The magical alchemy of analogue and archive photography

The magical alchemy of analogue and archive photography

Millie is a fine art photographer, who studied at Falmouth and is now based in Brisbane. Her work is so thoughtful and refined, and Frizz is so excited and honoured that she’s not only shared it with us, but has also spoken to us about the ideas and processes behind them. Millie mainly uses film photography to express her ideas, and loves to explore a multitude of wonderful links between fact and fiction by incorporating archive images. We’re obsessed with the textures and depths to her work. Scroll down to have a look at a selection of her work, and find out more about what sparks her inspiration and the magic that comes from building narratives through analogue and archive imagery.

Why film?

From start to finish the alchemy of analogue is magical, and it is a very physical process.  I enjoy photographing using expired negatives and I often soak rolls in chemicals like lemon juice and bleach. I am interested in how changing the conditions of the negative will alter its surface materiality, and how this can lead to images with kaleidoscopic skies and hovering entities, and challenge our ideas on truth and the false.

About 6 years ago I was gifted a Box Brownie and inside was a roll of exposed film. This roll sat in my fridge for the following 5 years until I finally gained enough interest to develop it, which I am so glad I did as it turned out to be from the 1950s. Every image appeared as clear as day, and it was at this moment that something in me sparked and I wanted to see how far I could push the boundaries of analogue. 

Dream artist to collaborate with?

This is a tricky question, although I think it would have to be Alexandra Lethbridge. If you are not familiar with her practice I suggest you check out her series Meteorite Hunter, however all of her projects are as fascinating as the next. For Meteorite Hunter, Lethbridge combines images sourced from Ebay and NASA’s archives with photos of rocks from gift stores to visually explore the extraordinary. 

 Lethbridge’s way of seeing the world is so fresh as she explores the boundary between fact and fiction, and her method of exhibiting leads us on a journey to find the whimsical within the everyday. Yeah, I definitely dream of collaborating with Lethbridge! Take a look at her work, take time out to read an interview, and then you’ll know.

Where do you go to get inspiration?

My favourite places to go for inspiration are Instagram and exhibitions. Instagram is a great network for finding and talking to other creatives, and it also has a feature to find and archive posts into different categories. I use this feature often to collect inspiration, however Instagram can never replicate the intimacy of an exhibition space, or a photobook.

 An exhibition space is fab for just unwinding and getting yourself wrapped up in another dimension. I enjoy looking at how images are printed and fixed in their place; whether its pins, bulldog clips, or left hanging, these details can make the image, and were heavily imprinted on me while at uni. A screen can never truly display a paper’s textual qualities.

What influences your work?

My main influences come from materials themselves. In a previous project Altar Modern, I explored the use of concrete in rebuilding churches post WW2 and iconography from Italian Renaissance artworks. At first glance the use of such a cheap material seems offensive to God, however over time concrete has developed its own aesthetic appeal and its properties have proven to create calm places of worship.

Recently I have developed a larger interest in photographic archives. Last year a relative was selling her house, and as I was helping empty the attic we came across three photo albums that are completely unrelated to our family. The pages of the albums were stuck together from mould growth, and some images were completely indistinguishable from their original states and looked almost hallucinogenic.

 These moments of serendipity where images find their way to me, like with the film from the 1950s that I mentioned earlier, is what influences my interests and work most. 


Favourite photo you’ve taken?


I think it would have to be this one I took of my friend when we were having a barbeque a few summers ago. It was completely candid and at the time not intended for any project, however after stumbling across it on a hard drive it became the core of my degree project Order from chaos is common. It plays with perception and I think that’s why it’s my favourite. 

See more of Millie’s work via her website here, and follow her on Instagram here.

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