Holly Birtles graduated in 2008 with a BA Hons in Photographic
Arts, she became fixated by transforming the reality of a photograph via mixed
media and montage. In 2011 she completed an MFA at The Slade School of
Fine Art, this was the beginning of her ongoing project photographing and
defacing portraits of operatic singers – in the event of singing (1f Operas
Series). The title ‘1f’ signifies how Birtles categorises work – 1A began at
Westminster University and was showcased at the degree show in 2008. These projects are often formed into
artist books, this is an evolving collection, consisting of around 60 books to
date. Since graduating Birtles exhibits predominantly in London and most
recently completed a residency at The University of Creative Arts, in
Photography – finalised with an exhibition in their James Hockey and Foyer
Gallery (November 2012).

The project 1f Opera series continues to develop with the
introduction of duets. The process goes
through an elaborate method of layering and flattening: printing, manipulating,
photographing, printing, photographing, printing. When the images are finalized
they have become a flat document, reducing what was once a hybrid of
photography, sculpture and painting into a photograph. Despite the layering of
processes and gestural insertions, the
artist has returned to the contradictory event of ‘flattening’. The notion of
‘truth’ or photographic fact is compromised; each layer or physical response to
the photograph mutates over time, subject to reflection and intuition on the
day of production. Focusing upon operatic singers as models and subject matter,
the awkwardness of the photo-shoot is forgotten once the singer unleashes their
passion, in the event of singing. Birtles aims to freeze the performers within
a moment of subjectivity, whereby the singer passionately exceeds the structure
of the performance.