Sharp focus on the horizon
Award winning art photography and design business Indigenous has captured our eye. Atmospheric landscapes, evocative scenes and intimate portraits create a searingly memorable portfolio of work that is so rarely seen it has you wondering ‘Where is that?’
We meet Indigenous founder Bryn Davies who tells us why Liverpool is an ideal location to base an international business, the crucial value of new global markets and why 2014 is an important year for businesses looking to spread their wings.
With an already successful career as a design consultant for Ikea, Bryn launched Indigenous in June 2010, incorporating his design skills with his passion for photography, he said:
“Indigenous allowed me to broaden the scope of what I was already doing. My work with Ikea involves establishing new stores in both established and developing territories, learning about the local market while staying faithful to the concept.
“I was becoming immersed in all these amazing cultures and I wanted to capture them and share my experiences through photography, it is a form of self development, something very important when working independently.”
Bryn, 31 believes that cultural expectations and perceptions play an integral part in the creation of his work, sometimes underlining and at other times challenging these. Bryn’s exhibitions often look at the reality of a place or subject versus the more familiar tourist view, he said:
“We’re often presented with timeless visions of places that seem unchanged by homogenisation or dilapidating cultures but I am interested in realities, I want to show those things.
“If you want to tell an authentic story you have to be open, you have to be flexible. How you present a subject is as important as the subject itself. Whenever I visit a new country or city I abandon my preconceptions. I look for the truth.”
Indigenous commissions have taken Bryn all over the world. Shanghai, China, Sweden, The Netherlands and most recently France are just some of the places mentioned. But Bryn is still inspired by the ‘endlessly fascinating’ observations he sees in global cultures.
“In China groups of elderly people congregate the way young people do in the UK. Seniors are top dog in the Far East and this domination of public space is an interesting physical manifestation of this cultural difference. These little cultural differences tell a great story.”
Despite his global exposure. Bryn is very clear why Liverpool is the ideal location to establish his business.
“It doesn’t matter where I am in the world, Liverpool is a brilliant calling card. The accent doesn’t leave you and people always react to it. It’s a universal icebreaker that creates an instant connection. Many other UK cities just don’t have that so we are very lucky. Liverpool is a small city in global terms, but its reputation by far exceeds its size.”
Bryn is also keen to highlight the strong support his business has received from the city.
“Liverpool is a tight community and we have people everywhere! It’s funny. When I was in Shanghai I met Liverpool’s inward investment representative, Helen Wang who helped me to make useful contacts over there. While locally Pagoda Arts and Dot Art have helped me to keep Indigenous rooted in Liverpool. It is important to realise there are people who are there to help you when you know what you want to achieve.”
Bryn is also keen to share his skills and guidance with up and coming designers, art photographers and enthusiasts, through a series of workshops held at Liverpool’s Bluecoat and through his fine art printing service. Recently awarded ‘Best Fine Art Portfolio’ by the British Institute of Professional Photography, Bryn is currently working towards formal accreditation with the industry body. He said:
“To grow as a business, particularly a creative business it is important to challenge yourself, to take away your safety nets and learn to trust yourself in unfamiliar situations. New global markets offer substantial rewards not only in terms of profit but to move your business forward. The more you limit yourself the more likely you will plateau.”
Bryn believes that Liverpool’s hosting of the International Festival for Business in June and July 2014 will have a significant positive impact on his business and he is keen for others to seize the opportunities that the Festival presents.
“Shanghai Expo and Capital of Culture have done a lot for the cities profile and now with IFB we have a chance to build on that. It’s all about establishing and maintaining new contacts. With 150 business events and a free business brokerage service, putting me in touch with essential new contacts, IFB’s possibilities are very exciting.
“We live in a global market now but there are still many businesses only trading locally. I hope IFB changes that. Trading internationally couldn’t be easier now. From my own perspective a businesses work and its value is perceived differently in different locations. My fine art prints have sold to collectors abroad as well as local. Maybe you could be huge in Amsterdam for instance where there is a different appreciation of art, but you would never know unless you put yourself out there.”
Does Bryn have his own calling card? A favourite image that he loves or is identified with?
“I haven’t taken it yet. I hope I never do. I am interested in a fulfilling body of work. That is what I try to teach my students. Don’t try to take the perfect image. Conditions and emotions are never the same. Just take the best image you can take at that point in time. I don’t want image to be a one-hit wonder! I’m working towards a retrospective.”
For more information about IFB’s free Business Club and brokerage service visit www.ifb2014.com/Quick-Guide-to-IFB-2014-i25.html
Date created: March 23, 2014