The sixth edition of the Talent Issue by the British Journal of Photography features one of our recent fine art graduates; Mac Lawrence.
What got you started in photography?
My early interests in photography started many years ago as away to mainly document my surroundings. Pretty banal kind of images of my day to day, lots of photos of friends and family that kind of thing. More diaristic I guess.
When you first started at PSC, what kind of photographer did you imagine you would become?
Well before studying I just wanted to be able to use photography as a way to share stories. Through learning about the language of photography my interests and understanding became more focused.
What is the most beneficial thing you have learned?
It’s important to take the time to learn from your failures.
What was your most challenging moment at PSC?
Being able to push through stagnating self-criticism.
What was your most rewarding moment at PSC?
Seeing all the hard work that everyone put in throughout the final year coming together on display at the graduate exhibition.
How has your style developed?
I would say through spending time reflecting and visually analysing the things I feel work and don’t work in the pictures I’m making. Asking myself if the pictures are saying the things I want them to, and thinking about why that is. If I’m making photographs that don’t seem to be working I try to digest them and understand where the issues are. I also learn a lot from the works of others that I find interesting and thinking about why I engage with their work. I don’t feel I have any one specific style and I try to challenge myself with new approaches. I try not to limit myself to just shooting film, or digital or only black and white or whatever it is, I just try to focus on what feels right for the work I’m making.
What was your graduating folio about? How did you arrive at this idea?
It’s bout ideas of masculinity and representation in Australia. It’s quite a personal work, which developed through self-reflection and engaging with the social dialogue.
What are you working on at the moment?
Still focusing on ideas of masculinity I’m currently writing proposals to exhibit a new work, which is in development, hoping to be able to show that somewhere in Melbourne. Also spending a lot of my time finalising a collaborative work with Sarah Walker, which is being exhibited at junior Space gallery in Collingwood towards the end of June. I’ll be heading to Malaysia for a bit shortly after that to help out my friends at Obscura Festival of Photography.
What advice would you give to current students?
Embrace the process. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Taking a photograph is just one step in the process of making a cohesive body of work. In my final year I learnt just as much from making c**p photos as I did making ones that were interesting.
What do you do when you’re not taking photos?
Most of my days are spent in my studio, which is not too far from my house in Brunswick. Each day is different; one day might be spent doing research or writing and others my focus might be spent working on files, making prints, planning shoot logistics etc.… I work for the man during my nights so I try to have a routine to my days to breed good creative habits, being in the studio at specific times helps that. Having structure in my practice is really important.
Where do you find your motivation?
Seeing development in my work, which drives me to reach my personal goals, motivates me.
Who/what inspires you?
Lots of things, I get a lot of inspiration from seeing the hard work others around me are doing. I try to surround myself with people that are have a ‘can to attitude’ and don’t try to complicate their lives by focusing to much on hurdles in front of them.
See more of Mac's work on his website here.