Image by Lottie Davies.

Meet Lottie: photographer, adventurer, storyteller. Her image, ‘Quinn’, is one in an ongoing series that Lottie’s shooting around Britain, one season at a time. As a photographer, writer, and once-upon-a-time oil painter, she’s well-versed in the cycle of frantic plans and hibernation, rolling with the unexpected, and planning ahead without being wed to a plan to what she thought would happen. Her work tells stories—sometimes objective, sometimes fictitious, always authentic—and she knows that, sometimes, the best images are unplanned. Read on to meet Lottie and learn more about patience, determination, and how using a camera is like driving a car.

Meet Lottie

LAB: Could you tell us about your winning work (Quinn)? What inspired the concept behind this work, and what was the most challenging part of the process?

LD: Quinn began almost three years ago now and grew from my imagining a young man walking the length of Britain in the late 1940s. It’s not yet finished – there is one more shoot to go (in the next few weeks), then a final edit and writing the narrative text. The most challenging part of the process is keeping the energy going between the highs of the shoots – I have to wait for the seasons to change in between each shoot so I can properly follow Quinn’s journey. I go through periods of frantic planning, driving long distances and shooting, and then weeks of hiatus. It’s been an interesting process and I’m looking forward to pulling it all together later this year.

LAB: How do you tell a story behind the lens? Do you prefer careful planning or do stories find you as you shoot?

LD: For my fine art work, I do a lot of planning, sometimes to the extent that I know exactly the image I want to make well in advance—but that said, sometimes that changes on the day, if Sam (who plays Quinn) moves in a certain way, or the weather does something unexpected or interesting. “Quinn in Fog” is a case in point actually— I shot it in the Yorkshire Dales, which I had recced the day before, walking all day to find good spots. It blazed with sunshine, but the day of the shoot was rainy and then foggy, so of course everything looked totally different. We shot in my prepared locations, but the shot I like best from that day happened as we walked back to the car. Sam happened to walk ahead of me carrying Quinn’s suitcase. For my editorial and travel work, I try to be prepared by knowing where the sun rises and sets, but mostly it can’t be planned so I just try to keep my eyes open to images as they happen. I employ very different approaches to different styles of work.

LAB: What advice would you give to an emerging photographer – both practically and personally?

LD: Practical: Learn your kit so that you don’t have to think about how to make it work for you. It’s like driving a car—it’s not about how to make the car move, but where you want to go. Also, learn to drive a car. It’s not as ecologically friendly as public transport, but you’ll probably need to get places that aren’t served by a bus route. Personally: If you are sure you want to be a photographer, give it your entire attention for the first few years of your career. Make it your obsession. You can relax once you’re a bit established. But if you’re not sure you want to be a photographer, do something else now—it’s too hard to waste time and energy pursuing it if you’re not sure.

LAB: Has photography always been your preferred medium? Why or why not? How have your non-photography creative experiences influenced your photos now?

LD: I wrote before I took photographs, and I’ve always said that I take photographs because I can’t paint. So in some ways, photography became my creative outlet in place of paint (I had a dreadful art teacher at school who put me off for life, although maybe one day I’ll give it a go, I do love a slab of oil paint and a palette knife). I find that I’m influenced by all kinds of creative spaces: cinema, literature, theatre, sculpture, painting—it’s all a rich source of colour and character. Personally, my undergraduate studies in literature and philosophy continue to influence my work and my thinking, and with Quinn I will be returning to my love of words in an attempt to integrate my rather rusty creative writing with my photographic images.

LAB: What’s one thing you’ve never done before (but would like to try)? Explain.

LD: I’d like to go to Alaska one day; I love the remote.

LAB: Is there a difference between journalism and storytelling? How do you approach each as a creative?

LD: In my opinion, journalism is trying to tell a true story with objectivity, whereas storytelling is trying to tell a story, whether true or fictitious, with authenticity.  I write both, and I have a different “head” for each, but in both I try to be honest and to do the story and its characters justice, whatever that would mean for each.

LAB: What is your favourite book and/or literary character? Why?

LD: Too many to choose a favourite! Anything by Paul Auster or Marilynne Robinson, or Steinbeck. If pushed I would probably have to say “East of Eden,” which I first read around the age of 12, which was far too young—and Cathy, who is the most vivid and horrifying character I have ever read. By favourite, I mean most striking, not the character I would most like to spend time with—that would probably have to be Pippi Longstocking.

LAB: What’s on your horizon – what are you most looking forward to (in the near future or far, far away)?

LD: Heading to the far north of Scotland to see Quinn on his way, and then dusting off my creative writing pens once the shooting phase is done.

LAB: What’s on your horizon – what are you most looking forward to (in the near future or far, far away)?

LD: Heading to the far north of Scotland to see Quinn on his way, and then dusting off my creative writing pens once the shooting phase is done.

