This week we’re getting to know Noctis Magazine’s young talent Jodie Shepherd to find out a little more about her. Read on to check it out…
Hi Jodie, could you tell us a little about yourself and what makes you tick?
Hello! What makes me tick? How long do you have? Ha, that makes me sound like a right grump. I mean, I don’t think there’s much more that makes me tick than your everyday Joe. I’m in one of those in between places at the moment so I’m doing a lot of ticking, but anyway, I guess there’s so many things I could say about myself, but I’m not sure how many of them people will care about…
I’m mega obsessed with Ariel though, and anything that has even the slightest hint of mermaid in it. I’ve got quite the collection of memorabilia that I’m always looking to add to, it’s on the verge of being a shrine if I’m completely honest. I have some rare vintage Disney dolls in their boxes, Jane from Tarzan (which I picked up for £5 at a boot fair), a 1990s Ariel doll and both versions of Esmeralda. I like to collect these kinds of things and I know people don’t want to hear me trawl on about princesses but it’s part of who I am, in a funny way I guess it adds to my creative side because I have always been in love with the artwork and illustrations. I know there’s a new found stigma attached to the influence they have on young girls though, but in all honesty, there’s a lot more harmful things in this world than a girl dreaming about fairy tales. But the “princess effect” debate is a completely different topic, and what does my opinion matter when people have made up their minds on what we should and shouldn’t do? We live in such a conflicted world that there are contradictory traits in every argument. Love what you love and fuck everything else; unless you love killing animals for sport. Don’t do that, our wildlife needs to be protected.
I like a lot of things, there’s a lot that makes me “me”, people have made assumptions about me though, quite often actually, like because I’m wearing pink and flowers in my hair I’m not allowed to listen to Pantera and KoRn. What’s that about?
You are currently the features editor for Noctis magazine. What is it like and what would you say is a typical working day for you (if there is such a thing)?
There is no such thing as a typical day for me. I’ve recently been asked by my friend at Old Tat Mag to write a “Day In The Life of…” and it’s been really hard to think of because I do so much. I don’t have a solid routine, I wake up, put on a dress and choose the “right shade” from 30 different lipsticks, and think “what the hell am I doing today.”
I juggle my work for Noctis Mag alongside a Monday to Friday full time job; usually with both running into my evenings and weekends, so I find myself wanting to break down and cry quite often. Ha, seriously though I love my role at the magazine, there’s always something going on and I’m always looking for new things. Along with features editing, I manage and curate all of the online content, with a small team of great girls, but it can be challenging. A lot of my time, for Noctis Mag, is spent doing admin actually: proof-reading and talking to people about their work, managing the website etc. But I write a lot of my own stuff and design the editorials that go online, I work closely with our graphic designer for print too. There’s not really much I don’t do to be perfectly honest!
We all try and make it work around our own lives, because of the nature of the industry, it’s all self-funded and self-driven, but it’s worth it, I think. It just means that I lose track of my days, a lot, and sometimes a week, or two, has passed and I don’t even realise….
As well as being a talented writer, you also have a keen eye for photography. Is that something you’ve been interested in since a young age or something that’s developed over time (pardon the pun)?
Ha! Thank you, I’ve been interested in anything remotely creative ever since I can remember. I’d always be drawing or reading; playing with my dolls and fantasising about what their lives could be like. I don’t think I’ve ever truly stopped creating. Sometimes I have moments where I feel defeated because something isn’t going the way I planned, but I guess there’s always a little spark somewhere.
My love for photography really deepened when I discovered that my art projects at school could be photographic, it sounds lame I know, but it wasn’t something that was given as an option before, but from that moment, me and my best friend at the time, spent all of our time in the darkroom. Which I’m sure was bigger than my kitchen is now. But, yeah from there it didn’t stop; I spent a lot of time photographing local bands to be honest, it’s the scene I was part of with my boyfriend and his friends, it’s a shame it dwindled, but that’s the nature of music nowadays isn’t it? It has such a short lifespan, and I realised the things I love most about music photography, just aren’t happening any more. The culture is different, and so is the way the industry is sold to us.
Because of this, I have over the past year or so heavily abandoned photography, things just haven’t felt right, I haven’t felt right in myself and for a while I lost all drive to do anything with it, my camera just sat gathering dust. I felt wasted, like it wasn’t worth it. Too many voices in my head telling me I couldn’t do it, but those voices are settling, slowly, and I’m getting my ambition back. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll see something exciting from me soon…maybe I’ll start my blog back up again and rekindle the romance.
