Artist Spotlight: Eliza Hatch
Following the latest instalment of It’s Nice That’s Nicer Tuesdays, we caught up with Eliza Hatch, a photo-journalist who’s created a platform to encourage discussion around harassment. Eliza’s success with the project comes at a time when more and more women are opening up about their own experiences of harassment, evidenced by the #MeToo campaign which continues to make headlines.
Here’s what Eliza had to tell us:
Adobe: Hi Eliza. Tell us a bit about what you do.
Eliza: I run a project called ‘Cheer Up Luv,’ where I interview and photograph women in public spaces and tell their stories of harassment.
A: How did ‘Cheer Up Luv’ come about?
E: I was told to cheer up on my way to a friend’s house. I’ve heard that many times before but this time it really irritated me. So, I chatted about it with my friends and we started comparing stories. It turned out they had all had many similar experiences themselves. One of my male friends couldn’t believe how prevalent it was.
I realised then that I wanted to help lift this veil of silence. I decided to do a bit of an experiment and so went out with a friend and stopped a few women on the street to ask them about their experiences. ‘Cheer Up Luv’ was borne out of that. It’s been so enjoyable to turn something negative into a positive, as it’s become a way to empower women to feel strong and be assertive, despite the harassment they may have suffered in the past.
A: There has been a lot of attention on harassment with the #MeToo campaign recently going viral. Do you think it marks a change towards attitudes around harassment of women?
E: I do, yes. It’s a shame that it had to take a Hollywood scandal to get people talking. But I’m glad women have made the decision to speak out and in turn encouraged others to do the same.
#MeToo was great in that it gave just the right amount of anonymity and brought everyone together without having to say much.
A: Did you always want to be a photographer?
E: No, not at all. It happened by accident. I studied Visual Communication and that involved doing almost everything; Website design, illustration, set design. Photography only became something I used recently, for ‘Cheer Up Luv,’ as I felt it was the right medium to use given the subject matter.
A: What else are you working on at the moment?
E: I’m working in collaboration with Gina Martin who is leading the anti- up-skirting campaign, to make it illegal for people to take photos up skirts. It’s not illegal at the moment, can you believe it!
I’ve been working with her and Refinery 29 on a series of photographs of women who have had that experience. It’s out now so I’d encourage people to check it out!
A: Do you use Adobe products to edit your work and if so, how?
E: Adobe products are at the centre of every piece of work I do. I use Photoshop to edit all my images and InDesign to lay them out on my website and make my website exports.
A: What would be your top tip for anyone that wants to get into Photography?
E: Find something that you’re passionate about capturing. That’s all it is. You need that passion, drive and substance. Otherwise… it’s just a picture.
A: How can photography help to empower women or any other victim of discrimination?
E: I think being photographed can be quite therapeutic for women, particularly in this project as they are using the photo as a platform to speak out and feel confident. I think photography overall plays a big part in women owning themselves again, especially if they’re in control.