We recently discovered the captivating work of Rebecca Freemantle, a budding film photographer who is based in London by way of Cape Town. Her lo-fi works have an aura of intimacy and authenticity; featuring everyday, routine subjects in an uninhibited way.
Rebecca has amassed an impressive body of personal shots that exemplify her abilities. Although only 20 years old, she has already published two photography books; both sentimental in subject matter and sensibility. Her second book, which was released a few days ago, explores the idea of non-permanence within how youthful women think based upon the temporary lives they construct for themselves.
At the moment Rebecca is studying Design for Art Direction at the University of the Arts. When not at university she spends much of her time documenting moments shared with her muse and roommate in their apartment in East London, “from her self-pricking blood in our bathroom floor, naked mornings on the balcony, when she’s sleeping and and so on. Our days kind of go along the lines of ‘What the fuck, why did you take that picture!’ to when it’s developed and she’s like ‘Cute!'”, explains the photographer.
Read through our chat with the artist about her process, preferences and influences below.
When and how did you first get into photography?
I used to buy shit loads of disposables which made it really easy to get the gist of using film without any effort which shaped what I liked and didn’t and I think I just found some sort of personal rhythm from there. A big factor in play is my grandparents massive archive of film photographs from all their lives and travels which I touch base with every couple of months. It’s refreshing to compare a type of lifestyle so different with what’s happening today: the changes, the not-so-changes, what needs to change. I know the images in hardcopy themselves haven’t been touched nor edited, so when they appear differently each time it gives some grounding into what I want to contextualise from there.
Which cameras do you prefer shooting with?
I had a point-and-shoot Canon which was the shit. I sold it, and now have a Canon E1 which breaks all the time because I take it everywhere. There were a few years on internal conflict that kind of went ‘film! digital! film! digital!’, but getting a blank roll back is one of the weirdest feelings because you feel you’ve lost out on time which resonated as something to work on.
Why is it important to have more women behind the camera?
We’re just doing our thing and I guess through hanging out and discussing things it all just happens naturally. I photograph my friends because it’s important. I don’t have a distinctive view behind women being in front of or behind photographing, It’s just got to feel and be right in context. I do have an issue with the whole ‘male photographer that only shoots women half-naked’ vibe that’s happening right now. It’s dumb unless it speaks a purpose bigger than the personal. Terms are thrown and women have a lot of shackles on themselves right now. When Trump was elected I cried for a week straight and people asked me why I was so upset because I didn’t live in America and I couldn’t understand how it doesn’t not affect them? These questions lay.
Who or what inspires you?
I reference the past a lot. Certain people or personalities do. My best friend and collaborator, Courteney is the most beautiful person and sometimes I just want to incorporate people like her into an image and that happens. But then you find images don’t explain what you felt, and you find external references. There was a broken pile of 12 eggs left outside the tube the other day and I had a million questions whilst trying to imagine their face. Those moments when you’re like ‘ah man, I wish someone took a photo.’ That sort of thing.
You grew up in Cape Town – how do you feel growing up there has influenced your subject matter and subsequent photos?
Cape Town’s a tough one. It holds a lot of nostalgia and is a place I’ll always return to both physically and conceptually. It’s sort of a base for me in a contemporary art and culture realm when comparing westernized ideals within imagery and social ideologies.
What are you working on at the moment?
I published my first book six months back, which was a really personal and emotional insight into the way I see life after my mom’s suicide last year and have just been given the go ahead for 5000 copies to be distributed across London. My second book was published a few days back and is a fifty page photographic journal that documents a place and time of non-permanency of women who have built a a home away from home, exploring how people think based on the temporary lives they construct for themselves. I’m making a music video over the next couple weeks and running a few art performance pieces to be compiled as part of third book! Very grateful for all the opportunities I am receiving.