Q: Tell us a little bit about your background!
I am a dual UK/Australian citizen, having moved to Sydney in the 1990s while traveling. I studied both in the UK and in Sydney (a communications course in the UK and photography in Sydney). I’ve had a career in advertising as an Art Director, copywriter, and Creative Director. I’m no longer full-time but consult to advertising and design agencies – that flexibility allows me the freedom to pursue my photography.
Q: How did you realize that you enjoy photography and capturing pictures?
When I left the UK to go traveling in the 90’s I really became fascinated with the different landscapes and environments I encountered. I didn’t carry a good camera, but it was then that I realized it was something I enjoyed. Later, while working as a creative in advertising, I worked with lots of different photographers, and that further fuelled my interest, though it was still a few years before I really became more serious about photography
Q: Do you ever have trouble getting inspired? What do you do when moments like this arise?
Absolutely, yes. And I often question my aesthetic and/or my ideas. I think any artist will struggle from time to time and you just have to let it be and try not to be too stressed. In fact, I had a break from August 2020 to around June this year where I didn’t take a single shot. I just didn’t want to. I’m not sure if the pandemic changed things but I just lacked inspiration. Ironically, during the 2021 Sydney lockdown from June until September, I really started to get inspired again, heading out at night to capture my local area. I think a break from the shooting can be healthy for the creative mind.
Q: Which aspect of photography would you say was the hardest thing that you had to learn or get used to?
Patience and self-criticism.
Q: You have been chosen Non-Professional Analog Photographer of the Year for your work “Boat Hire, Lake Jindabyne, NSW, Australia,” a symbol of serenity and peacefulness. Tell us how this photograph came about?
Firstly, thank you so much to the jury for the award. The image is from my series The Grand Scheme that focuses on The Snowy Hydro-Electric Scheme in New South Wales. It was constructed between 1949 and 1972 and is still the largest industrial undertaking in Australia’s history. Much of the Scheme is situated in and around the Kosciuszko National Park, so the series is primarily an exploration of the balance between nature and our intervention upon it – the vast structures amongst epic landscapes, the re-shaped waterways and the newly created ones. But I also explore various aspects of life in the region – recreational activities like skiing in winter, and walking, boating and fishing in the warmer months; the local towns and residents etc.
The photo was taken on the banks of Lake Jindabyne (an artificial lake created when a valley was flooded during the Scheme’s creation). It’s a really popular destination for watersports in the summer months. Just before I visited, heavy rains raised the lake’s water levels and caused the boat hire pontoon to drift off the banks – it was quite a surreal scene. I was really lucky that the weather was calm and still that evening – not a zephyr of wind – allowing the pontoon reflection in the water. The next day was windy and the pontoon had been pulled back to shore – you always need a little luck to capture the right image!
Q: Apart from landscape, do you enjoy other types of photography?
I enjoy all types and really like seeing new fine art techniques – there are so many talented and inspiring people in the world.
Q: Why did you decide on entering this particular photo into the IPA?
Firstly it’s a highly respected award show. Plus Boat Hire is one of my favourite images, I guess, and I wanted to pitch it alongside the best and see what the jury would think. I was hoping they would have the same feeling that I get from looking at it.
Q: What does winning this competition mean to you?
It’s really rewarding (an honour) to have an esteemed jury select my work as the best in this category. It validates the effort I put in and will encourage me to keep working away and continue my practice.
Q: If you could do anything or go anywhere, what would your dream photography project be?
After having our borders shut for 18 months during the pandemic I’d go anywhere right now! But seriously there are so many places – I‘d particularly like to head into the far reaches of China as it would be a huge change of culture and scenery for me.
Q: What good advice would you give to a photographer who is just starting to experiment with shooting photos?
Be true to yourself. Absorb as much as you can by studying great photographers, but ignore the noise of what’s popular on social media, etc and find your own approach.
Q: What is next for you, are you working on anything right now?
I have a project in mind that involves traveling to some remote places in Australia. It’s in the planning stages but now we’re out of lockdowns I can start to strategize. I also plan on publishing a book of The Grand Scheme series.