Lena Owen | On 02, Aug 2017
Bonnie Jenkins is a Sunshine Coast based photographer and visual artist. Bonnie shares her journey with The Creative Issue prior to her involvement with the Maroochy Music and Visual Arts Festival 2017 in August.
The Creative Issue: Has photography been an interest of yours from an early age?
Bonnie Jenkins: During high school and as a child I was more interested in painting, drawing and sculpture; it wasn’t until towards the end of high school I developed an interest in photography.
TCI: You have studied photography and visual art at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. How do you find structured study to have changed your approach to your practice?
BJ: I struggled a bit during my bachelor and masters as it was very conceptually based and I hadn’t quite developed my voice yet. I tried to force myself into a more conceptual approach, which in turn made my work less genuine, and I got a bit lost in the process. One main thing I have learnt from this is to be more confident in my own work and to not put myself into a category as such; along the way I have really developed my practice and also realized the driving force and concept behind my work.
TCI: What aspects of the medium are most overlooked?
BJ: Unfortunately I believe that since digital photography has taken over people no longer look at a photograph with the wonder of ‘how has that been captured’, instead post processing is often assumed. While photography has always been able to be manipulated we always used to believe what we saw, now we question this a lot more. For me I was drawn to photography for its ability to expose the wonder around us by freezing and slowing time, depth of field and so forth, drawing our attention to things just outside our peripheral vision. While this wonder is still there for me, as I get to witness it in the process of taking the photos, I often have to explain how images have been taken in order for the viewer to believe it has been created in camera as opposed to manipulated in post processing.
TCI: Your photography portfolio transverses portraiture, landscape and travel. Do you have a favourite?
BJ: Hmmm I can’t answer that one it’s too hard. I really love traveling and taking landscape images, but it’s the portraiture that often allows me to travel so they go hand in hand. I love the story you can tell when a person is in the frame but I also really love exploring nature… sorry too hard to answer.
TCI: You’ve recently done some photography in Iceland. What’s your next landscape photography destination?
BJ: I just returned from a trip to the USA, which included a road trip in California so I got to see Yosemite National Park, which has been on my bucket list for a long time. I also did some shoots in NYC, which was crazy and fun. I shoot a lot in New Zealand and its beauty just astounds me.
TCI: Your photography exhibit The Secret Garden drew inspiration from the beauty in your back yard. Are you currently planning another exhibition?
BJ: Soon I hope… I need to work on that!
TCI: Have there been any unexpected challenges or surprises from your shift to full-time photographer/visual artist?
BJ: I find the social media element hard to keep up with but I also find it fun. It has taken me sometime to get to a client base and branding/style that I am really happy with.
TCI: Being from the Sunshine Coast, the Maroochy Music and Visual Arts Festival is close to home for you. Have you been involved or attended in previous years?
BJ: No unfortunately, I have always wanted to go but had other commitments so I am really excited to not only attend but to be a part of it this year.
TCI: What do you have in store for the festival this year?
BJ: I will be creating a short video, which will be projected. It will feature abstract footage of spiders and their webs. It is part of my continuing ‘Secret Garden’ series.
The Secret Garden recalls my childhood fascinations with my natural surrounds, where my imagination in the fantastical and our multi-faceted environment ran wild. To convey this vision, I photograph in my garden, breaking down the familiarity veil and re-inciting my imagination within my everyday surrounds. We often get so excited by the new and exotic, that we forget to appreciate the beauty right in front of us.
I draw inspiration from the peripheral visions of the everyday and the combination of nature and the lens. Photography represents reality yet simultaneously has the ability to unsettle this visual ‘reality’. Collaboration with nature is vital to my work, so the fact that the majority of effects are created in-camera is intrinsic to the work. It’s all about appreciating the very real environment we live in and the magic of the optical instrument at capturing these elements in a unique but very real way.
The spider’s series begun after deciding to take notice of the common web at my front step, which with the aid of a macro lens, angles and sunlight, revealed its rainbow and reflective qualities. From this moment I have found the intricate details, temporal and colourful qualities of spider webs to be an endless source of inspiration.
When: Saturday 26 August, 2017 from 10am to 10:30pm
Where: The Old Horton Park Golf Course, Maroochydore
More Info: Event page online