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CREDIT: Ines Roberts

How I create art from wastepaper

Ines Roberts FRPS fuses recycled scraps of paper and photography for her latest series

Ines Roberts FRPS has travelled far since her family fled Nazi-occupied Sopot for the Danish border a year before the Second World War. Born in Danzig, now part of Poland, Roberts has lived in California, USA since 1966, and holds American and British citizenship.

Her interest in photography began in Scotland, where she lived after marrying, quickly gaining technical knowledge while cultivating an interest in the art and nature genres. She has received Silver and Bronze medals in the RPS International Print Exhibition, and her work has been published in America, the UK, Mexico, Germany and Canada. 

For her latest series, Paper Creations, she combines photography and art by recycling paper cuttings. Here, she tells us about the process – and describes her photographic influences.

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CREDIT: Ines Roberts

“I was always interested in art. In Austria, after the war, I started to paint flowers, which I’ve loved deeply from early life. After I got married we lived in Scotland, just outside Stirling, where I joined a camera club. I was the only woman among all the nice, helpful men, but they spoke mostly about technical things and cameras. I was only interested in creative work but realised that unless one is also in command of the equipment, making good pictures is not possible.

“I deeply love nature – flowers, animals, people or landscapes. Something attracts me because of its detail, beauty, or something I have never seen. I always react to my surroundings. When a scene or an unusual arrangement inspires my sight and senses I like to copy it on my camera. 

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CREDIT: Ines Roberts

“Most of my Paper Creations were originally strips of paper lying near the paper cutter in my studio. They should have been thrown into the wastepaper basket, but I am a hoarder by nature and thought that one day I could use the strips for something. Then it happened – I folded some, glued others together and occasionally took a photo of them. I stored the pictures in a folder called ‘Bits and Pieces’ and mostly just forgot about them. 

“One day I opened that folder and some of the bits seemed to speak to me and even, in a playful way, make suggestions. I got them onto Photoshop, where I have hundreds of tools to apply fancy effects, [making] a rather down-to-earth image totally different.

“One of our greatest gifts in modern photography is that we can be in charge in such a quick way, without spending hours fiddling around in a darkroom. It is a lot like playing around with toys or sticks, never knowing what the result will look like – full of possibilities, disappointments and surprises."

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CREDIT: Ines Roberts


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