Artist of the Week: Moose Azim
This week Brighton Journal spoke to Moose Azim, a Brighton-based photographer whose personal projects explore nature, nostalgia and family. Her recent work includes a touching series of photographs of her Mother’s belongings that process feelings of loss and love. We discussed Moose’s inspirations, her favourite things to do locally, and her aim to always spark curiosity through creativity. Featured Image: Moose at the Royal Academy of Arts, London.
What are you doing today?
Today I’m on Jury Service which is giving me plenty of permission to read my book in the middle of the day because there is a lot of waiting around to do. Today’s book is on Phototherapy. I’m also enjoying a fair bit of “people watching” for free.
Describe where you do most of your creative work.
I seem to do a lot of my work in daydreams, on walks, out and about and just about anywhere, it’s usually a spontaneous thing. I get told of a lot by my family for wandering off with my camera, it must be very frustrating for them. I also work from home or in one of our various coffee shops in Brighton with a mate so we can do what they call “co-working”.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve worked on?
I always love all my ongoing projects including my current one which is on quite a serious topic called ‘My Mum’s Belongings’.
One other exciting shoot to mention was from a few years ago when I used to shoot weddings, the Brighton bride and groom gave me full permission to do whatever I wanted during their special day. This meant I could relax into the zone and quietly observe and cherish all the small moments as well as the big momentous ones. This is the biggest gift for any photographer at work.
One of the photos I took on that day was chosen for the Royal Academy Summer Show. I was so delighted that the original sold straight away, there are now 3 limited prints left for sale.
What made you decide to become an artist?
I haven’t made a conscious decision, all my life I’ve tried to express myself in some way even though I don’t come from an artistic upbringing in the slightest. All I know is that I feel grateful and privileged to do any work which involves creating.
What are you currently working on?
One of my latest projects is in response to my Mum’s sudden death. When my Mum died in February this year I had only one and a half weeks to clear her flat before the new tenants moved in.
During the rush and shock of it all I felt a deep need to photograph ‘My Mum’s Belongings’. Some of the images from this collection were shown at the Royal Photographic Society’s 100 Heroines’ exhibition in Chelsea this summer, and are now part of ‘(Un) framing our Identities’, at the Hive in Blackpool, this is a collaborative with RPS Hundred Heroines initiative in which female photographers explore the theme of identity. Both of these opportunities have come as a surprise but I’m just going with it.
What are the key themes in your work?
Themes I’m drawn to at the moment are nature, nostalgia, family, people watching, appreciation of the ordinary and a bit of heartache. On a lighter note I do make images that are simply an appreciation of beauty, this is what my series Urban Flora is all about.
What would you like people to notice about your work?
It makes me very happy if my work resonates with anyone in some way whether is sparks curiosity, makes them look a little closer or smile. I hope to create thoughtful images.
What attracts you to the medium you work in?
I wanted to say it’s portability and size because cameras can be quite small these days, but I do seem to use up all my baggage allowance whenever we travel anywhere as a family so I can’t say portability. So I’d better opt for saying it’s a handy medium to have, you can just chuck a camera in a bag and off you go, plus when you are out in public no-one gives you any further attention for having camera.
What equipment could you not do without?
I can’t do without my pencil, sketch book and phone camera.
Who or what inspires you?
I have to say light, colour and other people’s minds, plus my two daughters always serve as a constant inspiration, they often feature in my work.
How is your work affected by living in this area?
Living here means that if you want to you can walk everywhere, this makes it super easy to be visually inspired and wander more.
What’s your favourite thing to do locally?
I enjoy my regular swims at St Lukes Pool, walks along the sea, Sheepcote Valley or anywhere a dog walking friend may take me. The Duke of York’s, Snoopers Paradise are favourites and I can’t deny I enjoy a good coffee shop and local lunches in places like Alushi 1, Trafalgar Arches, and the veggie cafe Idyea on Kensington Gardens.
What’s your favourite gallery (or place to see/experience art)?
Anywhere where there is light and colour, The Phoenix Gallery Brighton, Tate Modern, The Affordable Art Fair and The Royal Academy, London.
If you could collaborate with one artist, from any time, who would it be and why?
Strictly speaking I realise that Michelle Obama is not an artist but I’ve just finished her book ‘Becoming’ and she is now my new hero. In my dream world she would swoon over here and help me on my quest to find funding to run my teen workshops on Creativity and Photography, (SeaSee Photography Workshops). Being creative in our daily life can have a huge positive impact on our well being and I’m wanting to offer teens an opportunity to experience this. Other than Michelle I’d like to collaborate with Brian Eno. He would push me out of my comfort zone and if I could work alongside a fine poet that would be amazing too.
What’s your favourite colour?
Today it’s blue against tanned skin.
To find out more about Moose and her work, check out: