Stokes Croft, Bristol’s cultural quarter, is a magnet for artists and musicians in the city. The area is known for its sense of community, fierce loyalty towards independent shops and its street art, including Banksy’s famous piece ‘The Mild Mild West’. With many of the First Contemporary artists based at Jamaica Street Artists in the heart of Stokes Croft, we asked Bristol based photographer, Alice Hendy, for her take on the area.
Alice Hendy has been working as a photographer for about eight years. Alice first studied photography during her foundation course at Exeter College before going on to study sculpture at Kingston University.
FC: What do you find interesting about Bristol, and specifically the Stokes Croft area? Did you discover anything new about Stokes Croft whilst taking these photos?
AH: I moved to Bristol ten years ago from Devon. Coming from a semi-rural setting I was immediately struck by energy, creativity and pace of Bristol as well as it’s rich history. What I notice about Stokes Croft in particular is how the layers of history can be seen so vividly in it’s streets. I like the mixture of old and new and the way they sit together, especially the old carriage works emblazoned with graffiti.
FC: Could you give us an insight into how you approach your work?
AH: I prefer to work quietly and unobtrusively in order to capture what unfolds naturally. When photographing people I like to study their mannerisms so I can anticipate when to press the shutter button. I’ve learnt to watch and wait rather than clicking away too much. My favourite moments are when people forget I’m there and I can move around with my invisibility cloak on.
AH: I’ve experienced a lot of loss in my life and so my photographs have always been among my most treasured possessions. There’s no doubt that my career choice has been shaped by my desire to freeze time but It’s also about artistic expression and making choices about what stays in the view-finder and what’s filtered out. Often I will instinctively see the way I want to frame a subject but I like the challenge when it takes a few goes at making the image really sing.
First Contemporary artists based at Jamaica Street Artists, Stokes Croft: