There was another version of this article. It was drafted a few weeks prior…it will never see the light of day. The first version of this article was darker in tone, perhaps slightly pessimistic about our collective future and it channelled the cynical sentiment hovering toxically around the globe. In summary, it was a heat-seeking missile with no direction.
But here's the thing, you can always throw in a plot twist - you can start a new chapter, paragraph or sentence (…or you know, a new article!) whenever you want. We can reflect on and respect the feelings of yesterday, and then decide to be more conscientious and compassionate with the words and actions we welcome into our future. Like the saying goes, the past should be a place of reference, not residence.
With that in mind, this month, we take a peek through the lens of Felicity McCabe who was commissioned by Claire Rees to help celebrate and capture this year’s BAFTA Breakthrough Brits. Thinking about the performing arts and moments of drama, Felicity wanted to create little nuggets of spectacle that drew on theatrics and performance but also had a 'behind the curtain' feel to them. A romance similar to those old photographs of Marlene Dietrich lounging on a film lot, but also a modern edge, befitting the new blood of these sitters.
Felicity worked with stylist Victoria Twyman to bring the series to life within the tight time constraints. Great bundles of fabrics were gathered. Furniture and props were strategically spread around the set to enable the duo to work freely and quickly. Viewing the series, one can imagine all of the ingredients laid out on stage – apple boxes, chairs, gels, a pastel wardrobe and c-stands – all patiently waiting for the magic to erupt. And then fuelled by the buzz of a new generation of BAFTA Breakthrough Brits, the behind-the-scenes choreography bursts to life, the waltz of the photographer and the stylist turning their pre-production plans into reality.
BAFTA is to be commended on their mission to showcase and support the next generation of creative talent in film, TV and games. The programme nurtures and highlights the importance of a broad spectrum of roles, all which play a crucial part in creating the memorable pieces of art that we at the other end of our screens devour. In addition to writers, actors and directors, BAFTA also featured Luke Hull, a production designer who created a life-sized pipe maze from scratch. Lesleyann White, a principle quality analyst who proves that QA can be an awesomely creative role - especially if you happen to be into your gaming. And Coco Jackson, a producer who is the calm voice of reason and wisdom… which is no small feat when you’re on the set of reality television.
Felicity, who was selected by Adam & Eve/DDB to work on the SheTakesOver campaign this year, used clothes and props as a way to give us mini insights into the individuals captured for BAFTA. She used the time and location restraints imposed upon her as an opportunity to creatively flex, and this has resulted in the visually engaging series we see here. For instance, the image of Kirstie Swain wearing a script as a hat simply oozes with whimsy and Kirstie’s facial expression is like the cherry on top - it’s hard not to smile at the creative childlike playfulness of the photo.
Then there’s Kayleigh Llewellyn, the writer of In My Skin - a series that draws on her personal experience of coping with her mother's mental health issues. She is photographed bravely peeking out through the safety of her cosy puffy cream coat. The coat may very well be a metaphor for humour, Kayleigh's weapon of choice when it comes to telling dark personal tales, of which she has many.
Also, shadows play a supporting role in the series. On occasion, they are harsh, yet at the same time, the photographer manages to retain a feeling of softness in the work. The series draws you in and leaves you wanting to uncover more about the sitters and their stories. And yes, although there may be shadows lurking around the industry… some historical and some, unfortunately, still very much in our present tense, they’re cleverly employed to add an extra dimension to the images. Felicity has given us a peek into the metaphorical dressing rooms of some of the characters who will be challenging and shaping the future of entertainment.
Learn more about this year’s BAFA Breakthrough Brits: http://www.bafta.org/supporting- talent/breakthrough-brits/breakthrough-brits-2019