Noelle Swan Gilbert

Based in Los Angeles, Gilbert is a fine art and documentary photographer who likes to also incorporate moving images alongside her still images when showing her visual stories. In 2007 her sister was murdered, leaving a grave loss in the family. She did a project ‘Life After Death: How Murder Affects A Family’ documenting the lives of the children who’d lost their mother. This project opened Los Gilbert’s eyes to how precious each moment we have is and never to take that for granted which inspired her to do a project on her own children, ‘Right Now, This Is The Way It Is’. Her work has had a lot of recognition as she was a Critical Mass finalist in 2010 and in 2011 she was nominated for the Santa Fe Prize in Photography for Right Now. Noelle is a founding member of SIX SHOOTERS, a group of six female photographers engaged in a daily photographic dialogue, as well as the copy editor and a staff photographer for Lenscratch, a daily journal that explores contemporary photography.

‘Right Now, This Is The Way It Is’, a fine art series documenting insignificant yet moving moments in a teenager’s lives. It gives us an inside to the world that her daughters and their friends live in, capturing a range of emotion. She feels these everyday moments in each of their lives to be just as important as the next, taking nothing for granted. She wants to capture the moment and all the emotions within before it’s gone as she believes ‘it’s a world where black and white dreams turn into colour and it only happens once.’ This is the only world she knows and capturing it and sharing it with others who have a completely different world is important to her, especially if it can inspire others to never take their moments for granted.

As she is documenting the modern world it’s appropriate that here images are in colour, bringing the bright youth to shine through. I really like how the colours complement each other in an image, she has made sure there were no clashing colours or colours that stood out over the rest, distracting the image. She is always making sure to change her view point, cropping and angles to make every image unique. I feel this makes the series even stronger as it makes every image interesting, having her subject in the centre of the fame in one image then incorporating the rule of thirds shows she’s really thought about every shot. I do like how some of the images are wide angle setting a whole scene through a distanced shot and other images have the framed filled with one or two items but the image is still able to set the scene just like the wide shot, just in a different way. Having all the images cropped as squares helps unify her project, where she has so many different locations and subjects having that same crop can help tell the story in a way that we can understand. She uses the day light a lot to light her images which I feel is the best when taking documentary images as you don’t want them to look staged, all her images are all taken in the moment, allowing them to be real and free. In some of the images that have one main focus she uses a low aperture so the subject will be the main focus. She also makes sure that in the wider shots she makes sure the image is all in focus, using a higher aperture. Looking at her whole series you get a playful happy feeling from it, which is what he wanted to portae.

What I love about this series is how true it is, as everyone was kid ones so can relate to the joyous moments Gilbert has captured. She makes a point to make every image different than the last by changing the angles, depth of field and framing which I love. Even though every image is different she still manages to unify the whole series but allowing all the colours with their saturations to flow together nicely that combined with the square crop and carefree teenage sprit pulls everything together well. Her images make me, as the viewer, to go out and enjoy life while I still can, appreciating every moment, which is such a powerful notion. Within my images I want to capture the life of my teenage friends in a way that will give inside to how everyone lives a different life but we can all come together and enjoy it. I want to tell my viewers, through my images, to appreciative the life that they have with the people who mean a lot to them, as well as making sure we keep some time to ourselves to reflect and rebuild.


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