Bachelor of Arts, English, 2014
I wanted to do things that were out of the ordinary.
Charlotte Bell is not likely to ever take the road well travelled. And part of the credit for that, she says, goes to King’s.
“Within the King’s community I learned, for the first time, that being outside the box is okay. There was no rush to be, for the lack of a better word, normal,” she explains. “It’s a place where you can experiment and try new things… And I discovered there was no need to define success in the traditional sense.”
That all appealed to Charlotte and she took it as her modus operandi after graduating.
“I lived on Salt Spring Island on a farm in a yurt,” she says, talking about the summer she spent growing and selling flowers and vegetables off the BC coast. “It’s very King’s in a way. I wanted to do things that were out of the ordinary.”
It certainly was out of the ordinary, but it was also a chance to take the early steps in developing as an artist.
“That was the first time I was without the internet and I started to take more seriously the idea of taking photos and documenting my experiences.”
Then there was the summer in the Yukon. Living in an old bus. No electricity or running water. “It was in the middle of nowhere,” says Charlotte. And it gave her more time to work on her photography and, now, video. Charlotte would bike in to town for her job on the front desk in a hotel, charge her computer while she worked then, at the end of the day, ride back to the bus and work on her videos. One made it into the Dawson City Arts Fest.
“It was shot in one night. I shot it at 3 or 4 in the morning. There’s a woman in it. I just happened on her walking because she couldn’t sleep and I asked if I could film her,” Charlotte says. The woman agreed and Charlotte had her story.
“It follows the trajectory of leaving the town of Dawson and going to the west side which is off the grid. It looks at loneliness and isolation but also how that isolation gives us a connection to place.”
Those are common themes for this emerging artist.
“As you look through my photography work you’ll see this exploration of isolation and visual quiet. There are rarely people in them.”
Charlotte has had her work showcased in art shows and she’s been published in The Globe and Mail. While she makes enough through those jobs of selling vegetables, or working the front desk of a hotel, she also works with established documentary producers, learning the craft. It is an outside-the-box approach to making a career but Charlotte loves to experiment with art and her future.
“I was able to take what I got from King’s and carry it over into my life.”