Coby Baker makes sexy photos. Sexy photos that are honest and provocative and pure. I arranged a Whatsapp call with her a few weeks ago to chat about her work and to try and convince her to create a live art piece on our Snapchat channel. You can find snips from our chat below. Her Snapchat episode is scheduled for April, 15th, 2016.
little beast: Do you remember taking your first photos?
Coby: I remember being like 12 and searching DeviantArt for hours and hours finding photographs I liked and could try to replicate. My first 'serious' photographs I took that got me interested in photography was taken around 2006, I would've been 12, I followed a tutorial that involved self portraits of me in my lounge room holding an umbrella that I later photoshopped into an image of an old barn with rain, I was so proud I entered it in as many free photography competitions I could find. But I have taken photos for as long as I can remember, I've always been a sucker for capturing and keeping memories.
little beast: How has the subject of your work progressed over the years?
Coby: Up until the start of 2015 I had no idea what I was doing, subject wise, with my work or where I wanted to go with it. I had dabbled in everything from food photography to photojournalism and nothing seemed to feel right. I one night took a photograph of spaghetti in a condom and from then on I knew what I wanted to talk about in my work. I focused on still lives for the first 6 months of 2015, then went on to self portraiture and never looked back. I finally found something I was comfortable talking about and how I spoke about it, since the whole project is about me, it just made no other sense than to take self portraits.
little beast: What visual artists have made a direct impact on your work?
Coby: Oh, so many! My biggest influence is Toiletpaper Magazine, and Casper Sejersen and his beautiful book 'Belongs to Joe', on the same note, the film nymphonaniac. That movie and book inspired me so much so create a series of work that wasn't so literal and was more mature than what I had previously been working on (Sorry Grandma). Also Nick Zedd, Torbjorn Rodland's 'Vanilla Partner', Jonathan Schofield's 'A Sense of Porn' and Petrina Hicks' video work, but I just spent the last 3 years at university surrounded by incredible lecturers who would name 101 great artists everyday so its hard to pinpoint just a few.
little beast: Does music drive your creativity?
Coby: I am a serial listen-to-the-same-10-songs-for-3-months kind of gal. I find that I draw more influence from words rather than music, scripts, conversations, poetry etc. If I find a song interesting I will research the lyrics.
little beast: What are you listening to now?
Coby: At this very moment- I'm listening to the hum of an old fridge in my shitty retail job lunchroom, accompanied by the ever-so-loud sound of people who can't chew with their mouths closed. However, if i didn't forget my headphones on my lunch break, I would probably be listening to The Wonder Years 'NoCloser To Heaven' album. (On the inside I truly am an angsty teenager) or a band my best friend just showed me Eye Hate God, it's a crazy heavy band.
little beast: Being that your work talks a lot about you - and a lot about sex and taboos, do you ever get stage fright when showing your work?
Coby: I think it's always a bit nerve racking showing people your work, the start of If You Have Wings, Why Not Fly? Was especially nerve racking, as it was the first time I had explored my sexuality through my work. Right now I feel extremely liberated and lucky to have such a (mostly) positive response from those who have seen it, most of the reactions in person warrant a lot of awkward laughs, it's nice to see I make people feel something. That being said I have yet to show the whole body of work to a large audience in a solo show, so I might have to get back to you on the stage fright front.
little beast: Do you have a favorite photograph?
Coby: From 'Wings: I would actually have to say an image that was passed over in my final selection, but I have re-found and loved, its a photo I took of a nipple with a bobby-pin on it. While working through my series this was one of the images that got the most reaction.
From my general photography: In my spare time I am working on a self portraiture series about the search for arcadia and the feelings of loneliness on that journey, my favourite image I've taken comes from that series. Its the first image that opens my website, a self portrait on a jetty in Mt. Buffalo, a mountain area close to where I grew up.
From someone else: My all time favourite image comes from Toiletpaper Magazine, it shows a hand lifting a hole in a piece of material, its so sexual but so unassuming. I tried to find the image to show you but have you ever tried to go on www.toiletpapermagazine.com? that shit is crazy.
Coby is currently is based in Melbourne, Australia. You can find more of her work here.