Interview / Daniel Keys – Silent Spring

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Interview with the english photographer, Daniel Keys about his great series ‘Silent Spring’.

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Where and when were you born?

I was born in 1989 in Essex in the UK.

Can you explain to us your series ‘Silent Spring‘ ?

The series Silent Spring was conceived in the winter of 2010 and created in the spring of 2011, a time of austerity in the UK; it was a reaction to the government cuts in mental health services in a period of time where there was a marked rise in cases of mental health issues being reported. I wanted to create a vulnerable yet threatening series of slowly disturbing images set within a suburban landscape with this dichotomy in mind; Predicting a future that was not so far from reality.

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Which song could represent the mood that exist in this set ?

Black Melt by Massive Attack. I was listening to it a lot at the time.

What camera did you use ?

My battered Pentax 67.

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Tell us more about your vision of the suburbs.

My vision of suburbia is one of a collection of many melodrama’s happening all at once behind and viewed by the twitching curtains of its inhabitants. Its peoples worlds that they have created for themselves, existing side by side, yet rarely crossing over. It has an element of homeliness crossed with the possibility of danger ever present in the background.

I often subvert the associated ideals of suburbia and create dystopic visions of suburban living, using common signifiers in a way that is jarring to the viewer.

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For each photograph of the series, a first name is associated.
Who are these girls and how have they experienced this project ?

Each girl in the images are friends of mine and were photographed in close vicinity to where they were living at the time. Some of the girls had experienced states of depression themselves or knew people who had suffered from some form of mental illness. Each model used in the project were prepped by giving them the concept and the clothing I wanted to use which was either the models own or brought from local charity shops. I had pre framed most of the images by scouting out the locations and each shoot was relatively static and consisted of the model moving only minute fractions whilst I shot 4 rolls of film; so their main experience (in February weather) would have been a cold and long one.

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Can you tell us more about you and your projects in the future ?

I am currently living in London and working as a retail monkey to fund my photographic endeavours. I am working on a project as we speak, it is a more ambitious piece then “Silent Spring” or “145 Nights” and is quite different in style. I have been prepping for it for the last month or so and I still have some ideas to iron out but I may be able to start test shooting in the next couple of months.

We look forward to see that!
Merci Daniel

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daniel-keys.co.uk