Hello! I’m Joceline Phillips, Hywel’s wife and his assistant (though not, to be perfectly honest, on every dawn shoot. I do not love them).
I thought I’d share a little about why we’re doing what we’re doing, because the story behind the art work can often give such interesting insight into why it looks the way it does.
So. Hywel and I lived together in the south east of England, where we’d both been based for our entire adult lives. Hywel’s originally from Wales, and I grew to love it too, on our frequent walking trips in Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons. We took a long road trip from the north to the south of Wales one autumn, and honestly, it felt a little sad to come home to the busy, built-up bit of Berkshire where we lived.
Hywel was already working as a studio photographer, and I’m a model, working all over the UK and around the world. In 2013 we had a location shoot trip in Shropshire and we talked a little about how nice it’d be to live somewhere so quiet and beautiful.
Suddenly we realised that it didn’t really matter where we lived! Hywel works from home, I work everywhere. We didn’t really need to be in the south east any more. So we started looking for houses. Ours sold immediately, and we found a lovely house surrounded by hills, just over the Welsh border.
We moved in the summer of 2014, and we found ourselves spending more and more time outdoors. Hywel started camping out on the hills, and couldn’t help but take his camera with him. Hywel does not like to do things half-heartedly. Suddenly new bits of camera kit seemed to be arriving by post every day. They were followed by a printer. Which was followed by a BIGGER printer. Then a camper van turned up.
And somehow, it seemed wrong to be doing so much photography indoors when we’re surrounded by so much natural beauty. So alongside our ‘day jobs’ we’ve launched this little company. We still do shoot commercial stuff with models, but shooting landscapes too makes us happy.
Hywel’s pictures feel to us like our emotional response to the surroundings we find ourselves in. After living in London, the emptiness, tranquility and wildness of mid-Wales makes me feel connected to the land in a way I’ve never felt before. And making art reflecting this feeling seems the right response. If we can give people the same feelings when they look at Hywel’s pictures, we’ll be very happy, and all the early mornings, damp bivvi bags, and worried conversations about picture frames will be totally worth it :)