We catch up with London babe Millie in her creative spaces, as she launches issue 1 of a project close to her heart, SEINE.
I am creatively driven by women. Perhaps the reason for this is that I was raised solely by my mother, the most inspirational woman in my life.
When developing the concept for the first issue of SEINE, I wrote a list of all the creative individuals I wanted to feature, men included. My friend Rauwanne looked at me and said, matter-of-factly, “just do women”. Women have always influenced my work: Patti Smith, Sally Mann, Francesca Woodman, Elena Tonra, Sarah Moon, and each of the artists profiled in SEINE. These women inspire me. So I wanted it to be a celebration of them in an exploration of their creative spaces.
The notion of space subconsciously began with water. I spent the first part of my life by the sea in Queensland, Australia, and I always loved to swim. Last year, for a period, I felt unhappy and lost. Throughout that time, I had so much support from the women closest to me – my mother, my best friends, my therapist and my boss. One woman advised that I made sure to reintroduce something in my life that would make me happy. Swimming was a natural outlet for me, so I started again – three or four times a week, until it became a part of my daily routine. Its vast nature inspired me to think, evaluate and heal; it was a place where time stood still.
Water became my space.
SEINE Issue 1:
SEINE initially began as a part of my final year project at Central Saint Martins in London, where I will be graduating from next month. I wanted to produce something in print that combined my strengths in photography and art direction. The concept grew from a desire to document the different creative spaces that women inhabit, as they have always been an integral part of my work, either as a photographic subject or a sole inspiration.
Issue one explores interviews and portraits of nineteen women within their ‘space’ which varies from studios to baths, swimming pools and airports.
“We used to see all the fashion designers, Serge would take me to see them. We sat on little gilt chairs and then the models would come just for us and I’d be able to choose the dress for New Year’s Eve. There was one, terribly tight on the sleeve, and I said, ‘I won’t be able to go chin chin with my glass with you for the New Year’. He said ‘Well it’s just more attractive when it’s a tiny bit too short. If we have it made just right, maybe you’ll lose the charm.’ And he was quite right.”
“I think it’s really interesting what people wear and why. Even if they think they are hiding, or if they think they’re disappearing, or if they think they are being a soldier or if they’re wearing a uniform. I think it’s really interesting that everybody is telling their story through the signs and signifiers of what they’re wearing. Whether the collar is turned up on their shirt, or something isn’t ironed, how their shoelaces are tied up… everything. Everybody carries their story with them.”
“I’m a reluctant director. I really like to get information about my subjects. Those early years at Rolling Stone were amazing because I got to observe what was going on. I think being a woman and being young, no one paid me any attention which was wonderful – you just got away with murder. You shot whatever you wanted. No one thought anything was going to come out of the camera, it was great.”
“There is such a historical connection between women and water. In indigenous cultures, women are predominantly the water bearers and that was really interesting to explore how that impacts a society. I loved living by the sea. It was surreal, having this big beautiful monster so near, and when the weather was really tumultuous you were reminded of its power and how destructive it can also be. So there is this divine respect that one has to have for the sea.”