Sheffield Photographer Laura Page
Can you believe it, we’ve never featured a photographer, and we love photography.
So to correct the glaring gap in our fellow creative feature may we present to you Sheffield Photographer Laura Page.
Laura works on a wide range of subject matter, capturing the beauty and intimacy of every day life… Photography that really makes you stop and think.
Volta: What did you do before you did what you do now?
Laura: Papergirl, fairground worker, really crap telesales jobs, bar work, stuffing envelopes, cleaning, child-minding, collecting information for the Census.
Followed by working in Spain in bars, selling beer and spring rolls in the park, entertaining kids.
Followed by working for a community development organisation and facilitating creative workshops with marginalised young people and running a local magazine.
Followed by four years training with a newspaper as a news photographer.
For the past eight or nine years I have worked as a freelance photographer, artist, photojournalist, writer and facilitating community art workshops. I’m sticking with that!
Volta: Who or what inspired you to do what you do?
Laura: I had a really basic, cheapo film camera when I was about seven-years-old. I loved it. I went to photograph the tall ships in Liverpool. I waited excitedly for the day the prints came through the post. There I had it – 24 near-identical pictures. A grey sky on the top half, an ever-so-slightly darker grey sea on the bottom half and a few little specks on the horizon where the greys met. I was disappointed but knew I’d learned something and was going to try again.
Years later I had a film SLR. My new friend at university knew how to use a darkroom and took me to show me around the one at the students’ union. On the way I finished my film taking a picture of Crookes Valley Park. Less than an hour later there was my picture of the park appearing on a piece of paper in a tray of chemicals in a dimly lit room. Actual magic. I was hooked for life (thanks Dave Remnant!).
Volta: Were you self taught or have you had formal training?
Laura: I’ve had formal training in photography – I did a two year course in Professional Photography and the NCTJ course in Photojournalism at Norton College and all of the NCE exams. I did A’ Level Art and Design but my degree is in Philosophy so the artistic side is more self-taught. I’m still learning all the time on the job.
Volta: If you’re not originally from Sheffield, why did you decide to settle here?
Laura: I’m originally from Liverpool. I really love Liverpool but moved to Sheffield for university 23 years ago. I’ve moved away twice but always come back. I’ve settled here because I love my friends here and have family here now. It’s down-to-earth, creative, relaxed, friendly, near the countryside, lots going on once you dig under the surface. It might be the UK’s best kept secret.
Volta: What influence has living in Sheffield had on your creativity and how you approach your work?
Laura: I think both the art and news worlds can be very competitive and flighty and it would sometimes be easy to think you have to do things you don’t think are right to get to where you want to be. I think people in Sheffield are generally very unimpressed with showiness or things lacking in integrity so belonging to that culture helps you to concentrate on what you want to do creatively and not what you think you should be doing according to other people. There is a strong and supportive creative community where people like to help and learn from each other in Sheffield and I think that is reflected in the work people produce and hopefully in the work I make.
Volta: If you could choose a famous person to own one of your pieces of work, who would it be?
Laura: Sebastiao Salgado.
Volta: What piece of your own work gives you the most satisfaction and why?
Laura: A collage I made when I lived in Barcelona of a man jumping over some hills. It makes me smile when I look at it and takes me straight back to the day I made it. I remember the feeling of the paper that day, absorbing the reds and golds, looking out over the sea from where I was working, the smells and how I felt. I don’t know why it has stuck in my memory so strongly but it has.
Volta: Do other areas of creativity, such as music, have any influence on your work?
Laura: Definitely. I try not to be too influenced by other people’s photography, other than being inspired by it, as I don’t want to just try to reproduce what someone else has done. I’m more influenced by a million and one things around me every day like music, movement, debates, stories – they all feed into my feelings, thoughts and mood and have an effect on what I want to make and how I make it.
Volta: What is your favourite thing about Sheffield?
Laura: The people.
Volta: What advice would you give an aspiring fellow creative who was wanting to break through to the next level (whatever that may be)?
Laura: Enjoy what you’re doing, experiment, be yourself. Speak up for yourself and for others.
Sheffield Photographer Laura Page
Want to find out a little more about Sheffield Photographer Laura Page and her work?
Here are links to Laura’s website and social media channels – enjoy!
View our previous Fellow Sheffield Creatives