When someone imagines spreading on their own bed, no one would imagine being visually transported into a world where most of our human thoughts go to, conscious and otherwise. In fact, people would imagine the idea of a bedroom as a necessity - a resting point. Bristol-based Jennifer Lo uses her independent zine, Bedspread to show us all how diverse the very medium we all spend one-third of our lives on can be a vehicle of visual depths, unparalleled.
Hello Jennifer, thanks for being part of this interview! Can you share with us a little bit about yourself and what you’re busy with at the moment?
I'm a photographer from Bristol and also run a small independent zine called Bedspread, which features works by photographers and artists based on themes of bed from across the globe. I'm currently working on personal projects about my family and immigration. I hope that by looking deeper into immigration stories it can help others to understand the various impacts and effects on first generation families and the generations below. I also work with children and the elderly on the side and am interested a lot in the mental health sector.
What were some of your earlier works? Any particular memory that stood out for you?
Photography has always been a useful medium to express my thoughts - a lot of themes in my earlier works, which are still present now, feature figures/objects/scenes that touch on isolation and the beauty within the mundanity. That is where the idea of Bedspread zine initially came from after an edit of my work and realising how many photos of beds I'd taken over the years - each one reminding me of a particular time in my life when I feel a significant change was happening.
Why bedrooms? Instead of kitchens, bathrooms or dining rooms?
Beds can hold significant meanings for the viewer - we spend a third of our lives in bed and I think a lot of thoughts/important decision and conversations can be made in them. It's such a personal topic matter and I'm very much interested in other people's stories and ideas behind their images of beds.
What was your thought process picking out the photos that were in the zine?
For me it's the sentiment and the subject matter. I had one submission (featured in Issue 1 by the wonderful Liz Ann Vincent Merry) who had submitted a photograph of her late father sleeping in bed, shortly before his passing. It was also the first time she'd ever shown the image, which was truly humbling to learn, and I'm really glad she wanted to share her photo and story with me. I try to include a variety of images so that it's not all nice photos of beds or people in bed.
If you could tie one emotion to your bed, what would that be and why?
Can laughter count? I associate a lot of laughter with friends and companions in bed.
What is a bedspread photo that you will not post?
Photos that aren't beds.
Which do you enjoy more? Going to bed at night or waking up in the morning?
Probably going to bed more now I'm getting older.
If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow - where would it be and why?
I'm currently holidaying in Spain with friends so I am pretty content.
You mentioned that there’ll be more upcoming issues of Bedspread, how many do you think it will be in total?
I can't say for definite how many there'll be as it's dependant on financing and timing...more though hopefully!
After bedspread, do you think you will move on to a different furniture?
If I ever run out of submissions for bedspreads I'd get people to submit me their best photos of cheeseburgers.
How did you pick the charity you collaborated with for each issue, what was it based on?
I donated funds of sales of prints from the first issue exhibition to homelessness charity Shelter and the second issue's sales to mental health charity mind. I think it's important to recognise the role you have as a publisher and use that in a beneficial way that doesn't exploit the photographers who are contributing to each issue. I'm very proud of how much money and awareness has been raised as a result of this and it is something that the contributors are also proud to be part of.
Best & worst memory in bed?
Best memory is waking up with the sun on my face and the worst is throwing up in bed when I've been ill.
Souher Wahba for Your Local Newsstand
Zine by Jennifer Lo