Girls On Film is a photography project created by Ebi Coniglio and Mia Walton. Bryce Newton speaks to them to find out what inspires their work, and what it’s like working with your best friend.
Why did you start Girls On Film?
Ebi: I started Girls On Film during high school, almost as a form of rebellion, wanting to escape from the clutches of Year 12 ATAR photography and make my own film works. I hated being told what to take photos of, and I especially hated taking photos on a digital camera so I thought why not do my own thing, my own way. Although hard in the beginning (being an amateur film photographer, having to get to know my cameras and getting to know what looked good), Girls On Film is flourishing.
What is your inspiration?
E: Everything we see basically! Being very observant people we take a lot of inspiration from what’s around us, whether it’s the sunset through the trees or a cute vintage house. It helps us shape what we create and how we want it to be seen by others.
Mia: We also share a love for, and take a lot of inspiration from, the 60s and 70s, as our everyday fashion often revolves around those two decades. Our own personal style definitely sparks the creativity for a lot of our shoots, but our model of choice and their own style is always our biggest inspiration. Scrolling through Instagram or watching a good movie helps too!
Your Instagram features multiple (photography) series. What is the process of creating each one?
M: We either have an idea already forming and choose a model that we can envision working well in that situation; or we dedicate the development of our ideas to a model. Once that’s all sorted, we dig up some inspo pics, compile a heap of clothes from all over, and get started!
Have you both always been interested in photography? How did you get into it?
M: I was initially more of a visual arts girl, as I was in an arts program all throughout my high school life. During that time, I discovered the wonders of film photography and started obsessively documenting my life on film. It was kind of a hobby we both had, taking photos of each other and our outfits every time we went out, and eventually it just kind of happened.
E: My interest in photography started in Year 8 where I used a film camera for the first time in school and had to learn to develop and print my own photos. I remember it being super cool and intriguing. Also, getting to make new and creative friends, my passion for film photography grew from there as they pushed me to understand film and the beauty of it.
Do you have a favourite series so far?
E: By far my favourite series would be Sweetheart, it’s just so romantic and surreal. It looks so staged and that is what makes it. It’s so over done in the most perfect way, I love it.
M: For me, it’s Suburbia (coming soon, or maybe it’s already out by now. Who knows?). The colours are just utterly perfect to me.
Do you plan to include an increasingly diverse set of models in your future work?
E and M: Yes, that is definitely something we are hoping to work on! Previously we’ve stayed within our comfort zone by using models who are also our close friends, but as we grow, we are always looking for new and inspiring models. Our shoots are all based on the model and their personalities and interests, and when we find someone intriguing we will work to create something with them. As long as our work represents the beauty of a woman and her individuality, it’s something we’ll be proud of.
Because women are the focus of your photography, it is inescapably linked with the representation of women. Does this influence the planning of your work?
E and M: As feminists, we are constantly influenced by our own beliefs. We take pride in empowering the women we work with through concepts that directly relate to them, and we hope that this approach encourages girls everywhere to not be afraid to step up and represent themselves the way that they truly want to. Whether it be through fashion or not.
I love that you are best friends creating things. Does this relationship make it easy to work together?
E and M: Definitely! We’re both so like minded and similar in terms of our opinions, that disagreements are hardly an issue. Our friendship takes away the overwhelming ‘business’ feeling, yet we’re still able to be productive together. We bring out ideas in one another that would have remained hidden if we only had ourselves to work with.
What are your plans for the future? Where can we see more of your work?
E and M: Although we haven’t thought too far ahead into the future, we do want to become more known amongst the Perth art scene. We’re also super interested with working with clothing brands, as we recently did a shoot with @dofofficial, which was super fun! The idea of an exhibition has been discussed, it’s terrifying, but it’d be great to see how locals react to the pictures in person, rather than the limited perception we have over social media.
Photography by Ebi Coniglio and Mia Walton. Find more of Ebi and Mia’s work @girls.onfilm
This article first appeared in print volume 88 edition 4 GIRL.