As part of our SU Student Spotlight feature, our Student Union President, Ada Palmer-Jones asks BA (Hons) Fashion Photography student Chloe Sharpe about life at Leeds Arts University... 

What do you want people to know about your practice?

I think I work best when I create an idea from the garments that I buy, because once I have them in front of me I'm able to create a clearer image of how I want to photograph them. I'm very inspired by nature and vintage items of clothing and some of my work is very much influenced by fantasy.

Where is your happy place/place for inspiration?

I wouldn't say I have a particular place for inspiration as ideas can hit me out of nowhere. If I were trying to brainstorm an idea I tend to look at Pinterest as a starting point, but anything I see in everyday life could lead to an idea. In terms of a happy place, I love the Lake District as a place to detach and get lost in nature.

Is it important for your practice to have a meaning/message?

I would say that a lot of my work has personal messages coming through – some of my projects deal with more current affairs, such as gender, but I think a lot of my work is created from my love of just creating. I think it's important to say though that the majority of the styling choices I use are vintage and second-hand, as I try not to feed into the fast fashion industry, so this is an underlying message throughout my work.

Photography by Chloe SharpeImage: Courtesy of Chloe Sharpe

What book do you recommend most to others?

If you're into the 90s, there's a book called “What's Eating Gilbert Grape" that also has a film adaptation, featuring Leo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp, and the whole aesthetic of it is gorgeous. I also just finished watching “Catch Me if You Can" and that's definitely a must-see.

In terms of your creative journey, which lesson has been hardest to learn?

You can't do everything. A lot of my work relies on the reliability of other people showing up, and sometimes people will let me down. The best thing to do is be prepared and have replacements waiting on the sideline.

Who inspires you?

Fashion Photographer Nima Benati is a huge inspiration of mine, as is Stella Morais, an up-and-coming fashion photographer who is constantly on the grind. But as I said earlier, most of the time it's the fashion itself that inspires me.

What artist do you want to tell people about?

There's an amazing illustrator called Clément Louis, and he does some incredibly beautiful fashion illustrations.

Photography by Chloe SharpeImage: Courtesy of Chloe Sharpe

Most important medium you always use.

I tend to mix it up between my digital camera and my 35mm camera. I absolutely adore the aesthetic that film cameras produce but sometimes you just need a digital camera that's a little bit more reliable, and of course you can see your images straight away with a digital. That being said, I do love the suspense of waiting to see what your film images look like.

Favourite art gallery.

It's more of a photography gallery, but the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool always has interesting, free photo exhibitions on.

Favourite place to eat in Leeds.

Turtle Bay or Giraffe.

Life hack/student hack.

Be prepared! I have a vinyl wall planner that I've stuck on opposite my bed and it's the best decision I ever made. I can see straight away when I'm available.

Favourite facility at Uni.

It's got to be the studios.

Society you have always wanted to start.

I recently started learning macrame, and I think a macrame society would be a lovely way to get rid of some work related stress.

Medium you can’t live without.

My digital camera. It's the most reliable piece of kit I own!