photography, portrait photography, life

"Working" as a Photographer

It's been about 16 months since leaving my comfortable roots and successful freelance practice back in Canada, and I’ve switched from "Oh I'm just doing a year abroad, I'm going to work at any old job and take photographs whenever I can" to the decision that I would like to stay in Melbourne. As such, I've been working really hard this year towards working full time again as a photographer. I’m trying to stay positive, chalk every disappointment up to a learning experience, and look on the bright side. A few months ago I applied for a photography internship with a media company here in Melbourne. 

After a preliminary interview, I was asked to return the following morning to receive a brief. Myself and 8 other photographers were told that we were competing for 4 freelance contracts with the company, and we were tasked with a week-long project that we were to complete and present the following Friday. With the overarching theme of “luxury,” we were given 4 categories to work within and instructed to capture 5 different photographs for each category. The categories were: fashion & beauty, design, lifestyle, and buildings & landscapes. The final aspect of the project involved choosing our own category and creating another 5 images; I chose to explore texture, because the word “luxury” to me evokes all kinds of lovely things to touch, feel, and taste.

The next week was a whirlwind of brainstorming, lighting experiments, calling in favours, borrowing things, cold calls, location scouting and exhaustion. While the bulk of my experience as a photographer is in portraiture and interiors, I dabbled in product, food and macro photography over the course of the week. I planned and executed 20 separate shoots in 7 days, and I can’t thank my friends enough for coming through and giving their time, support, ideas, faces and bodies, and the occasional lift.

I was astounded to find out later that in addition to the group of 9 that I was in, the company had also requested a similar project from 10 other groups of 10 or more people to fill 4 positions! There was a lot of miscommunication; I was led on for over a month, promised call-backs and emails that never came, and in the end I can’t help but feel like some information about the interview process and the company’s intentions was withheld. I’m not entirely sure how many other photographers I was up against, but not surprisingly I didn’t get the job. The whole process left a bad taste in my mouth, but the end result was sweet - I haven’t felt so driven, so fired up creatively, nor produced such volume and variety of work in such a short amount of time since University! I’m really proud of how much I accomplished in the 7 days, plus I got some killer shots to add to my portfolio. And that’s what I’m going to take away from this experience. 

Here are a few of my favourite photographs produced during the internship from hell.

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