Sarah Eastcott is an artist who understands the beauty in the everyday. The Australian photographer shoots ordinary things in extraordinary ways, giving viewers the chance to see all sides of her life, from the calm of family homes to the excitement of unexpected adventures. We spoke to Sarah about the thrill of shooting film, keeping things simple and creeping around people’s gardens.
Hi Sarah. Where are you from, where are you based and what do you do outside of photography?
Hi! I’m from South Western Australia and have been living in Perth for the past 8 years. Outside of photography I work in recruitment for the mining industry, hiring workers for a natural gas project in Darwin.
When did you begin shooting, what made you start and what has driven you to continue?
I have a clear memory of being about 4 or 5 and asking my mum to buy me a plastic camera from the little corner store. I remember walking around taking photos, probably of flowers and my dog! I always had simple cameras growing up and got really into disposable cameras in high school, I took them everywhere. I studied photography in my last year of high school but found film SLR’s cumbersome and never really took to it like I did my quick and easy little disposables. When digital came along it kind of killed my joy for photography because getting the film developed was the most exciting part for me! Plus with digital the ability to see the photo instantly, delete it, take it again, it really killed my creative eye as well. I love that with film you have one chance to get the picture right, then you have to wait for the film to come back to see if it actually worked out the way you visualised.
I took a fairly long siesta from photography until about 5 years ago when my younger brother started shooting with disposables. I had practically forgotten they existed. His photos looked great and it really inspired me to pick it up again. Since then we’ve both been developing our styles and have progressed from disposables and holgas to more ‘legit’ cameras!
I’ve been increasingly inspired and passionate about shooting over the past few years, I think it’s because it has made me see the world around me in such a different light. I always see beauty in little things I would probably have never noticed before and it’s given me a greater appreciation and love for the city and country I call home.
What do you shoot on?
I take all my photos using point and shoot or Rangefinder cameras. It’s partly due to laziness and mostly due to the fact I like to take really quick snaps when I’m walking my dog without having too much control over the image. I guess I started out with really simple, cheap cameras and I like the effects they give an image, I think the photos I take suit that kind of amateur vibe, if that makes sense! It’s also much easier to throw a little rangefinder in my bag or pocket and quickly pull it out to snap a picture of someone’s house or cat or dog - things haven’t changed much since I was 4.
I have a big collection of cameras now, but my favourite would have to be my little Olympus Mju ii. It’s a small camera with a nice wide lens, from around 1997. It takes the most beautiful, sharp photos and is so tiny I just have it in my bag all the time. I do like a bit of light leak and other magical film ‘defects’ so actively seek out expired film or old cameras with a worn out seal. I recently bought an old Konica Pop on ebay that lets in tons of light so the photos always have lots of fun surprises when they are developed.
Over what span of time were these photos taken? What make them stand out from your other shots?
These images are some of my favourites from the past couple of years, taken with various cameras including my Olympus mju ii, Yashica t4, disposable and a plastic camera my cousin bought me from an op shop.
I really love taking photos of everyday things that I might see beauty in as I’m walking past them, like the pink tiles of my brother’s bathroom or the light shining through the curtain in our old family home. I go through little phases of being really into certain things, like the little delicatessen shops that are typical of Perth, or palm trees or other various kinds of plants. One of my favourite subject matters is other people’s houses; I’m a bit of a borderline trespasser. I also love unusual or opportunistic photos, like the plane flying low over my head or the picture of an iron ore mine I took with a disposable camera a few years ago. I was working as a cleaner on a mine site in the North of WA and one of the workers let me go up to the top of the plant to take my picture. Photos like that are special to me because they’re a snapshot of a crazy or unusual place you will never see again.
How do you think your work is affected by sharing it online?
Sharing my photos online has had a really positive effect on my work; it’s really constructive to have almost instant ‘feedback’ on your photos. Sometimes I’m really surprised when I post a photo I might think is a bit mediocre, but people seem to love it. The same goes for the other way around as well! There is a strong community of film shooters on Instagram and everyone is so supportive and willing to share tips and tricks, answer questions or just be generally encouraging and awesome. I’m constantly inspired by the film photographers I follow and it makes me happy to think I might inspire them as well.
What, if any, would you consider to be the perfect shot?
A photo that’s a bit quirky or funny yet beautiful, with some nice light and grainy film.
Is there anyone you’d like to shout out?
I’d like to shout out to my brother Sam Eastcott for inspiring me with his awesome work, and to my fiancé Nic for being such a creative and supportive presence in my life, and for keeping watch for me while I creep around people’s gardens to photograph their rose bushes.
Check out more of Sarah's work: @sezzyfilmy