“Pods… dotted around areas of London- I think that would be an incentive to keep young creatives here.”
Bettina Adela is a freelance photographer and curator. Her work hopes to “capture and explore people’s life stories through a range of documentary portraits and place them on a platform to be seen.”
Working within the music industry, Bettina has photographed artists such as Anne Marie, C Cane, and P Money, as well as founding BLACK The Collective.
A native East Londoner, Bettina tells us about her studio hopes for the future, East End locations and futuristic methods of maintaining London’s creative fabric.
What is your definition of a studio?
“For a photographers studio, I would want a decent amount of space. I have a thing about natural light, but that probably wouldn’t work if I was using equipment… But I think that something that hasn’t been looked into before, I love using natural light to do my photography if there was a space where one part was isolated through a wall that could be a really small portrait studio within this massive space.
In terms of where it would be located, somewhere that is around other creative businesses or mindsets. But not just like in a forest where nobody else was there. I wouldn’t want it to be so much in Hackney Wick, I would want it to be in Leyton for example because I don’t know a photography studio in Leyton or even a studio space that people can use. It’s kind of branched off into Walthamstow. I sometimes feel like, if you go somewhere that has an overcrowded area of creatives, you just kind of disappear. So if there was a space that could be shared in Leyton, that would be really appealing to me.”
What level of finish do you expect from a studio space?
“I would want to go into a space knowing that it was at least partly finished. But with regards to a photography studio, the floor doesn’t matter- it can stay concrete. But it would be quite nice if the walls were painted, to last years. Partly finished, but I could finish it as well. 50/50 — because I would want to put my creative touch on it. If that can cut money out of the process, then I would do that! Obviously right now I don’t have a studio space, but in the future, I hope to have one. But I think the way a lot of others have worked around that is by creating a studio space within their house if they have a spare bedroom. It’s kind of like the millennial way of working around things like that.
If I was going to buy a house, but I didn’t have enough money to buy a studio. I would hopefully attach something, or turn my garage space into a studio and get developers to help me with that. That would be my dream, to have something at home. For me, I like my privacy; where I don’t have to say “Hey” to the security guard at night time. That’s my little dream.”
How do you believe artists should be integrated into the city?
“I do believe there should be more hubs like Hackney Wick. There’s an amazing amount of creatives in London and there’s not enough space for them to do their work. I think hubs could work in the grand scheme of things… I don’t know what you call them, you know houses that you can literally up and move. Like a caravan, just massive. So pods but dotted around areas of London- I think that would be an incentive to keep young creatives here, I think older creatives are probably already settled. But if they’re cheaper to make, I think that could work.”
What do you believe the future of studio spaces could be?
“Probably… things on top of things. So on top of buildings, because it’s not being used, it’s not a fire exit. Essentially once all the ground space is used up, it has to go up- that’s my logic anyway. And keep building it, obviously not too far where we can’t see the sun but futuristically, using the pod system again, it would be great if cranes could pick up the pods and move it somewhere else.
I think artists are always changing. What they need and want is forever changing. I think if you keep in contact with them from all different ages and stages- that would be ideal because it’s literally hearing it from the horse’s mouth.”
If you were going to communicate or collaborate with planners what would you want to tell them about studio spaces?
I would say in regards to a photography studio, height doesn’t really matter too much, for me. I’m not going to get a 10ft model so it would be absolutely fine to have a normal height space. But space, just a lot of space… give us more space! Because we’re creatives and we deserve it. Essentially, artists are the ones keeping London going in a sense. So they kind of need us, so we have to work for each other. In order to create art and keep London so vibrant, you need to let us create and do something about the space. We need breathing space, we can’t work in a shoe box.
With rising costs of studios, young creatives are in need of contemporary and dynamic ideas in order to stay within our city.
Is it possible create a transportable creative studio system for London?