Scarlett O’Flaherty’s photographs focus on social documentary and slow-journalism
- Lucy Bourton
- 26 July 2017
Photographer Scarlett O’Flaherty just graduated from the University of Plymouth, and despite being based in the South West her lens stretches across the north of England and Europe. Her developed style, “focuses on a social documentary practice and slow-journalism through an anthropological approach,” she tells It’s Nice That.
Scarlett takes time with each of her projects, creating images that are poised and carefully curated as a group. Each project is relatively small in number – a series of the photographer’s is usually around eight final images – but each singular image has been refined to make it in the batch.
One project, Powolani przez Boga “is a documentation of the feminine adoration of God that explores beyond a superficial perspective of women’s role in the Catholic Church,” she explains. In the series, Scarlett seeks “to understand what makes these women give their lives to God,” documenting the Felician Franciscan Congregation. “The sisters display an inner contentment that many in contemporary society would envy. This comes from the belief that they have been called by God,” she says. “The calling and dedication to the church is not tangible, some would argue that the presence of God does not exist, however for the women of the Felician Franciscan Congregation it determines their path through life.” Scarlett’s use of light in the series adds an ethereal edge to the images, but the spaces and personalities of the congregation are documented as affable, rather than daunting.
Another project by the photographer, Coal Dust and The White Rose, is a further example of Scarlett using her camera to document social commentary. “The miners’ strike of 1984 was a defining moment in Margaret Thatcher’s attempt to destroy the power of the trade union movement,” she explains. Despite being a topic regularly explored within photography and graphic design, the photographer’s documentation of the miners strike, documenting it in context to the present day, applies a fresh approach. “What has become the most bitter dispute in modern industrial history continues to resonate today and shaped the lives of those involved. Coal Dust and The White Rose is a collective memory of the men from the South Yorkshire coalfield.”
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.