Some time ago we welcomed creative writer Simon Rowley to Copperdollar Studios to photograph for a written piece he had been working on. Simon took time to speak to us about a long-form article he was working on around the subject of body positivity.
Hello! Could you please tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Hi! I’m Simon Rowley, a creative writer and reporter for a variety of publications (both online and in print). I am constantly on the lookout for quirky and interesting stories on topics that haven’t yet been covered in great detail.
What project were you working on recently at Copperdollar Studios?
There’s a very noticeable body positivity trend that’s been making waves over the past few months. With more and more people rejecting diet culture, shunning media depictions of how our bodies should look, and embracing themselves exactly as they are, I thought that it would be a really interesting subject to tackle in a long-form article.
Events promoting body acceptance are seemingly becoming the norm (especially in London and the South-East). They’re empowering people of all ages to feel confident in their own skin, regardless of their shape and size. Overcoming body issues is making a massive impact on people’s lives and overall well-being, but there are still some sceptics out there. So hopefully the story will encourage the naysayers to assess things differently.
The article takes an in-depth look at what’s behind the body positivity phenomenon. It goes on to detail some of the events people are able to get involved in.
How did you find your experience at the studios and what makes it different from other spaces you have used in the past?
I haven’t worked in too many studios in the past, as the bulk of my photography has been to accompany reports from the various events I’m invited to – and thus candid in nature.
Staged photography can be a little more challenging, as you have to get creative and come up with ideas of what you’re looking for ahead of time. But Copperdollar Studios makes life very easy for the photographer, as they’re full of charm and ambience. The industrial walls and other backdrops in The Hayloft studio, which we used, made for a really interesting shoot!
We kept finding new and creative ways to make use of the studio, and the varying light levels around the room provided lots of different options too. At the end of our two-hour shoot, everyone seemed very happy with the shots we achieved.
The original plan had actually been to shoot outdoors down at the beach, but with the unseasonably bad weather (even for February!) working against us, it made sense to seek somewhere warm and dry. I was instantly enamoured with the studios upon discovering them online, and they proved a perfect fit for the project.
When did you first become interested in these two art forms (writing and photography)?
I’ve been writing since graduating from university with a degree in Creative Writing, and I’ve learned along the way that supplying engaging photos can make or break a story’s success. Original imagery really adds value to an article and increases the likelihood of it being published too.
Do you have any tips/methods to ensure the photography compliments the article?
A collaborative approach with the people you’re working with is always a good idea, as it’s important that everyone feels comfortable and relaxed from the get-go.
I’ve been to several photoshoots over the years (even for projects as basic as taking new headshots for a company’s website), and it surprises me just how often photographers can make people feel awkward by asking them to pose in completely unnatural ways – so I was very keen to avoid this and play to people’s strengths.
Also, keep an open mind and be willing to veer away from what you had initially envisioned. Even if your final shots differ to what you’d anticipated, letting things develop organically seems to generate the most rewarding results.
Are there any other subject matters you enjoy writing about or plan to cover in the future?
I’ve always had a passion for human-interest stories and topical lifestyle issues, so I will be keeping a close eye out for other emerging trends as the year progresses. I’ll likely return to the theme of body positivity too, as it’s still evolving and I’ve likely only scratched the surface.
Where can we read the article once it is published?
Amongst other lifestyle and event listing websites, the piece will be also available to read at The Body Confidence Issue, an inspiring website founded by Verity, who also participated in our Copperdollar project on the day.
Thank you for the use of the studios. It was a genuine pleasure and I look forward to returning soon!