Babe of the Month is a monthly interview series created to promote inspiring women online.
Francesca Allen is the lovely London based photographer who’s quickly gained recognition the past years for her playful portraits embodying youth, female friendship and true love. There is a joyful intimacy in her photographs that has enchanted large publications, galleries and brands alike, but foremost the female Internet community.
Being well versed in gender issues she portrays women in a careless and confident way that only the trust girlfriends between can evoke. However, she is also clear on the fact that just because she’s female and feminist her work shouldn’t be classified as ‘feminist art’. Speaking to Francesca Allen reveals that despite the moments captured in her photography might be coincidental, her work and values are not.
You can see why I had to grab her for an interview. Over a couple of emails we chat about feminist porn, why sucking at art school was great and the pros of being a woman in the photography industry.
“I feel that perhaps people (men) view female artists as somewhat inferior to male artists, but it only gives you room to surprise people.”
Hi babe, thanks for taking time to chat with me! How has your day been?
Hello! It’s been quite nice. I dyed my hair super dark, my eyebrows too, with the hair dye. It initially looked like it had all gone terribly wrong but I’ve come out looking okay! I’ve answered a lot of my emails today which I’m constantly behind on, also these questions, I’m really bad at completing interviews on time because I like to write quite a lot and sometimes I find it really hard to spit out what I’m trying to say. I’ve eaten two egg sandwiches, a pot of coffee and some biscuits too.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m twenty-two, I’ve lived in London since I was eighteen. I have a cute studio and flat in Seven Sisters and I take photos almost every day now, mainly of my friends, girls I find interesting and fashion and music.
What pros do you think there are with being a female photographer?
Honestly, I can’t think of any cons. I feel that perhaps people (men) view female artists as somewhat inferior to male artists, but it only gives you room to surprise people. As a woman I feel I can make my subject feel as comfortable as possible. Women have always been taught to disappear and be invisible and this way of viewing women means that you can be invisible. My photos aren’t about me, I don’t want to have a presence in them, I want them to be about my subjects.
What is it you want to communicate with your work?
I don’t really make conceptual work and I think that’s why people can relate to it so much. I want my work to feel overwhelmingly positive.
Jessie Andrews by Francesca Allen
Tell us about your proudest project.
I think my ‘GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!’ series, although I’m really bored of looking at it now. I want to turn it into a book as soon as possible and then never look at it again. I’m actually really happy with what I’ve shot in the past few months. I think the series I shot of my sister for i-D has become one of my favourite shoots, also the shoot I did with Jessie Andrews.
Who has been the most fun to shoot and why?
I recently did a shoot with actress Kiersey Clemons for i-D. Kiersey had so much energy and is really flexible physically! I think we really bounced off each other and the whole team that day was great.
You mentioned in the interview you did with It’s Nice That that you despised uni. What impact do you think it had on you?
I work really fucking hard now. It’s kind of nice to have come out with a bad grade; I feel incredibly motivated to prove them wrong.
“The kind of mum that is embarrassing as a teen is really the best mum ever.”
What has been your biggest learnings since you started?
Don’t ever get complacent or too pleased with yourself. Don’t be lazy. Get out of bed!
What projects are you excited for in 2016?
I really recently had a new idea for a project involving porn actresses. I don’t want to say any more about it as it’s a very vague idea for now, but I haven’t been this excited about a thought in my head for a very long time.
This feature is about highlighting inspirational women so I’d like to know who’s your biggest girl crush and person that you look up to?
My biggest girl crush is erotic actress Maria Riot, I met her on set with director Erika Lust in Barcelona. She was a total babe, super in charge of herself and her body and really fun to chat to. I look up to my mum; she knows how to reconstruct walls, just finished her phD and has never shaved her armpits. The kind of mum that is embarrassing as a teen is really the best mum ever.
OTHER INSPIRING WOMEN:
Tattoo Artist TATIANA KARTOMTEN
Illustrator MARIA HERREROS
DJ HANNAH FAITH
Artist REBECCA LARSSON
Indonesian blogger ROSALINDA TIJOE
Fashion blogger CLARISSA HENRY
Instagram twins ELISABETH & VICTORIA LEJONHJÄRTA
All images are by Francesca Allen