Make it Work: Alice Aedy, Frame of Mind

A colourful abstract illustration of a person holding their fingers in a way that frames their eye.

In our new series, we ask creative entrepreneur members how they’re pivoting to respond to the current crisis. First up, documentary photographer, film-maker and U27 member, Alice Aedy, discusses launching her online storytelling platform in the middle of lockdown

By Jess Kelham-Hohler   Illustration by Elena Xausa  Wednesday 13 May, 2020   Short read

After working on the idea for Frame of Mind for over a year, London-based member, Alice Aedy, decided to launch her online storytelling platform in early April. She believed that the crisis made her platform for female and under-represented film-makers, photographers and writers even more essential. Here, she shares how she’s adapted her original plan, what her own photojournalism work has taught her about storytelling during a time of chaos, and her plans for life after COVID-19. 

Life in ‘the before’

‘I am a documentary photographer, film-maker and activist for gender and climate justice. My work has always focused on women’s rights, environmental and humanitarian issues, and the thread that ties my work together is a desire to have a social impact; I see my camera as a tool for change. I have always been passionate about the power of the image, and visual storytelling was my way to communicate my interest in social justice issues.’

The big idea
‘I’ve been working on the idea for Frame of Mind for over a year – this is an online platform and community spotlighting the storytellers who shape our understanding of the defining social issues of our time. Through the platform, I wanted to celebrate the most respected documentary film-makers, photographers, journalists and writers, with a focus on female and under-represented storytellers. I think young people are keener than ever to understand the world. Journalism is so important (and less trusted) in a world of fake news and misinformation, meaning it’s never been more important to consider the source of stories we consume – just look at all the coronavirus conspiracies that are around. Part of my mission with Frame of Mind is to celebrate good, trustworthy, fact-checked, visual journalism.

‘DocClub, a curated documentary selection shared every week, is a key strand of Frame of Mind. I have been obsessed with documentaries for as long as I can remember. They allow for nuance and complexity, which photojournalism doesn’t. In DocClub, I wanted to share my favourite films every single week, with the goal being to highlight incredible documentaries and the film-makers behind them.’ 

Taking the leap
‘When I was first working on Frame of Mind, I wanted to start this primarily as a podcast, to interview the storytellers, journalists and film-makers who most inspire me out of my own curiosity. Then lockdown happened. Rather than put me off wanting to launch Frame of Mind, it challenged me to be more ambitious with the project.

‘I launched the platform on Instagram on 6 April and it’s been so rewarding. I’ve been able to get DocClub going, as well as share the stories and work of incredible photographers and film-makers that I admire. 

‘Carefully curating an archive of all the photographers, film-makers and documentaries that have inspired me over the years gives me a sense of purpose waking up every day, despite the surreal circumstances. I have found so much joy in building this platform during lockdown.’

'Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have suddenly been made aware of our collective vulnerability, that we are a human family facing global issues. Storytelling within that context is more important than ever'

The response 
‘Through my work for gender and climate justice, I had been confronted with the power of storytelling; stories bring order to the chaos of life. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have suddenly been made aware of our collective vulnerability, that we are a human family facing global issues. Storytelling within that context is more important than ever. We’re building a community that clearly seems to feel the same way.

‘That community aspect has proven to be key. A love for documentaries and photojournalism have often felt like relatively solitary, niche interests. It’s a great feeling to build a community with similar interests, especially during this time. Through my own Instagram, I had already built a virtual community of artists, photographers and film-makers who inspire me every day. To be able to share that space is really exciting.’

Life in ‘the after’
‘Once the pandemic passes, I will start a series of audio podcasts as originally planned, which I will also film to make an IGTV series. I also look forward to bringing together the amazing documentary community that exists in London with screenings, talks and live podcast recordings.’

Interested in sharing how you're adapting your business during this time? Get in touch: membersformembers@sohohouse.com