Photography by Georgette Swenson

Jun 27, 2017

Georgette is a young Canadian artist who enjoys the unpredictability and particular sound of Polaroids. Her finely composed images are nostalgic, seductive and mesmerising at the same time. With a penchant for portraiture, Georgette’s pictures transport us to a magical place, where fantasy and reality are intertwined and our imagination lifts off.


Following we present a short interview that we had with Georgette:


am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?

GS - I am Georgette Swenson and I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree at the University of Saskatchewan.


am - How did you start in photography?

GS - I have always been a creative individual; I have been drawing from the time I first picked up a pencil. I was raised by my grandparents near Spruce Home, Saskatchewan. We lived on 80 acres in a rural area and did not have any fancy cameras. My first snapshots were taken on a Kodak Instamatic. Half of the photos were underexposed because I did not know that I needed to use a flash indoors. When I went to university, I bought my first SLR camera and learned how to shoot and develop my own black and white film. After university, I bought my first digital camera, a Canon 20D. I shot only digital for about five years and during this time I took an Advanced Studio Lighting course at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, where I met my husband who is also a photographer. I decided that I was not enjoying the results of my digital photography as much as the film photos I had taken in the past. Around 2010, I discovered The Impossible Project’s film and bought my first SX-70 camera and started shooting instant film. I also started experimenting with many other film cameras.


am - What inspires your work?

GS - I have always felt a need to create, in addition to photography, I also do some drawing, painting and sewing. I draw inspiration from a lot of places, including memories, dreams, nature, vintage items, old music videos, books, movies, and city streets, just to name a few.


am - What draws you to work with Polaroids?

GS - They are one of a kind. They are unpredictable. This can be an advantage and a disadvantage because sometimes I am disappointed when a photo does not turn out well but other times it is a pleasant surprise. I love the unique sound a Polaroid camera makes as the photo is being taken. I also think I am fond of Polaroids because most of the earliest snapshots that I have were taken on peel apart film with my grandparent’s Polaroid Colorpack.


am - Who are your favourite photographers/artists?

GS - In no particular order, Francesca Woodman, Annie Leibovitz, Frida Kahlo, and Camilla D’Errico are some of my favourites.


am - If you could travel and stay in a place for one year, where would you choose to go?

GS - I have wanted to go to New York City for years. I think I would enjoy visiting the galleries and museums. I also sew, therefore a visit to the fabric stores in the garment district would be wonderful.


am - Favourite songs/bands at the moment?

GS - Some of the artists on my current playlist are: Grimes, Radiohead, Bat for Lashes, Washed Out, Beck, David Bowie and Kraftwerk. I feel compelled to add that I am also a long-time fan of The Smashing Pumpkins.


am - What’s your favourite movie?

GS - I feel like I am still looking for it but I did enjoy Art School Confidential and Lost in Translation a lot.


am - Where is your favourite place to go for inspiration and why?

GS - I enjoy going to antique stores, flea markets and thrift shops. While searching through them I am sometimes reminded of forgotten memories and I enjoy the hunt for old cameras or whatever else catches my eye.


am - What is your favourite photo book?

GS - I recently looked through “Andy Warhol: Polaroids” by Richard B. Woodward. It is a huge book and it was fascinating to see the instant photographs he took over many years.


am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.

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