Interview with Gemma Padley

Written by NYPD on . Posted in London Photo Diary

Melanie Bonajo: Night Soil (2016)

Melanie Bonajo: Night Soil (2016)

David Lynch on Photography (2013)

David Lynch on Photography (2013)

Shirin Neshat: Art in Exile (2011)

Shirin Neshat: Art in Exile (2011)

Carrie Mae Weems: Can an Artist Inspire Social Change? (2016)

Carrie Mae Weems: Can an Artist Inspire Social Change? (2016)

Stephen Shore: American Beauty (2006)

Stephen Shore: American Beauty (2006)

Sally Mann: Hold Still @ Art Institute of Chicago (2016)

Sally Mann: Hold Still @ Art Institute of Chicago (2016)

New York Voices: Joel Sternfeld (2002)

New York Voices: Joel Sternfeld (2002)

'The Role of Photography', The Photographic Universe Conference - Charlotte Cotton with David Reinfurt (2011)

'The Role of Photography', The Photographic Universe Conference - Charlotte Cotton with David Reinfurt (2011)

Ryan Linkof in conversation with Hemera on 'Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium', LACMA (2016)

Ryan Linkof in conversation with Hemera on 'Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium', LACMA (2016)

Larry Schaaf - The Damned Leaf: Musings on History, Hysteria & Historiography (2015)

Larry Schaaf - The Damned Leaf: Musings on History, Hysteria & Historiography (2015)

Liminal Camera (2014)

Liminal Camera (2014)

BBC Omnibus: Mario Testino (2002)

BBC Omnibus: Mario Testino (2002)

The Real Weegee (1993)

The Real Weegee (1993)

Scholar Emmanuel Iduma on Contemporary African Photography (2015)

Scholar Emmanuel Iduma on Contemporary African Photography (2015)

Alice Austen House: New Eyes on Alice Austen @ Whitney Museum of Art (2016)

Alice Austen House: New Eyes on Alice Austen @ Whitney Museum of Art (2016)

Vivian Maier: Who Took Nanny's Picture's (2013)

Vivian Maier: Who Took Nanny's Picture's (2013)

The Conscientious Lens: A conversation between Jonathan Alpeyrie and Spencer Platt

The Conscientious Lens: A conversation between Jonathan Alpeyrie and Spencer Platt

Alfredo Cramerotti: The Hyperimage @ Riga Photography Biennal (2016)

Alfredo Cramerotti: The Hyperimage @ Riga Photography Biennal (2016)

John Chiara  (2015)

John Chiara (2015)

Simon Baker in conversation with Hemera on

Simon Baker in conversation with Hemera on "Performing for the Camera" (2016)

The Invisible Photograph - Part I (Underground), Carnegie Museum of Art  (2014)

The Invisible Photograph - Part I (Underground), Carnegie Museum of Art (2014)

Joel Meyerowitz: Street Photography (1981)

Joel Meyerowitz: Street Photography (1981)

Matthew Brandt (2015)

Matthew Brandt (2015)

Martha Cooper: Graffiti interview (2011)

Martha Cooper: Graffiti interview (2011)

Photography and Sculpture: The Art Object in Reproduction (2014)

Photography and Sculpture: The Art Object in Reproduction (2014)

Allison Rossiter (2015)

Allison Rossiter (2015)

Nan Goldin - The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (2013)

Nan Goldin - The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (2013)

Bruce Davidson: Subway at the Strand (2011)

Bruce Davidson: Subway at the Strand (2011)

Jeff Wall in conversation with Thierry de Duve at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (2015)

Jeff Wall in conversation with Thierry de Duve at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (2015)

Julia Margaret Cameron @ the V&A, 28 Nov - 21 Feb  (2015)

Julia Margaret Cameron @ the V&A, 28 Nov - 21 Feb (2015)

Garry Winogrand MIT Q&A  (1974)

Garry Winogrand MIT Q&A (1974)

Dorothea Lange and American Odyssey (2014)

Dorothea Lange and American Odyssey (2014)

Frames from the Edge - Helmut Newton (1989)

Frames from the Edge - Helmut Newton (1989)

Is Photography Over? Symposium at SFMoMA (2010)

Is Photography Over? Symposium at SFMoMA (2010)

Magic Mirror by Sarah Purcill (2013)

Magic Mirror by Sarah Purcill (2013)

Saatchi Gallery Talk: New Directions in Contemporary Photography  (2011)

