Surfleet’s work was first shown in April 2017’s Issue #2 of Untitled Collective, and showing a small selection of mainly self-portraiture photographs, we were intrigued to find out more about her work, and get to the bottom of her style. Starting her photography through experimentation, Surfleet’s work has a personal touch and is heavily focused on themes of loneliness, nostalgia, anxiety and light. The Smallest Seed is a collaboration between Surfleet and Bridgett Bloom, an internationally exhibiting fine artist.
How did the series start and What inspired you? Was it always going to be a collaboration?
From the first moment I saw Brigettes work I was in awe, it was so dreamy and experimental and full of life and we soon became fond of each others work. We had the idea of working together on a collaboration in some sort of way and thought that a film swap would be a great idea to work together given the huge distance between us. We didnt really dicuss what we would shoot on the films, but the outcome was so lovely and always surprising with film swaps how perfectly some of them match up.
Where do you see the series going?
We did a couple of film swaps over the course of maybe a year or two, honestly it was mainly just a really lovely way to stay inspired and to have something fun to shoot and to look forward to. The outcome was always a bonus for me. And it was always an honor to work on the same piece of film with someone that I admired.
Many of your images are personal, diary-like entries, has your style always been like this? Do you find people are drawn to your images because of how personal they are?
Yeah my work has always been quite personal, when I started out I just wanted to play with film and experiment in any way I could. Then after spending a lot of time alone and experiencing anxiety I started shooting self-portraits. I do find that my work draws a lot of people in as some can connect with it, they feel the same and can relate to the emotions that are present in the images, whether or not I purposefully tried to portray this or not. It's lovely getting messages and emails from people who admire my work or simply comments in which a certain photograph has struck a chord with them - the fact that my work can stir any kind of emotion in complete strangers is incredible to me.
You have an amazing list of publications you've been featured in - How did these come about, and have you any advice for others to getting featured?
I remember my first one was for the Frankie Magazine Photo Book and I just received a message through Flickr asking to use my image and told me how much they'd pay me for it. I was stunned, I just used to submit my work to groups on Flickr and it started from there (back when Flickr had an amazing photography community). After that I started spending a few hours every couple of days seeking out art & photography open calls for exhibitions or features and just emailed tonnes of people. Sometimes you just get random amazing emails out of the blue but if you want it to work long term you really have to put the time and work in to promote yourself. And don't be afraid of just going for it, even if you think you'll never get your work in a specific magazine or website, its always worth a try, you never know.
You are represented by The Francesca Maffeo Gallery - how has this helped you in general as an artist?
It's lovely being represented by the gallery, it's helped me in a lot of ways but mainly by having that back up support system in Francesca (Director), and knowing that I can just email her for advice and she has a wealth of it. It's also allowed me to meet some fantastic photographers through our group exhibition last Summer and it just gives you a confidence boost knowing you're in the greatest company of photographers.