2015 Artists Alliance Mentee Profile | Denise Batchelor

How would you describe your practice?

My practice is inseparable from my daily life and my camera usually goes everywhere with me. As a digital artist, I capture still and moving images from my immediate surroundings. This might include anything from domestic or wild animals/birds/insects to a dripping faucet. I usually don’t know what my subject is until right before I’m reaching for my camera and enjoy working with the unknown rather than pre-planning. I try to stay as flexible as possible as even when I have an idea of what might lie ahead, I find it often changes in the moment, and I’m led to something other.  I alternate between spending time in the field gathering new material and editing back in the studio (these days my studio consists of a laptop and wherever I can plug in), however the editing process is a minimalist affair, as I prefer to be out in the field.

What are you currently investigating?

I’m currently examining the subject of breath and observing the free-divers of Vertical Blue, an international free-diving competition (currently taking place at Long Island in the Bahamas). While I’ve looked at the subject of breath previously in my work, this is the first time filming under water, and I find it’s informing my practice in new and unexpected ways. On my return to New Zealand, I will continue this body of work while working with my brother who has been a commercial free-diving paua fisherman for over forty years.

What’s your most productive time of day?

For capturing footage or photography, either early morning or late afternoon. I dislike the harshness of the light in the middle of the day. For researching, writing or editing, I prefer working in the wee hours when the rest of the world is fast asleep. I’m essentially a night owl and work well at this quieter time.

Do you have any specific goals that you hope to achieve while on the program?

In the beginning I had an idea of what I hoped to achieve on the program, but already this is changing. My mantra is to ‘trust in the process’ and I try to embrace this in everything I do. When I first got started in photography, I was mentored for two years by a master photographer in California. I could never have conceived of what riches that relationship would deliver in terms of experience and knowledge, and so I tend not to be too specific in my goal setting and to keep an open mind.

And finally, how do you take your coffee, tea, or favourite beverage?

Well, I don’t drink coffee even though I love the smell. I prefer herbal teas without sweetening and every morning I start my day with fresh squeezed lemon and warm water.


Bahamas - Denise Batchelor