Lily Wellan: Young Pembrokeshire Photographer

Lily Wellan

Do you remember Lily Wellan? We featured her and her photography in 2018, and one lucky reader won a photoshoot with this promising young photographer. Lily went away to study soon after but she agreed to keep in touch. 

After her first term, she reported that life at Falmouth University in Cornwall . was going well. “It wasn’t as big of a move as I thought it would be,” she told us partly because her brother Josh and two of her good friends from Pembrokeshire were also there.

The coast and landscape felt  just the same as Pembrokeshire too, and she made friends quickly. “Be yourself and you’ll attract the right people!” she told us, and the only challenge she reported was on budgeting in her new independent life   

Her  BA photography proved fun, if very technical and creative. She met the challenges to step out of her comfort zone using large-format cameras, and different ways of lighting inside and outside. Reflective surfaces such as a mirror and tinfoil remained of interest.

She was particularly inspired by the work of Man Ray and Jack Davison and she talked about working with moving images in the future.

“There is a lot of opportunities here!“ she explained. “And that’s something I really love, but it’s also something I find difficult. Some people really get stuck in and are constantly producing amazing work and exploring new cameras and techniques, and I would rather take my time in figuring out the basics.”

Lily loved the beauty of Cornwall and was happy in her studies, but she also missed her cat and her dog and her big comfy bed at home.

When we last spoke she was planning to get glittery and enjoy a summer of festivals. So how has she been since then and what is she working on now?

Over to Lily:

Unnamed image from Lily Wellan 2019

The time has flown. First year feels like a long time ago, I’m now almost halfway through my second year and I’m really loving it. My tutors are great and I feel my work has really developed.

I am currently living very close to Falmouth harbour in a house with nine other students. They are all really lovely and I get on with most of them. I’m also working in Falmouth at a gin bar which is fun.

With my work, I have started to look at things a bit closer than I was before. I am more patient and finding way more artists to inspire me than I did last year. I have looked at the work of Celine Marchbank. Her work Tulip is a beautiful observation of her mum’s battle with cancer. It’s such a difficult topic but she has captured the images in a gentle way.

I have also looked at the work of Paul Graham. TV Portraits inspired me to observe people more in their natural environment and that’s what I have been doing lately.

Cinematic shoot

I want to keep pushing my knowledge and the way I see things. I’m constantly walking through life now as though I could be taking photos of everything. I feel a lot more inspired than I did last year and I feel my eye has matured more.

I do still feel like I haven’t pushed myself to explore different cameras because I find it all so daunting, but it is on my to-do list before the year finishes! I’m also intrigued to play around with underwater cameras and surf housing. I think I could do some interesting stuff on models underwater

I do find that I shoot people a lot now. I have discovered that I’m really interested in people and what they do, mainly what they do when no one is around and when they are caught in a personal moment. A thought passing over their face – or laughing. Recently I have photographed my friend and she got goosebumps during the shoot. These are some of my favourite images.

I don’t want my photos to be obvious, I never have. I have always had a deeper intention with my work – this is why I enjoy my group crits and feedback from friends and family and tutors. You can hear everyone’s take on your work, how it affects them personally, and how their perspective alters the story you initially gave to the image.

Image from Lily Wellan 2019

I have realised that I use a lot of reflection still and motion blur. I love using the edge of mirrors or the texture on a window to create a portrait or a moody shot. I think to create an atmosphere is the intention that stands out the most in my work. I feel like I’m properly starting to have my own style with my work – it’s coming out more and more. I use a lot of zoom lenses and I love how they can create a blur around the frame of your image due to objects being in front of the lens.

I do love photography. I can see myself always taking photos but I don’t think I want to be confined in a studio. I see myself going freelance and travelling with it. But we shall see!

I don’t go back to Pembrokeshire very often anymore. I feel freer in Falmouth really, as it’s so much more accessible and there’s a lot going on here. The beach is a five-minute walk from my house.

I went home for Christmas but I think I’ll be staying in Falmouth again for summer to work – but also because I love it here. The sea turns turquoise and clear and it’s beautiful. 

Image Lily Wellan 2019

I have brought one of my closest friends to Pembrokeshire from uni. She is called Ashleigh and she is a lovely hippie gal, studying marine biology. She visited me during Christmas and we went out for the new year with our other housemate and my other close uni friend Tom who also lives in Pembrokeshire.

And we say:

Thank you, Lily. It’s wonderful to hear you are having such a happy time. I hope you don’t forget your Pembrokeshire roots entirely and that you keep in touch with us with all your news.

Kitty Parsons

Kitty Parsons

Kitty is an incomer, with five summers under her belt and the knowledge that even the wettest and greyest of winters have not diminished her love of Pembrokeshire. She knows she will never live long enough to be considered a local but hopes to leave some small mark through writing about this beautiful county and its people.

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