Dusk Until Dawn: The Poppy de Villeneuve Interview

Before my amazing Dusk Until Dawn walking tour around East London I chatted with photographer and film director Poppy de Villeneuve about her collaboration with HTC for their creative project. Basically we chatted about what inspires her photography, the amazing competition, and we bonded over our love for using our mobiles as a scrapbook.

If you aren’t familiar with Poppy let’s do a quick recap, she is the daughter of Justin de Villeneuve, the Sixties fashion photographer who discovered Twiggy, and model Jan de Villeneuve, and with a fashionable background like that it is no surprise that Poppy decided to become a photographer. Poppy has snapped and directed a number of amazing campaigns and projects including making the first Instagram music for The Vaccines as well as the incredible Ray-bans Raw Sounds, and has done a number of fashion shorts for Dazed and Confused.

How would you describe your new project with HTC ‘Dusk Until Dawn’?

The hours of dusk and dawn provide the perfect backdrop for striking photography – the HTC ‘My Life: Dusk Until Dawn’ campaign is a fantastic way to encourage people to take time out of their busy lives to truly appreciate the UK between these hours. We wanted to inspire people to capture their own personal images and to take the time to look at their surroundings in a whole different light plus they could win a trip to go to the Northern Lights, which is a pretty good prize.

What inspired you take part in the project?

What appealed to me most about this project is that inspiration comes from all different sources and I am kind of reminding people of that. It is important to think that if you are interested in something there is no reason that someone else might not be, I don’t think there are any rules and people need to be reminded of that sometimes. As it is My Life: Dusk Until Dawn, the idea is that you do the same.

If you are asking people to be inspired, can you tell me what inspires you?

Things that inspire me personally are often really quiet moments, generally things that have been left behind or not noticed, things that take a second look for you to see them, the more overlooked things. I am a big fan of a photographer called William Eggleston, the first pioneer of colour photography, which makes me not choose the obvious objects. But I also love shooting in black and white as I love taking the time out of it.

The project has been running for a few weeks, have you been impressed with the entrants so far?

I’ve been really pleased, people have done what I hoped and chosen things that aren’t expected. One of the most interesting so far was a picture of a roller coaster that was literally just in frame, it was taken out of context which creates a narrative. For me the photographs that I love the best are when I have to think about what it means, what’s going on, and you have to create a story around the details in the image.

Some photographers find it annoying that a smartphone allows anyone to be a photographer – do you enjoy using your mobile for snapping?

I do, and what’s great about it is that they are always spontaneous, I find my HTC as more of a scrap book or a sketch book of my life. When I am working I generally have a specific scenario but with my mobile it is a kind of freedom. I really like exploring and hunting and my phone allows me to snap a picture of say a chair and then find something similar in an antique shop. I also love that there are no obstacles with shooting with a mobile; I can’t always fit a camera in my bag, so being able to access a good camera on my phone is amazing.

I am a big fan of fashion editorials, do you enjoy doing them?

When I do fashion I do it in a film way and have it be more of a narrative and not so much straight fashion.  I just did a project for Opening Ceremony, it is a fashion story ultimately but it is a documentary of portraits of young athletes and they are all wearing their uniforms. That’s how I like to interpret fashion, I am not interested in just the clothes, and for me I want the clothes to be part of a story.

It was seriously lovely chatting to Poppy, seriously inspirational and I loved her bright pink Nike trainers. Don’t miss out on the amazing chance to go and see the Northern Lights as this week is the last week to take part in the amazing HTC Dusk Until Dawn project and the theme is ‘My Style’ – perfect for fashionistas – so get snapping. Don’t forget to tweet to @htc_uk using the hashtag #DuskUntilDawn.