Earlier this week I got featured on the global CreativeMornings Instagram (see here). I decided to share my answers to all the interview questions here. I talk a little bit about what being a photographer means to me, and the leap into full-time freelancing. Have a read below!
What is your first and/or most meaningful CreativeMornings experience?
My first CreativeMornings was April this year at CreativeMornings Brisbane, where Matthew Haynes (creator of The Design Conference here in Australia and one of the biggest supporters of young & local creatives I've ever met) spoke on the global topic of risk. He talked about how, before life happens, we all dream of being something great…and then life happens, and “we become sandwiched between what we want, what our friends and family want, and what seems achievable. We’ve forgotten how to believe in ourselves and we’ve lowered our expectations.” This resonated with me so much because I knew, and had known for a while, that that was me at the time. I had so much fire, yet I was burnt out. That fire just wasn’t being put to good use in my full-time design job, no matter how hard I tried to make it work for me.
Little did I know that a few months later, I’d be taking a risk of my own: becoming a full-time freelancer, 6 months before I knew I’d be moving overseas. It wasn’t something that I had intended on doing so soon—I imagined I’d be doing it next year, or the year after, when I was “more experienced” or “more ready”. But, the thing is…we’re usually shoved in the direction of challenges we’re ready for, whether we know we’re ready for them or not.
Prior to this, I had merely been dipping my toes in the water, working full-time as a graphic designer, keeping photography alive on the side. I kept this up for years, eventually transitioning to part-time designer, part-time photographer before getting to where I am now. It was exhausting to give all of myself to both of those things even if one of those things wasn’t making me feel fulfilled.
I have so much respect for full-time freelance creatives—I never thought of myself as somebody who could make that dream of working for themselves work. I admired all these other people, and it never occurred to me that I’d be able to do it for myself.
Describe the work that you do and the impact you're trying to make.
I am a photographer. I have a real interest in working with people, especially creatives, to tell their story—whether that’s telling the story of how they make their work, or a portrait that gives you an idea of who they are, or telling the story of someone’s wedding day. I love being able to step back, be the observer, and capture a day or a person in a photograph. Right now one of my favourite things is my monthly commitment to the CreativeMornings Brisbane team as a photographer and morning person—it combines my love of photography, breakfast, meeting new people and being an active member of the creative community all in the one place.
I also really enjoy being able to share knowledge and mentor others, so over the last year I’ve been running photography workshops, and it’s been incredibly rewarding. Together with teaching yoga, I’m sensing a bit of a pattern here!
In your work and life experiences, what have you learned about people?
That generally, people are open, receptive, genuine and warm to you when you treat them the same in return. Most people just want to be truly seen, truly listened to and truly understood. If we can each offer another person space to do that, we also cultivate their ability to do that for others. There’s a ripple effect that occurs from your ability to be kind to somebody else.
What changes are you noticing in your community or industry that deserves more attention?
Brisbane has always been thought of as the little sister to Sydney & Melbourne—but our creative industry seems to not only be growing larger—it’s thriving. Growing our community into what it is now means that our networks are pretty tight, and extremely supportive of each other. There’s so much exceptional, high quality work being made in Brisbane and in our surrounding sibling cities (Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Toowoomba and Byron Bay). Even though the smaller community means we often compete with each other for the same jobs, I’m happy to say most of my competitors are also my friends.
Tell me about the happiest moment in your career.
The happiest moment in my career is probably right now—I've finally taken a step that for years seemed unfathomable, unrealistic and, quite frankly, a pipe dream. It seemed so out-of-reach for me, and it seemed like something that could only be done by “other”, more talented people, “other” people I admire who were good enough and better than me, “other” people who had the financial resources to do so. Now I'm here, and instead of what I assumed would be constant feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt, I feel enlivened, more confident, and more clear on my path.
I’m not here to tell anybody that becoming a freelancer somehow makes life easier, or will make you instantly happier—it doesn’t, and it won’t. Money is tight and inconsistent and you worry a lot (let’s be real, I worried a lot even before now anyway). But all the heartache is worth going through when you know that you’re fighting for a vision that is yours.
Tell us something about yourself that we can’t find on Google.
My favourite gelato flavour is pistachio.
What do you need help with specifically?
I am moving to Canada’s west coast (Vancouver/Whistler) in January 2017. Leaving behind friends, family and my really tight-knit creative network in Australia is going to be hard, so I’d love to make new friends in The Great White North!