Best of British: Artist Photographs by Naomi Woddis

Naomi Woddis has frequently displayed her photographs of writers in the UK, usually during readings throughout London. A writer as well as a photographer, her Poetry Mosaic website is viewed internationally, and she hosts the radio magazine “The Conversational” on Reel Rebels Radio. For our Femficatio Pictorial, Naomi describes the history around 7 photographs of writers in the British arts community.

Malika Booker. Photograph by Naomi Woddis. "Malika and I had just finished a shoot and were walking back to Brixton tube when I spotted this alleyway with graffiti. It is one of my favourite shots of her as she looks so vibrant and cool. Everything came together, the location, the lighting of course Malika herself!"

Malika Booker, writer and multidisciplinary artist. “Malika and I had just finished a shoot and were walking back to Brixton tube when I spotted this alleyway with graffiti. It is one of my favourite shots of her as she looks so vibrant and cool. Everything came together, the location, the lighting and of course Malika herself!”

When I first moved from film to digital I was pretty overwhelmed as it is such a different medium. I had been used to shooting exclusively on Black and White so adjusting to seeing colour as part of both composition and narrative was a big  learning curve for me. Heather is a very open person and did not me getting up close. I was transfixed by her blonde hair and red lipstick and think she looks a bit 'Bardot-esque' here.

Heather Taylor, writer and filmmaker. “When I first moved from film to digital I was pretty overwhelmed. It is such a different medium. I had been used to shooting exclusively on Black and White so adjusting to seeing colour as part of both composition and narrative was a big learning curve for me. Heather is a very open person – she din’t mind me getting up close. I was transfixed by her blonde hair and red lipstick and think she looks a bit ‘Bardot-esque’ here”.

Rachel Mars, live performance, comedy writer. “Rachel is a good friend, a very witty and sparkling woman. I chose Black and White because I wanted a simplicity in the image and to show a side of Rachel which is not always seen, a quiet and more contemplative aspect of her nature. It is very shallow focus so there are no distractions at all.”

I have to admit I love taking photos of Anthony. He is so relaxed in himself and has a natural poise which cannot be faked. As soon as he picked up the Bill Brandt book of photography I knew I had to respond by picking up my camera. As well as being a portrait of Anthony it is also my sneaky thank you to Bill Brandt for the inspiration he has given me.

Anthony Joseph, poet, novelist, musician, and academic. “I have to admit I love taking photos of Anthony. He is so relaxed in himself and has a natural poise which cannot be faked. As soon as he picked up the Bill Brandt Book of Photography I knew I had to respond by picking up my camera. As well as being a portrait of Anthony it is also my sneaky thank you to Bill Brandt for the inspiration he has given me.

This was taken a few years ago on National Poetry Day. Jill and I were sitting down and chatting and I had not intended to do an official 'shoot' at all but the moment called for it. Sometimes the best photographs arrive without warning and, as a photographer, you just have to be ready when they do !

Jill Abram, poet. “This was taken a few years ago on National Poetry Day. Jill and I were sitting down and chatting and I had not intended to do an official ‘shoot’ at all but the moment called for it. Sometimes the best photographs arrive without warning and as a photographer, you just have to be ready when they do!”

Cathy was the perfect subject, the colours she was wearing perfectly complimented her complexion. I was really enjoying using my 50mm lens as it allows for a quiet intimacy. I tend not to like to much detail in my portraits as I like the sitters face to tell us what we need to know about them. It was an enchanted shoot and I got a much greater average number of shots I was really pleased with, thanks to Cathy of course and her open-ness and generosity.

Cathy Fitzgerald, visual poet and filmmaker. “Cathy was the perfect subject. The colours she was wearing perfectly complimented her complexion. I really enjoyed using my 50mm lens as it allows for a quiet intimacy. I tend not to like too much detail in my portraits as I like the sitters face to tell us what we need to know about them. It was an enchanted shoot and I got a much greater average number of shots I was really pleased with, thanks to Cathy of course and her openness and generosity”.

I took this some time ago and I can see how my technique and approach has changed. Quite a few photos of writers have them looking serious (my portfolio included) and I like the breadth Jaqueline's wonderful smile. A real antidote to the usual author shot.

Jacqueline Saphra, poet. “I took this some time ago and I can see how my technique and approach has changed. Quite a few photos of writers have very serious faces (my portfolio included). In this, I like the breadth of Jaqueline’s wonderful smile. A real antidote to the usual author shot.”

Photo of Naomi by Yemisi Blake

Photo of Naomi Woddis by Yemisi Blake

Naomi Woddis is a British writer, photographer and radio presenter. She has been Poet in Residence at Culpeper Community Garden, Islington, London, United Kingdom.