to say I did. They went out of their way to reciprocate the dedication that I had shown, allowing me to work and actively contribute on a number of high profile briefs with the likes of Adidas, Carhartt and Fila.
The solid concrete circle of creatives that they have built is a testament to their abilities and what they stand for. They have this humbling effect and I can honestly say it was one of my best experiences to date. I joined London as a stranger and left feeling like family.
The Balti Club: What would you say inspires your work?
Scott: My time at LAW definitely inspired me to tell stories that were close to me, regardless of how fitting they are to a mass audience.
Although I don’t read as much as I’d like, I have a great appreciation for words in both their phonetic and suggestive abilities. I often create sentences or play on words for my titles which give insight into what I’m trying to convey. I find photography quite restricting at times but words help me escape that.
My hometown is another big inspiration for me; be it the landmarks that paint the M62 motorway which I routinely travel, the eight cooling towers that direct me home, or even the streets that me and my friends would parade on weekends after dark. I’m always constantly looking from a detached perspective at my surroundings, almost in a highly romanticised and novelistic fashion; a visual poetry, if you like.
The Balti Club: Having worked with big names in the industry such as LAW & Crack Magazine, with regards to photography, what would you say your most notable assignment to date has been?
Scott: I’m taken aback by what I’ve achieved since graduating. Dean Davies hooked me up with the Crack Magazine x Stone Island project so I’m eternally grateful to him for supporting a local lad. Being able to shoot some of the best talent Manchester has to offer with one of my favourite brands was surreal. I was flapping it when scouting for locations but once I started shooting my instincts just took over.
Seeing my name in print for the first time was also definitely one of my most humbling moments. I’d made publications at university and I had always enjoyed the anticipation of the final print but the sentimental value of LAW 9 eclipsed those before. It was the building block which gave me the confidence to go and further my work, serving as a memento of what can be achieved if you really work for it. Without that initial spark of energy, I doubt I would’ve continued making work past university.
The Balti Club: Looking through all of your personal work I was immediately drawn in by ‘95 Mag’.Could you tell us a little bit about this body of work?
Scott: 95 Mag by definition is The Tales & Tangibles of Times Gone By. It serves as a sceptic yet nostalgic scope on the 1995 generation and the experiences that people of that age group have shared. The pages act as a timeline from childhood innocence to teenage misdemeanours, and the technologies that have grown with us.I created this one off publication as an attempt to solidify a supposed lost generation, and to celebrate the diversity that helps push the social boundaries placed upon us
The Balti Club: As we look onwards into 2018, have you any series or plans that you are working on in relation to photography?
Scott: I’m currently working on a response to the recent North: Identity, Photography, Fashion exhibition in collaboration with The Open Eye Gallery and a number of local youth groups.
Since moving back to the North for my MSc, the details that I once overlooked because of their daily routine appearances are no longer mundane. The cracks in the pavement have pulled further apart, the steam from the cooling towers climbs higher than ever before.
I often feel owing to my family, both those with me now and those who originally came to a small industrial town, in order to graft a living under polluted skies. It is my intention to create a publication or photo-book that depicts this sense of instilled belonging that is responsible for who I am today.
For more of Scotts work check out the links below:
Website: Scott Charlesworth Photography
Scott's Instagram: @scottcharley