JONATHAN CHERRY: What did you want to be growing up?
SIAN DAVEY: I wanted to be a farmer, entirely based on how happy I felt as a child visiting my parents friend’s farm.
JC: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
SD: Right now my inspirations are everywhere, I changed course on my photographic practice this summer to work less conceptually and practice being present with my surroundings and see where that takes me. This has opened up my practice removing boundaries and potential limitations, so right now its everything from my family light the work of I am inspired by many things, the work of Chris Killip, Paul Graham, Guido Guidi and anything by Diane Arbus.
JC: What are you up to right now?
SD: At the moment I am immersed in my new project Finding Alice, which is based upon both my relationship with Alice, my daughter and her place in the family. Through photographing my family I am attempting to show that regardless of what we come into the world with, we are all fundamentally in the same boat. It is only fear that separates us. In May I started photographing an air stewardess with BA. I’ll be flying on 10 long haul flights with her photographing the culture on board and the working life of staff. I am keeping the project as unformed as possible until I get a stronger sense of the narrative as the work progresses.
JC: Where are you based right now and how is it shaping you?
SD: I moved from Brighton 3 years ago, having lived there for most of my adult life. Interestingly, perhaps with fewer distractions, my photography has really fallen into place since moving. I now photograph family and people in the local environment, as with the River project, which is all new territory for me. It’s exciting to find yourself in a completely new context and this inevitably provides a whole new set of tensions.
JC: Have you had mentors along the way?
SD: My mentors have always been those who are inspired, passionate and committed about their subject; I would include in that Mr Mc.Neal my English teacher at school, to my Tibetan Buddhist teachers and right now, from Plymouth University, Jem Southam and David Chandler and most recently, my daughter Alice.
JC: One piece of advice to photography graduates?
SD: Whatever you do in life if it must be for yourself. When thats the case then you will want to keep your practice going, because you believe in it. There are always going to be times when inspiration is low so just stay attuned to where you are and photograph it. Photography is about the intelligence of seeing, so keep taking pictures. I find exhibitions are always a great source of inspiration, as are audio lectures like the ICP website archive, and following photography blogs online.
JC: If all else fails - what is your plan B?
SD: There is no plan B, I have just given up my work as a psychotherapist.
JC: Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community?
SD: Yes, which is why I choose to do an MA. I am continually inspired from listening to others, learning new ways of seeing - its so important to continually assess and reassess our position. Having a peer group that you can discuss work with is key.