Back to school | Ellen Rogers

Ellen Rogers

Back to school

Back to school

I have here a few new works of my dear friend Rosemarie with make up by Ivory Raine, using a new technique in preperation for some new changes in my life. 

I've enrolled at Central Saint Martins as a PhD student in Fashion History, my research question is ‘Why Does the Image of the Sad Model Sell?’. I will be focusing on melancholy in fashion photography, how it became a norm and what it means culturally.

The question is related directly to my livelihood and life’s work as a whole, something that really moved me to start this was a quote from Burroughs.

“We think of the past as being there unchangeable. Actually the past is ours to shape and change as we will.” - The Job Interviews, (Burroughs, 1989)

I am extremely lucky that I have been matched with a genuinely ideal supervisor for this research Professor Alistair O’Neil, a fiercly brilliant and kind man.

Around three years ago I decided that I would go back to study and do my PhD in an area surrounding my photographic practice to understand a bit more about what I have been doing and making for the past decade. There was a personal push behind this after I left my teaching post at Norwich University of Arts in 2017, and It’s taken me since then to narrow down what it was/is I’d like to research precisely. At heart this is a feminist endeavour, and I hope with help from my supervisors I can better articulate what it is I’ve been also contributing to for the last decade. I ask it means to make melancholic fashion work!?

For a long time, new personal work was an impossibility due to teaching and freelancing demands but this somewhat kickstarts me into having to making something vital and needed to reflect on this very question.

So, I choose to make my research both theoretical and practical. At the end of my PhD I will produce a book of images and a thesis, and what’s great about this is *I have to*. I’ve sacrificed a lot to make this decision, a normal life, a house, even a studio etc etc, but it’s really something burning that I need to do, to carry on and progress my work to its fullest.

It’s rather daunting going back to university after so long away, but after being a lecturer this feels right, and I very much hope you’ll join me in my findings. I shall try to post links as often as possible as to what direction I am going with my new work, what my theoretical findings are and I’ll keep you all in the loop as you have been all these years, but if I fall silent you’ll also know why.

And if you happen to be reading this, a special thanks to Kaveh, Ephyra, Rose, Sarah, Tina, Michelle, Nina, Angela, my Pa and everyone else who helped and supported me with my application and research so far. Thank you for staying with me and please wish me luck in starting my journey of becoming a Dr (of Photography!).

1 comment

Aug 23, 2019 • Posted by Andreas Knieling

Hi Ellen,
I am glad for you that you have dared to take the step that is so important for you but also difficult and wish you that all your hopes and expectations for your studies will be fulfilled to your satisfaction. I have just increased my Patreon contribution for you and by Christmas I will definitely buy one or the other print to help finance your studies to became a Doctor of Philosophie. Maybe I can help you here a bit.
Best wishes from afar

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