At the end of last year, Ultravenus was lucky enough to catch up with creative sweetheart Kerry Lockwood, to talk about hair, analogue photography, and why she is moving away from her successful blog “Yours Truly”. This was our conversation.
On a cold but bright November afternoon, Kerry and Sian sat down with a hot coffee in a vibrant, bustling, independent cafe in Reading.
UV: You seem like an extremely creatively minded person. In all the years I have known you, and have followed your presence online, you always seem to have one project or another on the go. Could you give us a brief timeline of some key projects?
KL: I think that anyone who endeavours to be a creative person knows that you are not creative all the time! And that 9 times out of 10 you wake up and have to get up and go to work, to do what you need to do to pay the bills. So, on those rare days that do come along where you have that creative spark, they are really precious and you have to really hold onto those. That being said, I do try to document my way of life in a creative way, like- holiday photos, I try not to take the standard “standing in front of a building”, I try and get something a bit different going on there.
But, projects… the blog was a huge one, and that’s over….and I’m really glad it’s over. I’m not ashamed of it, or resentful of it in any way. I’m just glad I’m not the face of my own creativity any more.
UV: Why is that?
KL: It just got really monotonous. I felt really obliged to keep it going, I felt like I had a duty.
UV: You had a huge following.
KL: Yes. I mean there are those out there who have bigger followings, and who are committed to being professional bloggers, and I started meeting them- bloggers who i had massive respect for, but there are people who make it more of a business, and that wasn’t really my thing. I didn’t want to be in photos any more, I didn’t want to be tiptoeing on my own vanity any more. Being the face of my own creativity, I wanted it to be more than posing for and editing photos and talking about what I’m wearing.
UV: You spent a good few years running Yours Truly, though. What was the driving force behind this?
KL: The blog started as a portfolio when I finished uni. I began using it in much the same way that people use Tumblr or Pinterest now- christmas wish lists, things that I liked, things like that. Eventually my own style slowly started creeping into it, I’d get people to take photos of what I was wearing, and I’d post that. Then, in the past two years, it became this very well-oiled machine, very much had a certain style, a certain voice, there were definite things that I would include, and things that I wouldn’t.
UV: Like what?
KL: Well, in real life I am quite “sweary”- I’m a bit of a potty-mouth! And that definitely never came across in the blog.
People always said that when they read it, it was like I was talking to them, and I did try to keep it kind of conversational and lighthearted…
UV: Yeah, I would agree with that- it was always lovely to read…is it still up?
KL: Yes! Yeah, it’s still there- I’m not taking it down. It’s a good testament or diary, I don’t want to lose it for my own sake, it would be great to look back on.
UV: Yeah, and like you said, it began as a portfolio- and what a portfolio.
KL: It got out of hand!
UV: In terms of your sense of style, how does that relate to your creative process, and what are your inspirations?
KL: You know, I used to think- its something I’ve just let go of, maybe with the ending of the blog….but I used to think that to be taken seriously as a creative person, you had to always be looking SO creative…crazy hair, or great make up, well thought-out clothes…in 2014, I went to Stockholm, in the summer, and everything there is just so simple, and clean, and minimalist, and something just clicked in me. I think it was a route I was going down anyway- but now I am all about clean lines, a good cut, great fabric, great quality…it’s a bit of a turn around from the pin rolls and getting dressed up!
UV: But all part of the motions, I guess…
KL: The way I dressed when I was 18 and listening to local punk bands, the way I dressed when I was 25 and really into the 40s and 50s, and where I’m at now…I kind of feel like this is where I’ll settle.
UV: What age are you now?
KL: 28….I don’t think I’l permanently settle, but this seems like the route I will be following.
UV: It’s really nice as a fellow creative person to hear what you just said..it never gets said! “you can look really boring” or “you can have a day job”….and still be creative! I guess its what people project…All you ever see is people looking amazing, and doing really well with their own creative endeavours…
KL: Social media is SO deceptive! And I can let you in on a huge secret… sometimes, I’m posting things and I’m sat at work! I’m not actually sat having a sandwich in a nice cafe, but I’m doing that to keep the feed flowing properly.
