Take Five with Adele Watts
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Take Five with Adele Watts

Adele Watts on Take Five blog for Catching Fireworks

Adele Watts  is a London based photographer. Graduating in 2004 from Southampton Solent University with a First Class honours degree in Photography, Adele has continued to enjoy extensive experience and success as a practitioner, developing personal projects alongside facilitating participatory photographic projects, both nationally and internationally. She is the founder of Disposable, a photography collective and participatory project that aims to support people affected by homelessness through creative engagement with photography and art practice. Disposable’s first exhibition took place at GLO’s outreach venue in Soho in April 2013, followed by a pivotal exhibition at Four Corners Gallery, Bethnal Green in October 2013.     

Adele has recently completed a commission with Oasis Belgium, an organisation working with other organisations who work with trafficked, exploited and isolated people throughout Brussels and the surrounding towns. In 2013 they resolved to raise money and awareness about the serious criminal and human rights issues that people trafficking highlights, by running sponsored races along key international human trafficking routes. Her challenge was to visually express the humanity of the individuals Oasis Belgium work with whilst protecting their identities. She developed the concept of using orange balloons to obscure the sitters' faces that chimed with the campaign’s symbolic action of releasing balloons to represent the individuals they support.

In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?
I enjoy meeting new people and I enjoy working with a variety of people. I get to meet lots of fantastic people with the work that I do.

Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?
I have had many creative heros/heroines throughout my lifetime and many people have influenced me greatly along the way to now, so it would be would be hard to name one or even a few! 

Relatively recently I have been inspired the exhibition of William S. Burroughs; Taking Shots at The Photographers Gallery, particularly being drawn to his collage works and the presentation and curation of his vast collection. 

What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?
I think I have been given some great advice at the beginning of my career, but I would perhaps emphasise - Be yourself, show your personality through your work, don't give up and create for yourself a niche, a style that sets you apart from others and makes you and your work instantly recognisable.

If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?
Talk to others - people that you feel comfortable with and who believe in you and your work. Chat to friends/peers and fellow professionals you admire.

Also I suggest seeking out a professional mentor. The artist Ania Dabrowska has mentored me over the past year, which has been a fantastic support for my professional development.

I also head to galleries, particularly The Photographers Galley and book fairs. I love them!
And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?
I would be the humble flip-flop. They're relaxed, comfortable, open, easy-going and spend a lot of time at the beach! 

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