'Ran through a storm to find a rainbow that was with me all the time'
Summerton's work revolves around the themes of fashion, love, desire and intimacy. Her Polaroid works are part of a project Summerton started in 1999 as a series of Self Portraits, firstly as visual love letters to her then partner and also in an attempt to re-find her voice with photography. ‘My mother was a dressmaker, and in school, she would make me dresses to wear to dances based on drawings I made,’ she says. Back then, costumes were an access point to unleash Summerton’s imagination. In her ‘Polaroid experiments’, as she calls them, costumes again became a vehicle for her to express her inner life. ‘You may have read stories or seen exhibitions of women taking pictures of themselves and you think of the great artists who explored the self-portrait: Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, even Sarah Lucas; woman who portrayed self-empowerment, reinvention, women under the male gaze, sex and substitutes for the human body. But what about love? This is where Australian born, art/fashion photographer Emma Summerton comes in. Her passion for self-documentation through Polaroids was not only a way of using her creative expression as an artist to communicate with her beloved during their long-distance relationship, but it also gave her a sense of individuality as a fashion photographer.’ – Njide Ugboma