Meet Lottie: photographer, adventurer, storyteller. She’s one of four winners in our latest Meet Series—her winning image (Quinn) is one in an ongoing series that Lottie’s shooting around Britain, one season at a time. As a photographer, writer, and once-upon-a-time oil painter, she’s well-versed in the cycle of frantic plans and hibernation, rolling with the unexpected, and planning ahead without being wed to a plan to what she thought would happen. Her work tells stories—sometimes objective, sometimes fictitious, always authentic—and she knows that, sometimes, the best images are unplanned. Read on to meet Lottie and learn more about patience, determination, and how using a camera is like driving a car.

Meet Lottie

LAB: What’s one thing you’ve never done before (but would like to try)? Explain.

LD: I’d like to go to Alaska one day; I love the remote.

LAB: Is there a difference between journalism and storytelling? How do you approach each as a creative?

LD: In my opinion, journalism is trying to tell a true story with objectivity, whereas storytelling is trying to tell a story, whether true or fictitious, with authenticity.  I write both, and I have a different “head” for each, but in both I try to be honest and to do the story and its characters justice, whatever that would mean for each.

LAB: Could you tell us about your winning work (Quinn)? What inspired the concept behind this work, and what was the most challenging part of the process?

LD: Quinn began almost three years ago now and grew from my imagining a young man walking the length of Britain in the late 1940s. It’s not yet finished – there is one more shoot to go (in the next few weeks), then a final edit and writing the narrative text. The most challenging part of the process is keeping the energy going between the highs of the shoots – I have to wait for the seasons to change in between each shoot so I can properly follow Quinn’s journey. I go through periods of frantic planning, driving long distances and shooting, and then weeks of hiatus. It’s been an interesting process and I’m looking forward to pulling it all together later this year.

LAB: How do you tell a story behind the lens? Do you prefer careful planning or do stories find you as you shoot?

LD: For my fine art work, I do a lot of planning, sometimes to the extent that I know exactly the image I want to make well in advance—but that said, sometimes that changes on the day, if Sam (who plays Quinn) moves in a certain way, or the weather does something unexpected or interesting. “Quinn in Fog” is a case in point actually— I shot it in the Yorkshire Dales, which I had recced the day before, walking all day to find good spots. It blazed with sunshine, but the day of the shoot was rainy and then foggy, so of course everything looked totally different. We shot in my prepared locations, but the shot I like best from that day happened as we walked back to the car. Sam happened to walk ahead of me carrying Quinn’s suitcase. For my editorial and travel work, I try to be prepared by knowing where the sun rises and sets, but mostly it can’t be planned so I just try to keep my eyes open to images as they happen. I employ very different approaches to different styles of work.

LAB: What advice would you give to an emerging photographer – both practically and personally?

LD: Practical: Learn your kit so that you don’t have to think about how to make it work for you. It’s like driving a car—it’s not about how to make the car move, but where you want to go. Also, learn to drive a car. It’s not as ecologically friendly as public transport, but you’ll probably need to get places that aren’t served by a bus route. Personally: If you are sure you want to be a photographer, give it your entire attention for the first few years of your career. Make it your obsession. You can relax once you’re a bit established. But if you’re not sure you want to be a photographer, do something else now—it’s too hard to waste time and energy pursuing it if you’re not sure.

LAB: Has photography always been your preferred medium? Why or why not? How have your non-photography creative experiences influenced your photos now?

LD: I wrote before I took photographs, and I’ve always said that I take photographs because I can’t paint. So in some ways, photography became my creative outlet in place of paint (I had a dreadful art teacher at school who put me off for life, although maybe one day I’ll give it a go, I do love a slab of oil paint and a palette knife). I find that I’m influenced by all kinds of creative spaces: cinema, literature, theatre, sculpture, painting—it’s all a rich source of colour and character. Personally, my undergraduate studies in literature and philosophy continue to influence my work and my thinking, and with Quinn I will be returning to my love of words in an attempt to integrate my rather rusty creative writing with my photographic images.

LAB: What’s one thing you’ve never done before (but would like to try)? Explain.

LD: I’d like to go to Alaska one day; I love the remote.

LAB: Is there a difference between journalism and storytelling? How do you approach each as a creative?

LD: In my opinion, journalism is trying to tell a true story with objectivity, whereas storytelling is trying to tell a story, whether true or fictitious, with authenticity.  I write both, and I have a different “head” for each, but in both I try to be honest and to do the story and its characters justice, whatever that would mean for each.

LAB: What is your favourite book and/or literary character? Why?

LD: Too many to choose a favourite! Anything by Paul Auster or Marilynne Robinson, or Steinbeck. If pushed I would probably have to say “East of Eden,” which I first read around the age of 12, which was far too young—and Cathy, who is the most vivid and horrifying character I have ever read. By favourite, I mean most striking, not the character I would most like to spend time with—that would probably have to be Pippi Longstocking.

LAB: What’s on your horizon – what are you most looking forward to (in the near future or far, far away)?

LD: Heading to the far north of Scotland to see Quinn on his way, and then dusting off my creative writing pens once the shooting phase is done.

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Lauren Aguilera Brown

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Storyteller | Writer | Singsong Weirdo | Food Whisperer | Jane of All Trades Founder @monologues_the | Upcoming Album @weheartarts