'“In ‘Rice Pudding Moon & The River of Dreams we are encouraged to feel, and not to merely observe. Pattison carries us with skill, at times travelling through serene moon-lit landscapes, feeling the warmth of a maternal embrace, or dreaming of the uncle in the moon. A sense of well-crafted magical realism binds together the work as a story and not only as individual images.” Marina Syrmakez
Jennifer Pattison is a British photographer who lives and works in London. She graduated from the London College of Communication receiving her BA (Hons) in Photography in 2000. Having begun her career as a photographers’ agent, Jennifer has focused on her own practice since 2012. She currently teaches on the BA (Hons) Photography at Coventry University, amongst other institutions and her work is held in numerous private collections internationally.
Jennifer Pattison’s portraits are arresting and full of unselfconscious expression, her recent body of work Flower Boys is inspired by Victorian portrait miniatures and presents a series focused on young males, photographed in a traditional portrait style with a contemporary twist. The work aims to question the stereotypical imagery of men and celebrates the flamboyant and feminine side of the male.
In Sight of My Skin is an ongoing series of evocative and powerful nude portraits of women, the focus of which was to produce work that allowed her to share an experience with another women and to claim little authority for herself. From the safe position of the camera, Pattison discovered a new curiosity which drew her to bold, confident women and forced her to confront ideas about her own identity, becoming a collector, gathering images of women whose appearance and attitude she coveted. These beautiful portraits were taken in the sitter’s homes, conjuring an intimate atmosphere in which they appear completely at ease. Within the frame of each portrait there is a whisper of the domestic interior providing an insight into how Pattison perceived their world.
Levitation, Ice and the Limits of Reality is shot in Rio, Brazil, and is inspired by the novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. Pattison found inspiration in the natural world García Márquez describes in the novel – a real world setting combined with supernatural elements, enchantment and mystery. It is a reality where a woman levitates and disappears into the sky, but the event is described in a way that makes it seem as commonplace as the falling of rain. In this body of work Pattison does not re-stage events from the novel, she uses it as a springboard to provoke a playful and child like way of looking, resulting in beautiful and emotive imagery which is fantastical at times.
Pattison’s recent body of work, Rice Pudding Moon & The River of Dreams takes inspiration from the rich folkloric traditions of Punjabi loris particularly those sung by the Bazigar communities, the Sufi Saint Sakhi Sarwar and lullabies more widely recognised and popularised in Bollywood cinema.
The imagery of the lori is rich with cultural references. They allude to Punjab’s rural heritage: its fields of cotton and wheat, mothers spinning and weaving and homes where warm milk, ghee and sugary pinnis are consumed. But they also depict universal truths about a mother’s love for her child. In conceiving the work, Pattison wanted to play with these two essential elements. Her photographs whisper of a bygone time steeped in rural traditions and evoke warm earthy scents of fertile lands bathed in soft moonlight. Of little ones lying in their mother’s laps dreaming of the uncle in the moon, of pink balloons and delicious treats.
This body of work was exhibited in March 2018 as part of Girl Gaze: Journeys Through the Punjab & the Black Country, commissioned by Creative Black Country as part of Arts Council England and British Councils Re-Imagine India cultural exchange programme
Jennifer has received numerous awards internationally including second prize at the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012, first prize at the International Photography Awards 2013 (Lucies), Magenta Flash Forward emerging photography winner 2013 and Honorable mention, International Photography Awards, 2014.
Her work has been published in the Financial Times Magazine, Port Magazine and the British Journal of Photography among others.
In September 2014 she was invited by Brazilian collector Frances Reynolds to be artist in residence at Instituto Inclusartiz, Rio de Janeiro.
In 2017 Jennifer was commissioned by Creative Black Country as part of Arts Council England and British Councils Re-Imagine India cultural exchange programme, working in partnership with Multistory (UK) & Nazar Foundation (New Delhi). Earlier this year she was selected as one of the 100 winning photographers by The British Journal of Photography's Portrait of Britain. She is currently a tutor on the BA Hons Photography course at Coventry University.