Photography degree students from the University of Arts London (UAL) London College of Communication (LCC) took part in a creative project to showcase the essence of Elephant & Castle. We spoke to one of the photographers, Veronica Otero, about her images and inspiration.
What’s your name? And a little about you as a person?
My name is Veronica Otero. I’m a UK based independent photojournalist whose documentary work focuses on culture, identity, environment, health and human rights. I’m curious about life itself. I’m really driven by cultures, in particular indigenous cultures, which is my main area of focus. I love meeting new people and their environment, costumes, rituals, trying different food.
What do you do now, and what are you hoping to do in the future?
I work as a freelance photographer on my spare time. My passion in photography is combined with discovery, cross-cultural communication, and a desire to spread awareness about global issues. I also strongly believe in giving back through the power of photography, education and community engagement.
What did/are you studying at LCC?
I studied Photojournalism and Documentary photography
How did your degree help develop your career/what do you plan to do after LCC?
As a freelance photographer I undertake different assignments for all kind of clients, mainly charities but also some commercial work. My ideal future plan would be to work on creating a collaborative photography organisation, a collective where people interchange thoughts and skills. It is quite interesting when a group of people are photographing the same subject and I believe this is a fair representation, rather than just one point of view. There are so many angles that should be considered to represent something.
What did/do you enjoy about LCC?
LCC gave me lots of opportunities in terms of developing my profession and I am now working as a project coordinator for LCC. On a personal level, it gave me opportunity to meet many other students and staff that are now part of my life. You can always find someone to go for a drink with after a long day at University or take a break to go to the park, or for lunch. You can have a different meal from any part in the world at a good price too!
What good photo opportunities are there in the area?
From its people, architecture, cultures, foods, traditions… there are so many. I am interested in the interaction of these elements and the result.
Preference: film or digital?
Digital. I don’t want to take a picture that I’m not completely sure of or run out of roll! Digital works for me and you always get tips when you review your pictures on the camera.
How would you define the visual style of the area (heritage vs. new)?
It is so interesting! The area decline vs the new residency developments.
First memory of the area?
People from everywhere walking in all directions and a chaotic number of busses. The crossing tunnels and its drawings and graffiti.
How do you see E&C changing now and in the future?
I have been in the area for a few years now, living and studying and many changes have already started. I do hope that the character of the area doesn’t change too much. It is a place for everyone and that makes it nice. All the traders have their own cultural heritage and if you are curious enough, you will discover a great deal of amazing food and amazing people.
Favourite hangout at Elephant and Castle?
I love the food market at lunch.
In 3 words describe Elephant and Castle
Dynamic, unpredictable, unique
Do you prefer Portrait or landscape? People or places?
Both! I think to get the whole picture and represent your subject, you need to consider both.
What is your dream photo shoot location?
Photoshoot location in the Elephant & Castle? Difficult decision… I would like to document people living in the area, to go into their houses and follow them on a normal day as well as people working in the area and their offices.