My creative process has always involved narratives as the basis of the photo, my aim has been to capture an emotional moment in a way that pulls the viewer in and drives them to feel and question what they are seeing. Up until recently I’ve drawn inspiration from my own personal experiences but in 2016 I decided to travel to Cuba to do a photo series exploring their culture and everyday life as it is now.
There were several enticing reasons why I picked Havana, the country has this nostalgic air to it seen through it’s architecture and social behaviours, the people have lived in a very different society than us and now it’s at a crossroads. It’s still unclear where the new open boarders will take it and how it’ll impact a country that has been cut off for so long.
I took a risk by going there with little contacts and not really knowing how I was going to produce a shoot. The first few days I devoured the streets totally entranced by the chaotic range of buildings, the varied styles all sitting next to each other, and the faded grandeur of a city once soaked in money and glamour. The vibrancy of the people oozes out of them in every sense, from the way they walk, dance, talk and laugh, they enjoy life and live in the moment.
I embraced their culture so I could react quickly to ever changing situations and connect with the people enough for them to trust me and give a part of themselves to the pictures. These images are little windows into Havana, and capture just a drop of the spirit you feel from the city and it’s people. Each picture is a story influenced by who I met and what I saw.
- Gillian Hyland
Gillian Hyland creates supernatural staged images, presented as film stills or dramatic moments. Hyland’s unsettling mise-en-scene are full of sex and desire, sadness and nostalgia. Narratives that are psychologically evocative - at once sublimely theatrical yet poignant.
Like Richard Avedon and Guy Bourdin, the mix of fashion and art has challenged us to accept stylised new ideas of femininity and masculinity, innocence and sensuality. Hyland describes herself as an image maker and story teller. Her dramatic photographs are based on her own poems, and depict characters in human dramas and isolated emotional situations. Frozen in time, solitary and vulnerable moments are presented in glorious technicolor and timeless sets.
“It’s not about creating a pretty picture, for me it’s the intention that lies beneath it that is truly worthwhile. I’m drawn to the thinking mind behind the face, the subjects eyes holding a story in their gaze, that is what I aim to capture through my photographs.”