IN_THE_MIRRORI was born in December 1942. Pure and simple – I take photographs. I have taken photographs for much of my life; first as a child with the family Box Brownie then through a series of second-hand cameras and various night classes and now as a storyteller using images.

It was while working with the photographer Geoff Turner studying for a City and Guilds in black and white photography that I started to refine my work and  became a licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society.

Around the same time, I started taking photographs of the work of Action Transport Theatre,  an Arts Council England funded professional theatre company for young people based in Cheshire. I was interested in the whole process of making theatre from the first ideas of the writer, through the development with a creative team to the finished production and audience response.

I became ATT’s in-house photographer and the result over the years has been a huge archive of the company’s work and a bank of images for marketing and exhibition. The first images I took used BW film processed by me in the darkroom and colour shots processed commercially.

Then the digital revolution opened up a whole new way of working, giving me not only the opportunity to take a substantial amount of images from which to select the best but also the means to organise an archive of all my work. Although advances in digital technology have given me a great freedom to experiment, I  use the basic techniques I used in my work with film in the darkroom. I only ever use available light and do not manipulate my images digitally although some have been turned into graphic art for marketing purposes by others.

Not all of my work is about theatre but, almost without exception, it is  about storytelling. Sometimes the recording of the process of a piece of theatre spills out into the stories behind the story. My own work has been influenced particularly by Brassai, Humphrey Spender and Jane Bown.  They  show an interest in the story behind the image and this is a style that I have developed myself.

I have travelled to South Africa a number of times to record theatre work in Soweto and been drawn into the stories of people who might be actors, writers, musicians or audiences. What has emerged is a powerful story of people desperate to talk about their struggle through the medium of music, dance and theatre in a culture that is rich in talent but poor in opportunity.

The number of stories I have captured in images also tells part of my story as a photographer. Each story is represented by a series of images; the places I have travelled to, the people I have met and sometimes been inspired by – and of those who were barely aware that I was photographing their ‘moment’.

Each  of these stories, its background and context, appears from time to time as a virtual exhibition. Comment is welcome but not mandatory! My intention is to share my enjoyment and focus on untold stories; often to give the voiceless a voice.

28 Comments Add Yours

  1. Ashen

    Thanks for sharing these windows to your passion about people and places.

    Reply
    • Sylvia Selzer

      Thank you so much, Ashen. Greatly appreciated coming from someone who took a wonderful, historically important photograph of Moshe Dayan.

  2. Sarah Selzer

    Stunning combination of photography that really tells its own story. Love it!

    Reply
    • Sylvia Selzer

      Thank you Queen of the world of PR! Really, thank you.

  3. Rob Golding

    Impressive website and superb photographs – good luck to you.

    Reply
    • Sylvia Selzer

      Thanks, Rob. As always, generous and supportive. x

  4. Gail Young

    Great site by a talented lady x

    Reply
    • Sylvia Selzer

      Thank you, Gail! Talking of talented ladies…

  5. Allan Owens

    Really beautiful, stunning and powerful photographs Sylvia.
    Allan x

    Reply
    • Sylvia Selzer

      Thank you Allan. I’ve you to thank for inviting me to take your place on the Board of ATT all those years ago and opening the world of young people’s theatre to me. And then, there was your wonderful Advanced Diploma of Drama in Education which was life-changing for me. So – all your fault!

  6. Tricia

    A great website.
    I struggle with photography at times – especially landscape – but this is different. It really speaks to me! I love the thing about telling a story – so many stories, so much life. I look forward to more.

    Reply
    • Sylvia Selzer

      Thank you Tricia. Your comments as an artist and writer are important to me. And of course, as a dear friend.

  7. John Chapman

    You are probably bored with the number of times I have said, “Please, do something more with your lovely photographs, they should be seen and understood”. Gosh, I never expected this. What a great and purposeful way to tell the WORLD your stories. This beginning is superb.

    Reply
    • Sylvia Selzer

      Thanks John! Your gentle encouragement paid off…

  8. Jessica Egan

    Beautiful website Sylvia! And what gorgeous images, so many fantastic memories, superbly captured. ATT is one very lucky theatre company. xxxx

    Reply
    • Sylvia Selzer

      Well, Jess. As curator of ATT’s archive, you have some part in this! Thanks for your kind comment.xx

  9. John Moorhouse

    Wow! Great photos. My lawyers will be in touch about my image rights, by the way…

    Reply
    • Sylvia Selzer

      Thanks, John. Great to get a response from one of ATT’s oldest writers! The copyright is mine so no tabloid reproductions of you in the gents reading from a script…

  10. Howard Gardener

    Well, the website was a long time coming but it was worth the wait. I shall look forward to dropping by when a new story has been posted. I got a real sense of the township and the theatre groups from your photos – well done!

    Reply
    • Sylvia Selzer

      Thanks Howard. Good to get your fabulous artist’s eye viewing and appreciating my work.

  11. Rebecca Tandy

    Beautiful and I found very calming. Thank you for making your art accessible. Xx

    Reply
    • Sylvia Selzer

      Thank you for your lovely, sensitive comment, Rebecca. You have always been a supporter of the arts.

  12. Arthur Kemelman

    Beautiful and powerful photographs illustrating important and interesting stories!

    Reply
    • Sylvia Selzer

      Thanks, Arthur! Greatly appreciated.

  13. Maisie linford

    I have always been a fan of your work Sylvia and love the way that you are shaping your images to tell these stories, I look forward to seeing more

    Reply
    • Sylvia Selzer

      Thanks, Maisie. Similarly, I look forward to what you are going to do next in the world of theatre and drama!

  14. Doreen Levin

    Sylvia, I had no idea until this morning that your amazing photo of Kliptown was part of a photo story of such beautiful, meaningful pictures – people walking across the railway track with no regard to the danger of a train mowing them down; the little girl skipping; the lovers’ kiss; and the group pictures showing armed youngsters. I am so glad I found them. You have an amazing eye for story and detail! Doreen Levin, Cape Town

    Reply
    • Sylvia Selzer

      Thank you, Doreen. Happy that you ‘get’ what I am trying to do in my work – telling untold stories that are small but important.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.