Chip Skingley talks about his process

We had an email conversation with UWE undergraduate Chip Skingley about his process making work, influences and aesthetics. 

︎.   Mon, Apr 13, 4:50 PM

Could you describe a little how your process originates for making new work?︎

Oddly I find the easiest way to generate my ideas is to work without my camera first. I try not to think too hard on what I am trying to create photographically but focus on what I am naturally drawn to. I’ve found rapidly taking images at the turn of a new project can lead to a predominately aesthetically driven piece of work, but for me it’s important to have a physical interest in the subject from the start as well. When not using my camera and immersing myself with the people or landscape, I can begin to tell myself that what I’m creating is genuine.

It seems as though water is an important element in your work. Does this stem from growing up in that environment or is it something that is more poetic in your practice?︎

Whilst growing up I have been lucky to have lived very close to the sea. For me water has been a big part of my life and where I have always felt most comfortable. So when I first picked a camera up, it was natural for me to shoot the environment in which I found myself.

When I moved to art college and later to university, I always found myself leaving the city to go and photograph a piece of coastline. This is when I truly realised how important it was for me to keep the connection of water in my work. After this It became a sort of meditative state whilst living in a city.

︎   Thu, Apr 16, 3:10 PM

Does that meditative state creep into other aspects of your practice; perhaps when editing work or with commissioned work - even just how you might approach life?︎

Definitely. I’d like to think that I bring a certain amount of feeling to my work. To create images that are representative of me is probably the most honest thing I can do with my photography. I get so much satisfaction out of commissions because I’m able to generate that connection with someone or something. It’s such a simple way to work and live by that it’s hard to fault.

What role does research play in your process? I noticed that you don’t have any writing on your website gallery; is this an intentional part of how you want people to engage with your work?︎

It plays a big part in my work. Yet I wouldn’t say I research in the traditional sense by wading through dozens of artists in one sitting. More commonly, I find myself being inspired by the artists, musicians and photographers I’m lucky to find myself around. These are the people who tell me to check out ‘that new book’ and ‘this article’ with whom I often become completely obsessed with.

Any words of wisdom that you have picked up along the way, which you'd like to share? Maybe a quote or some text that resonates with your practice / life?︎

I’ve been reading a lot of works by Yvon Chouinard. He is an environmentalist, rock climber, surfer and businessman. I originally heard of him through watching a documentary called ‘180 Degrees South’ (which I would highly recommend watching) in which he stated:

“The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It’s so easy to make it complex.’’


It is something that stuck with me and helped me to evaluate the process of creating my images. It made me ask myself what it is that I’m really trying to say with my images in its more stripped down form. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I have any wisdom to share, but I’ve always found it helpful looking outward for inspiration and not solely on people of my own craft but those who encourage me to create.