How long were you into photography before starting the course?
About 4 or 5 years.
What is the main piece of advice you would tell someone interested in photography?
The best thing in photography is the invention and the joy. Always think about those two things: creation and happiness. That's what makes it worth it.
What advice would you give someone starting this course?
Keep a balance between knowing what you'd like to get out of the course but also having an open mind. I found some of the most useful things I thought about were the variety of presentation methods, the depth an exhibition could have, the playfulness that could be brought to a presentation. It helps to have an open mind and explore others' suggestions, as well as knowing a few things you'd like to start answering for yourself.
That, and, be prepared to write a lot about your photography. It's a very helpful place to really examine how you communicate about your art.
How did you find learning with others of a similar ilk?
It's really helpful having others' look at my work. Often they have a confidence or an engagement with it that I can't, they see things in it that I don't. Their eyes, their edits, their encouragement helps clarify and direct my next steps, and I really enjoyed seeing other people's work come along and develop. I'm not the sort of person who has a specific vision and a precise mind, so the questioning and opinions of others facilitate increased learning about my own work.
What goal did you have for yourself starting this course?
I wanted to learn methods for editing and sequencing photographs.
I think the idea of a method was maybe a bit too hopeful, however we did spend a lot of time looking at the interplay between images, the importance of a variety of images, the intensity of images and, I think, the pacing of images. Paul had a great analogy with writing, if the most shocking or attention grabbing word in your sentence was just repeated there wouldn't be impacted, there wouldn't be a sentence, there wouldn't be context or narrative.
How has your work progressed since the mentorship?
In a few distinct ways:
- I honed in on my interests and habits within photography - namely using an unreliable method (wandering and responding) to craft something highly charged
- I edit now with prints, then in a book form
- The work I was making has evolved from being about man/nature to something I'm more proud of - a creepy all-male nightmare.
How did you find the workload?
Totally achievable. If you enjoy making images it won't be too hard, I guess unless your life is totally chockers.
What did you NOT expect to gain from the mentorship program?
I went in wanting to have more confidence and independence with the way I made and showed images. But I came out with a much wider appreciation for just how many ways one could use images. My notebook from my time with Paul included ideas for guerilla art, photos printed on my own trash as commentary on waste levels, billboards, collaborations with territory departments (I live in the ACT), craft ideas, book ideas, show ideas, people I want to show with, lighting ideas, public art ideas, etc, etc, etc.
It's a great time to be totally pinging and fizzing with creativity.
Interview by Caitlyn Hurley and Nate Warburton