Exploring sex, intimacy and loneliness in Han Conroy’s ‘Home Comforts’
‘Home Comforts’ explores sex, intimacy and loneliness from the viewpoint of a queer female in Britain and examines the ways in which women photograph other women as a celebration of the female body. We caught up with Han, the Creative Director of the project, to learn more.
Yew!: Initially what was the whole motivation for starting the project?
Han Conroy: The motivation for ‘Home Comforts’ was taking a step back and looking at Britain and my own personal experiences here - this began to develop into taking time to understand myself as a queer woman and look at the elements of my own experience within Britain, which soon lead to exploring ideas of intimacy and loneliness, how this country responds to these parts of human life, and the impact of this on me as an individual and creative.
Y: I can see that it was important for the project to work and connect with female artists as a celebration of the female body, how did this come about? How did you refine your search criteria and what gap did you want to be represented?
HC: Celebration of female bodies was a crucial element within the project. Looking at fashion and photography throughout time, the representation of the female body was typically controlled through the view point of a male and centered around male desires, therefore sexualising the female form. Although both industries have developed over time and begun to move away from this male dominated way of working, I wanted to explore how my own sexuality can become separate from my work, whilst still photographing the female form and looking at ideas of intimacy without sexualising women in any way.
Y: Collaboration seems to be a core aspect of 'Home Comforts'. What methods did you use to cultivate this collaboration and how do you hope to continue to develop and grow these relationships?
HC: In terms of collaboration, my model, Liv Burden, and I had begun working together around 12 months ago during lockdown, as there was limited access to models and teams. We began a bit by chance, in order to be able to continue creating during lockdown, but our working relationship has now developed into a refined creative pairing where both of us have an understanding of the visions behind each project and are able to communicate ideas really well. This helps to make the project feel much more collaborative, despite myself being the one exploring into the concept. We also worked with designer Adam Jones whose work focuses around Britian. Adam’s expertise was really able to help elevate the fashion elements of the project.
Y: The project was shot entirely in Cornwall, how does the landscape build to what you are trying to encapsulate with the project?
HC: Shooting the entire project in Cornwall played a large role in conveying the Britishness within the concept for ‘Home Comforts’. When making images surrounding Britain and Britishness, I feel that it is easy to fall into stereotypical tropes that feel too literal. So by using the rural, Cornish landscapes throughout the images, there is a constant subtle hint to Britain without forcing too much and overshadowing the other elements of the concept.
Y: What does home comforts mean for you during Covid and lockdown? Intimacy and loneliness is something you look to be exploring in the project, was that spurred on by the lack of human contact in the past year?
HC: ‘Home Comforts’ was hugely inspired by Covid, whether it was intentional or not. I feel that Covid has entirely re-shaped the ways that our minds work and the ways that we see the world and it definitely did that for me. Human contact is something that we all took for granted leading up to the pandemic and is now something that we cherish and long for in order to feel complete. Therefore, I feel that ‘Home Comforts’ was my own therapeutic way to handle the plummet in human contact and address my own loneliness by turning it into something that can be celebrated.
Take a look at ‘Home Comforts’ here.
Photographer - Han Conroy (@hancnry)
Model - Liv Burden (@livmburden)
Photography Assistant - Hayden Williams (@dustgraves)
Clothing Provided By - Adam Jones (@adamjones_clothing)
You can see more of Han’s work or get in touch on her website at www.hanconroy.com.
︎ Follow Han on Instagram.
Tags | Q&A, Interview