Saatchi Gallery Talk: New Directions in Contemporary Photography (2011)

ArtStop: Identity in Contemporary Photography at the San Diego Museum of Art (2013)

ArtStop: Identity in Contemporary Photography at the San Diego Museum of Art (2013)

Imagine: The Colourful Mr Eggleston (2009)

Imagine: The Colourful Mr Eggleston (2009)

David Campany: Photography Between Page and Wall (2014)

David Campany: Photography Between Page and Wall (2014)

Jesus was an only son and love his only concept, by Hemera (2014)

Jesus was an only son and love his only concept, by Hemera (2014)

The Afronauts by Cristina de Middel (2012)

The Afronauts by Cristina de Middel (2012)

Masters of Photography: Diane Arbus (1972)

Masters of Photography: Diane Arbus (1972)

Cindy Sherman: Nobody's Here But Me (1994)

Cindy Sherman: Nobody's Here But Me (1994)

Guggenheim Symposium: Empathy, Affect, and the Photographic Image (2012)

Guggenheim Symposium: Empathy, Affect, and the Photographic Image (2012)

Sebastiao Salgado: The Silent Drama of Photography (2013)

Sebastiao Salgado: The Silent Drama of Photography (2013)

Dying to Tell the Story (1998)

Dying to Tell the Story (1998)

Elina Brotherus: The Black Bay Sequence (2010)

Elina Brotherus: The Black Bay Sequence (2010)

Richard Avedon: Darkness and Light (1995)

Richard Avedon: Darkness and Light (1995)

David Hockney: Painting and Photography (2015)

David Hockney: Painting and Photography (2015)

Truth, Lies, and Photographs. Symposium at MoMA (2012)

Truth, Lies, and Photographs. Symposium at MoMA (2012)

Photography and Sculpture Symposium at the Clark Art Institute (2014)

Photography and Sculpture Symposium at the Clark Art Institute (2014)

New Thoughts on the Photographic Portrait at the San Diego Museum of Art (2013)

New Thoughts on the Photographic Portrait at the San Diego Museum of Art (2013)

Hemera interviews Sheyi Bankale, curator of Photo50 (2015)

Hemera interviews Sheyi Bankale, curator of Photo50 (2015)

The Future of Editorial at Magnum Foundation PhotoEx symposium (2014)

The Future of Editorial at Magnum Foundation PhotoEx symposium (2014)

Behind the Scenes: New Photography by Alex Prager at MoMA (2010)

Behind the Scenes: New Photography by Alex Prager at MoMA (2010)

Alec Soth interviewed by curator George Slade at the Walker Art Center (2010)

Alec Soth interviewed by curator George Slade at the Walker Art Center (2010)

Sophie Calle interview with Whitechapel Gallery Director Iwona Blazwick (2011)

Sophie Calle interview with Whitechapel Gallery Director Iwona Blazwick (2011)

Mary Ellen Mark at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (2013)

Mary Ellen Mark at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (2013)

Elina Brotherus: It's not me, it's a photograph (2013)

Elina Brotherus: It's not me, it's a photograph (2013)

Ansel Adams, a Documentary (2002)

Ansel Adams, a Documentary (2002)

How Photography Connects Us by David Griffin, Photo Director of National Geographic (2013)

How Photography Connects Us by David Griffin, Photo Director of National Geographic (2013)

Kora by Jawshing Arthur Liou (2012)

Kora by Jawshing Arthur Liou (2012)

La Petite Mort by Alex Prager (2012)

La Petite Mort by Alex Prager (2012)

James Mollison: The Hottest Mess on Earth (2011)

James Mollison: The Hottest Mess on Earth (2011)

TateShots: Broomberg & Chanarin (2015)

TateShots: Broomberg & Chanarin (2015)

Arles 2015, les Rencontres de la photographie (2015)

Arles 2015, les Rencontres de la photographie (2015)

Ruben Lundgren of WassinkLundgren, on

Ruben Lundgren of WassinkLundgren, on "The Chinese Photobook" (2015)

Bruce Gilden: New York (2014)

Bruce Gilden: New York (2014)

James Mollison and Jon Ronson on Playground Bullies (2015)

James Mollison and Jon Ronson on Playground Bullies (2015)

Reconsidering the Object: Researching Interwar Photography in the Digital Age (2014)

Reconsidering the Object: Researching Interwar Photography in the Digital Age (2014)

