I first picked up a camera at the age of fourteen – photography was very exciting to me, I had no technical skill but with a very good eye for detail and due to an early encouragement to painting and drawing from my parents I was able to put my creativity into play. My mother & father are both very creative even though their main career choices weren’t so – my mother was a make up artist for Mary Quant at eighteen and my dad had always been very crafty with hobbies – painting figurines for holiday seasons and drawing. Although none of them being photographers or with no early photography influence I guess you could say that is where my initial creative freedom came from.
London opened my eyes to fashion and the world of the ‘industry’, I realised I was no longer the girl from a small hometown who would earn money from portraiture and that I’d let myself into a city of very talented photographers who were all striving for the same jobs and editorial shoots. It taught me to be quick on my feet and to even be remotely noticed you’d have to constantly be knocking doors, emailing and shooting. You can’t stop because you fall behind.
o How do you learn your techniques?
Self-teaching. I’ve found the process of reading books and seminars quite tedious. Almost everything I know is through trial and error and re-trying ideas and processes over and over again. This is why I didn’t enjoy university, everything was notebook style and I’d often forget later on what was going on. I believe in doing something yourself and learning from your mistakes – this is what I try and teach on my photography workshops and I like to put the photographer on the day in a real life shoot environment. If you are experiencing an actual photo shoot from start to finish and you’re put in the deep end immediately you’ll learn very quickly! Even though I have never assisted a photographer I absolutely encourage any photographer to assist – as I mentioned earlier, having that experience and being put in that position immediately is more beneficial and teaches you more than any photographic book or guide could do.
Self-teaching has enabled me to pick up a style that is unique to me – I favor using natural and continuous light over strobes due to my early introduction to photographing on location to save money and I 100% prefer location over studio due to the freedom of the environment. I photograph the way I ‘see’ things and this is only something that you can be familiar with by learning by yourself.
o Who are your photo heroes? Or who has inspired your career?
I admire photographers who are unique in their process and imagery. Paolo Roversi, Steven Meisel, Annie Leibovitz, Ellen Von Unwerth, Sally Mann & Tim Walker are some of my favourites, all for different reasons of course but each individual has their own sense of style and they are inspiring to me.
o What is the worst part about doing what you do?
I thoroughly enjoy every part of being a photographer but there’s days where you can be sitting not knowing when the next check is coming through and when you’re waiting on work which sometimes makes you panic but the better days definitely outweigh the bad!
o What is the best part?
The obvious – being able to have a job that you love doing and meeting/working with amazing people along the way! As well as shooting for well known brands and publications I am lucky enough to have connections in all parts of the world so I am able to travel with my work. I am currently teaching seminars to amateur and professional photographers in cities and exotic locations worldwide.