16 Dec 2020

2020: a snapshot from Carolyn Brown

Alumna Carolyn Brown, a photographer at Sass & Belle, has recently been working on a range of Christmassy photoshoots.

Carolyn, who graduated with a degree in Fine Art in 2014, works as a freelance photographer and for the gifts and homeware company, Sass & Belle.

Following a difficult year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, here Carolyn shares some festive cheer and an insight into life as a photographer in 2020.

What has been your work highlight of 2020, and why?

"The highlights every year for me at Sass & Belle have to be making our look books. We make three look books a year, including a Christmas one, and they take a lot of preparation. I love seeing them for the first time after they’ve been art-worked and printed for customers. It’s lovely seeing all the work come together.

"Another highlight at Sass & Belle is the merchandising at Trade Shows. The shows are a chance to see my work on display and in marketing materials, as well as getting the chance to style the stands. It also means I get to do a lot of travelling to places like Paris with a fun and talented team. Just before lockdown, we attended Show Up, a new show in Amsterdam. The walls of our stand were made up of giant prints of my imagery. It’s satisfying to see how much of an impact it makes on our branding."

How have you adapted your working life during the pandemic?

"I am fortunate enough that my studio is within walking distance from where I live in London. This means I have been able to continue to commute into the studio and work there safely by myself.

"Freelance wise, I have had a lot of enquiries for product photography from several small businesses. I think it’s lovely to see the number of small businesses emerging during this time."

How far in advance do you prepare for Christmas product launches?

"We prepare for Christmas over a year in advance. Right now I am working on the look book for Christmas 2021. It does sometimes feel strange to be working that far ahead but it is completely necessary. As we sell to trade customers, many of them will start buying for next Christmas as early as January. I often find myself decorating Christmas trees and throwing fake snow at baubles in the midst of summer heatwaves. Commentary of passers by almost exclusively includes ‘it’s a bit early isn’t it?’."

How creative can you be at this time of year?

"I am really lucky that I am able to take creative reign on the art direction. I can have fun and create charming narratives with the product because that is what the Sass & Belle brand aims to be."

What are you most looking forward to in the new year?

"I have recently been preparing for a number of on-location shoots for Sass & Belle for early next year. It will be so nice to spend time with the team again!"

Thank you to Carolyn for sharing an insight into her work as a photographer, and for sharing Christmas-themed photographs. You can see more of Carolyn’s work on Instagram.

Images: Carolyn Brown for Sass & Belle