Zoe Strauss: Sea Change at Haverford's Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery (2015)

Zoe Strauss: Sea Change at Haverford's Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery (2015)

Rinko Kawauchi, Approaching Whiteness (2013)

Rinko Kawauchi, Approaching Whiteness (2013)

Duane Michals, The Man Who Invented Himself (2012)

Duane Michals, The Man Who Invented Himself (2012)

Alec Soth – Summer Nights at the Dollar Tree (2013)

Alec Soth – Summer Nights at the Dollar Tree (2013)

Howard Schatz - Photographer (2015)

Howard Schatz - Photographer (2015)

Sacha de Boer Interview with Howard Greenberg (2014)

Sacha de Boer Interview with Howard Greenberg (2014)

Saul Leiter in Conversation with Vince Aletti (2014)

Saul Leiter in Conversation with Vince Aletti (2014)

Arne Svenson, The Workers at Julie Saul Gallery - Video interview (2015)

Arne Svenson, The Workers at Julie Saul Gallery - Video interview (2015)

Lynne Cohen. Occupied Territory 1971 - 1988, at Higher Pictures (2012)

Lynne Cohen. Occupied Territory 1971 - 1988, at Higher Pictures (2012)

Photography journalist Gemma Padley will be taking over our Instagram feed during the run of Photo London. LPD took the opportunity to chat with Gemma about her impressive career to date and her thoughts on the photography scene in London.

Sarah Allen: How did you get involved in this field?
Gemma Padley: I started out as lots of people in this industry do by interning at as many editorial/media places as I could. One of these was at BJP, shortly after I moved to London in 2007. I was doing a post-grad diploma in Journalism at the time and leant so much from working on a busy arts magazine alongside studying. Before this I studied English at university and had developed an interest in photography, but knew early on that I was more interested in writing about photographs and telling other photographers’ stories than trying to be a photographer myself. I still enjoy taking pictures for me, from time to time, and feel it’s important to have a good understanding of the workings of photography so I can relate to photographers. Although I would never claim to know what it’s like to be a photographer and to make a living this way. I imagine it’s probably as challenging as making a living through writing though! I guess we all do it for the love of it, which is as good a reason as any I suppose.

What are the most interesting trends you’ve noticed recently in photography?
Hmmmmm, I won’t be breaking new ground by saying this, but there’s certainly a trend (which has been going on for a while now), of people working across mediums – looking at where photography meets sculpture/collage/painting etc. There’s a lot of interesting quite conceptual-based still life around too, and within photojournalism people are tending to pursue longer-term, slower, sometimes more personal projects. This could be attributed to changes within the editorial market, as budgets decrease and commissions become harder to win, photographers are taking matters into their own hands. I don’t want to infer that there are no longer opportunities within editorial photography, but things are undoubtedly more difficult, and I think it’s great that photographers are reacting to this in a positive way and finding other ways to make the kind of work they want to.

What recent exhibitions / fairs have you found really exciting or engaging?
I loved the Christopher Williams retrospective, which is currently at the Whitechapel Gallery, but it’s not an easy show. There’s little to guide the visitor in terms of panel texts, labels, etc, It’s one of those exhibitions that if you go with an open mind, wanting to think, wanting to work hard to find meaning or understand what’s going on, then you’ll be rewarded.

If you could buy the work of one photographer who would it be?
Great question! I have so many favourites it’s hard to say… I’m a sucker for beautiful, enigmatic portraits by photographic masters like Paolo Roversi and Emmet Gowin, and I also love Jack Davison’s approach to portraiture, so anything by those photographers. I’m also a huge fan of Rinko Kawauchi. I love her attention to detail and the simplicity of her work, so again anything by her would get my vote!

What excites and annoys you most about London’s photography scene?
London is such a melting pot of talent, and I love how international it is, but it can be cliquey and stifling at times, and also very competitive, so sometimes I need to take a break from it, and do something completely different – then I can come back feeling refreshed and ready to go again

If you weren’t a photography journalist what would you be and why?
I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, as trite as that sounds!


© 2019 New York Photography Diary. All rights reserved. Background image: Ea Vasko Reflections of the Ever-Changing #32, 2010, digital c-print, diasec (matte); Video image: image by Instaberlinerin, artwork by Cecile Wesolowski, pictured Denia Kazakou/ Redd Gallery; Festival image by Vanessa Bouziges