Woman Crush Wednesday: Jasmine De Silva
Interview by Anna Robertson
Your photographs evoke such a eerie, science-fiction feel. How do you achieve this aesthetic throughout all of your work?
I think this sci-fi feel comes through in my work because a few years ago I became really interested in the futuristic notions of artificial intelligence. The idea that mankind’s own inventions could surpass us, became a bit of an obsession of mine. For my dissertation I researched sci-fi books and films spanning a century, and one of the more detailed areas that sparked an interest for me is the link to how, as human beings, we obsess over achieving perfection. Through these influences I enjoyed creating a subtle, artificial feel within the models or characters, as though something else controls them. I’m more attracted to the retro colourful aesthetics of sci-fi than cold stark visuals that are often projected. The colourful approach creates a false gloss over the dark reality that these films are trying to portray, and I love the feeling of a retro futuristic approach, almost projecting back in time to look at our future possibilities.
Your color schemes are incredibly impactful. I see a repetition of blues and pinks especially prevalent in your work. Can you describe why you are so drawn to these colors?
Thank you! I started off experimenting with colour in my lighting a few years ago, and gradually the fascination grew from adding it to the hair, makeup, styling and into building my own sets to extend the colour as far as possible. I think once you start working with specific colour palettes it’s quite addictive. I find it difficult to determine why I’m attracted to these colours initially, but perhaps because they’re quite dreamy and fantastical or artificial. Over the past year I have consciously started injecting extra colours to create a contrast to the blues and pinks, and gradually I hope I’ll get through the whole rainbow.
You are not only a photographer, but also a very successful filmmaker. What pulls you to photography and film? Do you think there are advantages to a still photograph over a film or vice versa?
Although film was always something I wanted to pursue, I started developing my photography first as a teenager. This allowed me the space to develop my own voice in my work, whilst studying at London College of Fashion. Creating short films then started naturally as an extension of my photography. I created my first short last year whilst studying my MA course, and to my surprise it has gained a really lovely response and has been screened at 9 festivals so far, including Aesthetica and London Short Film Festival. The film started off as a series of images which then grew into a moving piece. Since making it (How to Build Your Human) I’ve fallen in love with creating mini film ideas, and have produced two more so far, with a fourth I aim to make this year. I think an advantage of film is that it allows certain ideas and narratives to materialize in a way that still images won’t always allow. Alternatively, single images or series can be incredibly powerful by themselves and I love the immediacy of the impact of a photograph, which is different to the suspense of film. All my ideas start as a series of still photos in my head, and now I can’t help but see them moving, so I just feel like I have to do both, and I love doing both!
What inspires you to create these narrative-rich photographs?
I’ve always needed a concept and some sort of narrative to drive the images I create. It can be something incredibly simple but it helps create a story, which I then build the visual aesthetic layers on top of. My ideas used to be more abstract, but as I grew more confident with my own voice my work became more literal and, I believe that creating films has taught me to extend the narrative deeper within my images.
I always return to the sci-fi research influence connected with the human desire to achieve perfection. My aim is to continue creating a world of images and films with the idea of construction and reconstruction of the human form as a base storyline, extending and branching off into various avenues that relate back to this. This way each new image or series can always connect and grow into one lifelong project.
Describe your creative process in one word.
Captivating (for me!)
If you could teach a one-hour class on anything, what would it be?
I wish I was amazing at pool and then I would love to be able to teach it. Women always look pretty badass when they can play it well.
What was the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you?
The last book I read that I became completely obsessed with (read it in one day which I haven’t done for years) is Annihilation. I had seen the trailer for it and decided I really wanted to read the book first before watching. It’s amazing. The last film I watched that directly inspired some of my work, is Brazil by Terry Gilliam. It’s so surreal and incredibly full on. I had to watch it in two sittings to digest everything, but the plastic surgery scenes are my favourite parts.
What is the most played song in your music library?
When I grow up by Fever Ray. I force all my friends to watch the music video
How do you take your coffee?
Oat Milk Cappuccino (no chocolate)
To see more of Jasmine’s work, visit her website here