Flex online met with self taught photographer Tania Lee Crow, who has travelled over Europe to document the lives of many people and their cultures. Tania has won an award for her photography and cannot live without her camera. Read here what inspires her and why she loves to take photographs.
What’s your background and why photography?
I have a very complicated cultural background hence my pre-occupation with identity, social and cultural diversity. My mother is Chinese Malaysian and my father is half American and half Ukrainian, but I basically grew up in Australia. By basically, I mean I lived in eight different countries before settling there at the age of seven. I won the Graduation Award for photography in my final year of school, and then moved to New Zealand where I studied sociology and anthropology before gaining a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts.
In 2008 I packed my bags again bound for Europe, this time with a new DSLR by my side. On my travels, my camera was my closest companion and witness. It was my creative outlet and vehicle for expression, a way for me to process my thoughts and experiences. I’m essentially a self-taught photographer, and have worked hard at that. I currently live in England.
What inspires you to take photographs? Why documentary photography?
I once heard Christopher Hitchens say that he became a journalist because he didn’t trust the media, I can identify with that. Documentary photography enables me to dissect and validate quotidian life both creatively and experientially.
I gravitate towards under reported issues through long term projects, which allow me to reveal a process of sustained observation and questioning.
Whose work inspires you?
At the end of the day I always find myself returning to George Georgiou. I like the way he thinks. The way he structures his work is very satisfying. His keen mind and eye for detail leads to wonderful bodies of work as well as independent images. I also really like Dominic Nahr, for his sensitivity. I’d like to also mention Sam Abell, aswell as Anastasia Taylor-Lind and someone I have recently discovered, Evgenia Arbugaeva. There are too many good photographers!
You spent a lot of time in Greece. What did you see?
I am currently working on a few projects. ‘Without Rehearsal’ is about the illusion of theatre and ‘Fragmented Bradford’ is an ongoing body of work in the north of England, exploring the social and cultural terrain ten years after the notorious ‘Bradford Riots’. I also spend a lot of time in Greece. I am fascinated by the changes happening there, and what makes it into the news and what doesn’t. With so much changing, I feel compelled to document the living history whose relevance may not be immediately recognizable now, but will be important in time. ‘Notes from a Train Tunnel’ documents the home of the homeless; a fluctuating population of illegal immigrants stuck in limbo that live in an inner-city train tunnel in Athens.
Mainstream media regarding Greece has been understandably overshadowed by the country’s economic turmoil of late, with occasional reference to the huge influxes of migrants illegally entering the country. These references take a numbers approach, sensationalising a very real problem. ‘Notes from a Train Tunnel’ takes a human approach. My aim was to tell the story of what happens after the news crews have left. What happens once they have entered the country illegally? Where do they go, what do they do to survive and how do they live?
To see more of Tania’s work visit her website http://tanialeecrow.com/