Where did you grow up and did your surroundings have any impact on your photography or writing?
I grew up in a small town in Kent, and I’m not sure if I would say it had an impact on my writing or photography; the town isn’t known for much, except being dubbed a shit hole?
Until November 2014, I’ve never lived anywhere else because I was born at my Grandma’s house. A surprise birth, hello mum and dad so close to Christmas, just what they wanted at 17 I bet, an unannounced child. Ha! My mum didn’t know she was pregnant with me so I guess there wasn’t much say in what my surroundings should be, it’s not been damaging in any way though, I grew to want more though, and now I’m in North London.
My bedroom growing up was a grunge haven; I was (and I still am) hugely into Nirvana and Roses, so my room was absolutely covered top to bottom in posters and magazine cut outs; I’d have a lot of trinkets in my room too, completely surrounded by treasures; I’m not sure my parents would agree though. I won’t lie, it could get super messy, but it was organised chaos so that’s ok right? I think it got to a point where I had outgrown my surroundings though and needed to branch out, which I eventually did, but everything in my teen room kept me inspired, it kept me into photography and music. I’d always find something new that I’d forgotten about.
There were some nice areas to photograph where I lived, I kind of miss it, I used to like going for walks on the back roads and it wasn’t difficult to travel elsewhere, it’s not like it’s in the middle of nowhere! I’m discovering new places where I live now which is really exciting! Writing though? That’s just always something I’ve done well at, I’ve always excelled at literacy and reading abilities so it just comes naturally, I don’t think about it, but I can be a bit of a perfectionist if something doesn’t suit what I like.
Who would you say is your hero or idol?
I don’t know if I really have an idol, there’s certainly a lot of people I admire. I’ve always loved the work of Neil Zlozower, Eddie Kramer and Andrew Birkin, all incredible photographers in their own right; but if you look at the roster of artists on the Proud Gallery back catalogue, you won’t find a single name that I don’t adore. That’s the style I idolise, it will never be replicated, our world is too different, but it fuels me with passion to try and do more of what I love; and at the moment that’s writing, whilst finding my place in art and photography, even if it’s just for myself.
Is there a piece of advice you would like to give to any young, aspiring creatives out there?
Don’t stop, and accept that not everyone is going to like what you do.
It’s funny because, sometimes I don’t take my own advice, and sometimes I still feel like one of the aspiring creatives. In all honesty though, for a long time during university, I started to feel like all I wanted was a boring job, and I would work creatively in my own time because I was growing tired of my studies, the experience wasn’t fun for me, I wasn’t around people that made me feel part of something, and that’s when my inspiration started to die. I lost all sense of why I was there, I’d lost myself because I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do, I was trying to please other people. I felt free in my dissertation though, I excelled at that, ironic huh? Most people hate that aspect, but that’s what you have to do, you have to do things for yourself because there’s so much out there now, you can’t afford to try and be something that you’re not.
What I’m trying to say is, don’t get too caught up in what other people say, there’s a place for you. You just have to keep searching, god knows that’s what I’m doing.
Last but certainly not least, do you have any interesting projects or plans coming in the near future?
Do I have any interesting plans? That’s a good one, I went into complete dream mode.
I don’t know to be honest, there’s a lot I want to do, but there’s a lot I find myself starting and not finishing; I’ve been good at that recently but I think that stems from the rough patch I had with losing myself and trying to figure things out on my own. I am making an avid plight to learn Sign Language, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do since school, and I feel the time is right to bring it back into my life. I find it fascinating.
I’m trying to do a lot more impulsive things to spark my creativity and feel better within myself. I’ve been reading “Radical Self Love” by Gala Darling and it’s great. She wrote a list of a 100 things to do instead of procrastinating on the internet, and every now and then I’ve been choosing a number on the list and doing that thing, whatever it may be, that’s how I ended up with my latest tattoo. It was a great feeling to do something for myself, for no reason at all, other than I wanted to. I’d like to go on a holiday though, somewhere I can visit turtles though, that would be a dream.
I like to think I’m an interesting person, but I don’t think I am?! I’m just a girl trying to make the most of the life she has.There’s something waiting for me, I don’t know what it is yet, but I can feel it.
Featured illustration by Ania Pawlik