UV: Well that definitely makes me feel a lot better to hear that from someone else.
You recently decided to take a hiatus from blogging, so can you tell us about any current projects?
KL: Well, I’ve been teaching myself analogue photography- trial and error, as I never formally studied it. Three cameras down, I finally found the camera that works for me! And I think I’ve got a pretty good idea about lighting and things like that. My interest has always been people and their stories, thats where I eventually want to go with this, and I’ve got a much bigger project down the line that I am nowhere near ready to talk about yet… not a case of me being private, it’s just not ready yet!
But for now, I have decided to throw myself into zines. So I have a series of three in mind: “The Real Women”, “The Real Men” and “The Real People”…the first one is loosely based on how “The Real Woman” is portrayed in the media, and the pressure we all feel to be hairless, and to be curvy but not to be fat, and it’s all just a bit too much being shoved down our necks. So I set out to photograph eight women, and I honed in on a particular part of that, and that would be hair in this case, and put it open to discussion for them to talk about their hair, and anything they could bring to the table in how their hair has made them feel and got them through their life. I interviewed my sister, who has recently had alopecia, and she felt this great strain to have long hair….that seems to be a common thread, people wanting their hair to be longer, feeling like girls have to have long hair to be feminine. It’s nice when people break that mould a little bit, I think.
UV: Have you found anything which you have personally found really eye opening? Something you had never even considered before?
KL: I don’t know, it’s hard because I have had lots of different hair styles in the past, and I am not too precious about my hair- if the right cause came tomorrow I’d shave it off again, it doesn’t bother me. But, I think whats nice is seeing how “not bothered” about it some people are. There is this huge expectation that, if it’s going grey, or you’re having a bad hair day, or “I was born ginger and mocked my entire life, and now I’m dying it to make it more ginger”…its nice when people just embrace it and go with what they’ve got.
UV: It’s nice that you say that, it’s nice that that’s the general consensus…I was such a slave to my hair for such a long time, it feels very relevant to now be able to say that women can embrace and be beautiful with whatever they have. So, why hair?
KL: I couldn’t tell you! There was a slight personal thing- I’ve had very long hair, very short hair, coloured hair, but I think it’s something accessible, you can change it and make it your own. I toyed with the idea of body image but was worried about people feeling judged by the physicality of their body, something out of their control. You can change and put your own stamp on your hair, but your body- it’s harder to do that. It’s a big step for self esteem- the idea of a “good hair day”, they are very rare, but when they come along….you feel great.
UV: What draws you to photography, and have you explored any other mediums?
KL: Well, I love writing too. And that’s kind of going alongside of this, I will be writing a piece in each zine documenting where I was and what I was doing. I don’t want to dictate too much what people take away from it, but I do want to guide and explain…this is the path I was going down, this is what I wanted to achieve. But to me, film photography has so much more heart than digital. I wanted something a bit more challenging, a little less perfect, maybe.
UV: have you got any advice for any aspiring creatives out there?
KL: DO IT! Get out and do it! I never feel better than when I spend the morning having a nice breakfast, thinking about what I am going to do with my day, then I go out and shoot, and it feels great- you come home and feel fulfilled, and when you get your film back from being processed and you find a shot you are proud of, it feels awesome. And when you start hearing feedback from other people- a magazine has just asked if they can print some of my work, and I’ve had feedback from other bloggers, it feels great. But the biggest thing is…don’t compare your beginning to somebody else’s middle! I keep having to tell myself that one. I think everyone could use hearing that every once in a while.
UV: and finally….what is your ideal soundtrack for a rainy Sunday?
KL: Well, I have a record player….I try and listen to as much new music as possible, playlists on Spotify and so on… but a rainy day, I’d probably put on a vinyl….it would have to be: Leonard Cohen- Songs From The Road, Karen O- Crush Songs, and Edith Piaf! In the rain, perfect.
Keep your eyes peeled for more from Kerry in the future- we would love to catch up with her when her zines are released. For now, you can explore Kerry’s creative archive at http://www.yourstrulyxblog.com/