Hazel Davies is a British photographer who works as a studio photographer on the boarders of Hampshire, Surrey, and Berkshire counties in SE England. She graduated with honors from the University of Portsmouth in 2008 with a BA in photography and is currently studying for her MA in Photography at Kingston University. Davies has a strong interest in the materiality of photographs, along with analogue and alternative processes.
Inspired by László Moholy-Nagy’s idea that “The main instrument of the photographic process is not the camera but the photosensitive layer," Davies creates Polaroid manipulations that portray the beauty of photographic chemicals and materials. Her work is a reaction and protest to the prevalence of digital photography that she believes is eroding the traditional craft of photography, ensuring that in the future the tradition will become a lost art. Her Polaroid manipulations were made without a camera using Impossible SX-70 film.
Davies creates her Polaroid manipulations by bursting the chemicals from the Polaroid pouch at the end of the film sandwich and then using uneven pressure to create patterns. Once the chemicals start to react and create an image, she splits the image open to enable faster drying of the chemicals - which fixes the picture into it's permanent form. Splitting the film leaves her with two non-typical positive and negatives. After creating her images she scans them into her computer and inverts each image, resulting in four images from one sheet of film to use for creation in post-production.
Her process may seem quick and easy, but there is a significant amount of painstaking trial and error in the creation of her pieces. The successful images are the ones reminiscent of a Rorschach test: there is always something new for the viewer to recognize. Davies' final images often resemble satellite images or extreme macro shots, capturing the beauty inherent in the photographic process.
She has exhibited photographic works in Portsmouth and London in Britain, and in Vermont and Hungary internationally. Davies is member of the OPSED collective, a group of British MA Photography students who launched their first publication in September, 2014. \