Like many artists, Izzy de Wattripont, a London-raised and Bristol-based portrait and editorial photographer, found herself surrounded by imagery from a young age. Happily bound to a yearly Christmas tradition of nostalgically flicking through the family photo albums, Izzy and her family would sit and reminisce of sweet days gone by. “They are filled with all these beautiful prints of photographs from my childhood – of my brothers and I with geckos climbing over our limbs, running around in baggy t-shirts and swimming costumes on holidays,” says Izzy. “There is something about certain beautiful photographs that keep you going back to them time and time again. They create this other world to disappear to, or revisit.”
Influenced by that which surrounds her, Izzy went on to pursue creative studies at college, but it wasn’t until she was studying in Bristol that her interest in photography really sparked. Fuelled by inspiring teachers, peers, technicians and a solid program, she adds: “I’ve ended up spending my last two years much like a sponge, absorbing everything thrown at me.” It is this sponge-like mechanism and ability to see the world in every fine detail that allows Izzy to flourish as a photographer; by immersing herself in her surroundings, drawing on an emotion or building on an instinctual feeling, this gives her imagery a somewhat raw and honest feel.
“My photographs are made with a certain instinct – noticing something, whether a detail or an occurrence, and just getting a gut feeling that this is the thing I want to photograph,” she tells It’s Nice That. “I am guided by my thoughts, experiences, writings and research that I undertake during the making of a series.” Led by her experiences, Izzy refers to her work as “part document and part self-investigation”. Navigating towards themes of youth and identity, the 21-year-old feels like she is in a current “state of limbo, between kid and adult” – or an “imposter adult”, she says. Yet she sees photography as her own personal tool of reflection and means of making sense of the world.
Currently, Izzy is most interested in the outdoors – an experience that she thinks is vital for the youth of today. Applying this to her practice and everyday life, Izzy spent an entire summer (almost) entirely outdoors in 2018. During this time, she spurred on a new sense of adventure that she hadn’t felt since childhood: “I grew a stronger desire to be outside, to have my feet bound by walking boots trudging through the mud, and to have my arms deep down in rivers reaching for the perfect stone,” she says. “I felt I had started to notice things in a different way and was met by a sheer hunger to explore the outdoors, a hunger that is happily sticking around.”
These components form the premise of her latest body of work, Last Dog Watch. As a documentation of the current cohort of the ninth Lymington Sea Scouts, the project initially kicked off as a portrait series in 2017 and has since grown into an ongoing series that captures adventure at its purest. As a former Sea Scout of four years (and now an adult leader), Izzy draws from her own personal relationship to the events. “I see Scouting as an alternative education, much like many out-of-school clubs,” she says. “It’s a place without exams, where these young people are excited and hungry to learn new skills that they won’t necessarily get the opportunity to learn in school.”
Describing Last Dog Watch as “very much a work in progress,” future plans see the photographer continuing the series. “I’m really excited to keep working on it for a considerable amount of time.” Alongside this, the recent graduate is set to work on a few collaborations with photographers and is in the process of archiving her dad’s shirt collection – keep your eyes peeled.