Interviews Subscribers

An Interview With Dawn Eagleton

· 23.May.2024

In this month’s interview, Stephanie Baxter is chatting with Dawn Eagleton, a street photographer with a strong focus on candid portraits and capturing the unguarded moment. She absolutely loves colour and often plays with texture, light and contrast through her images.

Dawn, welcome to FujiLove! Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Hello, thanks for having me! I’m a street photographer originally from Essex in the U.K. I’ve lived in Devon with my husband and two daughters for almost nine years now. I started taking candid portraits of strangers six years ago; most of my early work was made in my home city of Exeter but during more recent years, I have started to explore other cities in the U.K., across Europe and New York and I love it.

How did you get started with photography and how has your work developed to where it is today?

There’s a long and a short answer to this! The long answer takes me back to 1994 on my 11th birthday when my parents bought me my first ever camera whilst on holiday in Blackpool. It was a very simple, cheap, plastic thing that flipped open at the back, you put the film in and off you went. I spent the whole afternoon completely immersed in taking pictures of animals and my family at the zoo – it was so much fun! When I got home to Essex, I had the film developed and lovingly put the photos into an album, which I have kept to this day. I remember this great feeling of having created something all by myself that I was proud of.

Growing up, we were very much a working-class family. My parents both worked very hard to provide for us; my dad had a factory job and my mum was in retail. However, they were both very creative people and I understood from a young age that their happy places were when they were being artistic in some way. For my dad, it was his love of singing and playing musical instruments, and he also quite often had a camera in his hand on our holidays. My dad bought pretty much every camera I ever owned during my adolescence and encouraged me to explore photography as a hobby. My mum was a very resourceful and creative woman; she could pull together an outfit on a shoestring and look a million dollars. Sadly, I lost them both to cancer within a year of each other in 2009 and 2010.

By this time, although I had studied film at university, I had fallen into a sales job and lost track of what my passions were, and these creative instincts had all but been quashed. After the loss of my parents, something shifted in me and in the following years I found myself reflecting on where I was going and what I was doing, particularly as they had died so young. During this time, I started to recall significant moments and feelings from my childhood such as that first camera, who my parents were, what made them happy and ultimately who I was and what made me happy. My parents not only left me with these wonderful influences and memories but also albums upon albums of family photos, which became significant to me and certainly planted the seed of how important and powerful photographs can be. The last birthday present my dad ever bought me was a compact camera to take to Rome.

By 2016 I still had £1000 left over in my bank account from the little bit of inheritance that my brother, sister and I had been left. My parents worked so hard for their money, I wanted to make sure that this last little piece from them was put towards something meaningful so I took my time to decide what this should be. I had no fixed plan but by this point, I knew instinctively that I wanted to invest in a good camera so I went into a shop and came out with a brand new Fujifilm X-T1.

This is an excerpt from an article by Rémi Bergougnoux in issue 98 of FUJILOVE MAGAZINE (May 2024). Subscribers, you can find this article by downloading this issue from your subscriber area.

You will find the remaining part of this article in FUJILOVE MAGAZINE.

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