11 Jan 2009

Artisan of the Week, Tracey of Random Hamster

I've always wished I was better at taking photos than I am, so have always had a great respect for those that capture those perfect images. One of my all time favourite magazines is Wanderlust, and it's mainly due to the amazing pictures. So, when I found Tracey's shop on folksy the photos encouraged me to do a bit of research and found her website and was utterly wowed. I was so glad when she agreed to be an Artisan of the Week.

1.Could you please introduce us to who you are and what you do?
Hello. Random Hamster photography is the rather odd name given to the photographic side of my life. I'm based in Bristol in the UK at the moment, a great city that is constantly changing and from which you can easily escape to the surrounding countryside!
My photography is my passion, I take a camera with me everywhere I go but I like to focus on the details around me. Sometimes a detail in a larger landscape, sometimes just somewhere most people overlook. I also like to capture an idea, a mood, letting peoples imagination play a part in the picture. Although I work in both digital and film, I often prefer film to digital, especially for more atmospheric work and still think it has a big part to play in photography today.

2.What led you to take up your craft?
I have played around with photography from my childhood when I used to steal away with my grandfather's cameras. My work as an archaeologist has led to my doing both record and publication shots and first introduced me to digital. Over the years I have used many different cameras and as my interest in photography grew into a passion I started Random Hamster to enable me to sell my images through market stalls, my website, galleries and sites like Folksy.

3.Which part of your work do you most enjoy?
That's a difficult one. When I am out with the cameras I think that's the part I enjoy most, but then when I am working on an image and can see it coming to life, achieving the idea I had when I took it or finding something completely new, then I think that's the best bit. I also really like doing my weekly market stalls; chatting to people who regularly stop by is great and selling my images to people who like what I do is a buzz!

4.Which part do you find hardest?
Getting inspiration when I'm not in the mood. A photograph can be carefully set up and every detail worked out but I prefer to wing it a lot of the time, I like the unpredictability that can cause. I can find an idea for an image on the tip of my lens as it were but not be able to achieve the final shot. Very frustrating.

5.Where do you hope to be in 1 year’s time?
Urgh, I hate this kind of question, because I never know. I'm not a planner ahead, I tend more to drift along and see where things take me... can be to some very interesting places! I suppose I would like to be selling in more galleries, ultimately to be a known photographer, someone whose work is recognisable. That's a long way away though and I don't think I will ever make a real living from my photography.

6.What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Hmmm... to play around a lot more with cameras. Don't take them too seriously, but do what you want to with them. So much of yourself goes into an image that I think you can't do a shot just to sell. Probably why I wouldn't want to be a commercial photographer. Oh and something a friend of mine once said years ago, that people get old and boring when they grow up so her advice was to never grow up! I like that, you should never loose that child-like enjoyment of something.

7.Name other artisans sites/shops would you recommend are worth a visit?
I have a slightly darker side and like the surreal, which can be seen in my work sometimes, so I really like 'Art and Ghosts' work. Also Bespoke leather as I have a thing for natural materials and leather. As for photos, I love unravelling images, light and airy and beautiful and Touchpapers work on clowns...captures the mood perfectly.

8.What is your favourite sandwich filling?
At last, an easy one. Cheese and chilli sauce! I'm a fan of chilli sauce with anything though.

Tracey, your photographs are very varied, but they all have one thing in common. They all make me want to see more. Thank you very much for being involved in Autonomous Artisan and for allowing us to share your photos with the readers here. I too plan on never growing up. Growing up is sooo over rated. I strongly urge all the readers to surf their way over to your website and look around. The stormtroopers are worth the visit alone. If you live in or around Bristol in the UK you can see Tracey's work up close at St. Nicks market, Bristol.

Written by Lynne of Hyperloop Hoops and PiratePixieCrew


  1. Beautiful works! Love the black and white images. - CT

  2. Fabulous - I can't imagine why anyone would ever want to grow up.

    I'm not old, just older...

  3. I finally added the blog award to my blog. I made it link back to your site, too cool.

  4. Great informative interview and I just love that black and white photo!


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