The latest in our series of creative profiles focusses on photographer Peyton Fulford.
Photography by Peyton Fulford
Interview by Emily Beard
Hi Peyton! Tell us a little about yourself for those who are unfamiliar.
I am a portrait and documentary photographer based in Georgia. I am currently in my final year at university where I am working towards a BFA in photography. My work, which is primarily shot with film, explores the idea of relationships and human interaction.
Does living in Georgia influence your work at all?
I do not think it influences the conceptual side of my work, but the landscape in Georgia does visually influence the kind of images I make.
You’ve recently started your ‘Abandoned Love’ series again, can you tell us a little about the project and what inspired it?
‘Abandoned Love’ is a participatory photo series in which I have people from all over the world send me private thoughts, diary entries, text messages, etc. As a way to share a private moment in a public space, I create bright-colored banners that juxtapose the usual celebratory text with melancholic messages to which I then place on similarly distressed, abandoned locations. The photographs collectively function as insight into the physical and emotional loss that people universally endure while in or out of love. Conceptually, this project was inspired by Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher’s ‘Learning to Love You More’ and Klaudija Visockyte’s ’Please Don’t Leave Me’ series
Is it quite cathartic/liberating putting such personal messages that are usually quite private into the open in such a bold way?
Yes, I think it is not only liberating for me but also for the person whose submitted phrase is literally being turned into a work of art. It not only helps that individual feel relief or a sense of closure, but it also helps others who see my work to know that they are not alone. Even if we are an ocean apart or a few miles away, we can relate to each other through an expression of feelings.
You’ve been taking open submissions for your newest series for ‘Abandoned Love’. Have any of the submissions surprised you?
Not yet. However, some of the submissions can break my heart a little when people include the background story. I think it is a beautiful experience to connect with so many and have the chance to read the love stories of different people from all over the world.
For your information, phrases can be submitted through DM on my Instagram @peytonfulford
The project has been going for a few years. Did the way it has connected with people surprise you?
Yes, almost two years to be exact. I definitely did not expect such a positive reaction, but I think the reception has definitely added to the concept of the series. I use phrases that are sent to me from different locations all over the world, so it is interesting to see the series being exposed through world-wide media. I am so happy that my work has touched so many people and helped others with their own relationships.
A big part of what make the images so striking are the surroundings. Do you scout the location for the image before or after you have the messages?
Most of the time I scout the location for the image before I have the messages, but sometimes a new submission could be sent after I have found a location. It just depends on timing.
What phrase would you love to take an image of that you haven’t already?
I’m going to keep that a secret for now.
Who else’s creative work do you enjoy?
Ana Kraš, Carlota Guerrero, Claire Cottrell, Molly Matalon, Nastassia Bruckin, Harley Weir, Tyrone Lebon, Olivia Bee, Ryan McGinley, Igor Pjörrt, Petra Collins, Francesca Allen, Nan Goldin, and all my friends who are creating incredibly inspiring work
What is your favourite song lyric?
Flowers bloom in less
What is your favourite emotion?
Happiness and the feeling of love (not particularly with another person but just with life in general)
And finally do you have any advice/mantra you live by?
If you work hard enough, you can do anything you dream of.