Photography

Maddy Young reveals another world for LEAP

Ever feel like you could take your creativity further if you just had a bit of guidance? Our pals at Canon feel you, and they’ve totally got your back with their awesome LEAP initiative.

LEAP is a month-long plan to help aspiring and established photographers alike to take their skills and creativity to the next level by providing you with a brief for each day of September.

And far from being a solo pursuit, LEAP is all about establishing a community – you can check out what others have done with the brief and get ideas, inspiration and maybe even offer a few pointers yourself.

One awesome creative who’s getting involved is Melbourne-based illustrator Maddy Young.

We caught up with Maddy to talk about her love of plants, the challenges of branching out of illustration into photography and sculpture, and just how she got stuck into her brief of ‘reveal another world’.

What were your first thoughts upon getting this brief?

“Definitely to go towards plants, because I’m naturally drawn towards them.”

And how have you interpreted the brief for plants?

“I tried to bring plants into the more urban experience and every day – how we experience it and what we see, as opposed to how they exist in the real world.”

So how did you reveal another world?

“By creating a small world within an urban landscape, like a small microcosm of plants.”

How have you used your creative disciplines, like illustration?

“I just sort of went for the plants I enjoy – I spend quite a lot of time drawing plants, so it wasn’t that much of a stretch to put them in real life. Sometimes it’s easy to become removed from the things you draw, whereas experiencing them in real life is a bit different.”

And did having a specific brief help your focus?

“Having a specific brief definitely helped. It’s easy to become complacent when you’re creating – you don’t push yourself into certain angles. Someone telling you to push yourself that way allows you to create something you wouldn’t normally.”

Would you have done something like this if not for the brief?

“I don’t think so. It’s nice to actually go out in the world and create something that’s not pen on paper, to create something that’s more real and that you can see and touch and experience.”

Can you describe how you revealed a hidden world today?

“I tried to reveal a hidden world by creating a sort of plant-based portal – something spilling, like an abundance of natural flowers that you wouldn’t naturally see in an urban experience.”

What’s different about this photo in terms of your normal creative process?

“When I create I generally work within what I know, whereas today it was more a process of walking around and seeing what there was and working with materials, as opposed to coming towards something prepared.”

Do you think your background as a creative has helped with your concept and image?

“Having a creative background definitely helps when you’re trying to push your brain into different spaces. It’s good to have a little bit of practice in that area.”

Why do you think people should get involved with LEAP?

“It’s good to push yourself to do something that you wouldn’t normally. It’s very easy to get caught up in your own head when you’re creating, and sometimes having someone else tell you to create a certain way forces you to make something that you wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Tell us about the stage of this brief, from getting it, to ideating, to going to the florist this morning.

“When I initially got the brief I had a bit of panic – I wasn’t sure what to do. So I sat down to think about it, to really push my ideas and process them. Then naturally I went towards plants, because I enjoy drawing plants so much.

“We decided to go to the florists and pick up a bunch of flowers, which was really nice, and we tried to find a location that was suitable – somewhere that had nooks and crannies that we could adapt to, as opposed to creating something static. Then we made the sculpture…”

So tell us about the sculpture.

“I wanted to create a floral sculpture that was almost emerging from an urban landscape, something that you would stumble upon and feel like it wasn’t quite meant to be there. Like you were seeing something you’re not supposed to be seeing.”

And how do you feel about your final photo?

I feel really good about my final photo. It’s something I wouldn’t have normally created, but I’m happy with it.”

If you’re ready to think abstractly, push the boundaries, expand your creativity, and LEAP out of your comfort zone, then you can find out more about the Canon LEAP project here. Stay tuned to Lost At E Minor for more interviews and videos over the coming weeks with our creative guides.