"Photography nourishes your soul. That’s essentially what it has done for me. You can’t place a monetary value on your creative soul. I am so glad to see Melbourne grow as a creative hub and really happy to be on my creative journey at PSC."
You have just finished your second year of your part time course at PSC. What has it been like?
It has been amazing! First year gives a great overview of the foundations of photography. Then second year is where you really start to craft your work. It’s unbelievably mind opening. For me personally, if I’d stopped at the first year I would have felt like I’d wanted more. The second year tutor Neil Stanyer helps elevate our work very quickly. He provides a wealth of information giving a very broad and detailed education to many aspects of photography. It’s all essential knowledge.
Where did get your interest in photography?
In childhood, I loved going through my parent’s photo album. The colour palette of that era and what the photos looked like at that time really intrigued me. Then later there was the opportunity to play around with a camera, so the seed was planted very early on.
By the time I reached my 30s I got my first dSLR camera- a canon 60D and started teaching myself. I knew PSC tutor Scott McNaughton, and one day he told me he taught a very hands on vocational part time course in photography at the college, and I thought WOW! So I enrolled, and I was hooked from the start by this artform.
What area of photography do you see yourself heading towards, and has the course changed that.
I came into the course with an open mind, just wanting to learn how to operate a camera, with no preconceptions- a blank canvas. I am now seeing myself in all sorts of creative possibilities. I love the way the camera leads me to people and allows me to connect with them in a new and particular way. I also love landscapes so during my first year second semester with tutor Jessica Ledwich, my folio was “The Jetties and Piers of Melbourne”. In a way I felt like an explorer with a camera. I came from a very different background, so this course has helped me step back into the person I was meant to be - a creative!
What’s been your favourite assignment?
Neil set us the task of producing a commercial portfolio. I met a lady who had started a home Italian cooking business and I went over on several occasions and photographed her teaching her cooking classes. It was a great introduction to food photography and styling. I enjoy all of my assignments as I am being pushed to hone my creativity. Some have been a little high pressure but a great learning experience none the less. The tutors are here to help you find that self-confidence and self-belief. Their feedback is so constructive, yet positive, and so formative that you end up believing in your own creative ability and believe that you can do it. The college teaches you formally how to be creative.
When you started this journey, you didn’t think you would be changing the world. However, it sounds like you have not only expanded your vision creatively, but that it’s also changed your whole outlook personally…
I literally just wanted to learn how to use my camera, and it just blossomed from there.
It has reconnected me with who I am and who I have always been, which has been a little dormant. What I want to say to prospective students is that work finds you! I have a friend who’s running an annual Women’s Health and Fitness Summit at the Grand Hyatt. She approached me to take photos at the conference. I have now shot a few events. There are so many possibilities to make something of yourself, however you want to.
How did these people find you?
Word of mouth. When you are enthusiast about what your craft, people are willing to give you a try. It’s through having a go and embracing your mistakes that you grow in anything. Bringing your work to the college and asking your tutors how you can improve it is fantastic to learn how to improve for next time. That’s where the assignments are so useful by having the opportunity to present in front of the professionals…
Our class peers give fantastic feedback. We are taught to critique our photos as a group and then the tutor follows up with their own feedback.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Definitely with a camera in hand. I like to think I that my photography niche that allows me to express myself and bring happiness and joy to other people. For me it’s all about the love of photography. I want to look back in 10 years and go “WOW look where I started and look at me now”.
How have you managed to fit in study with a busy lifestyle.
I am organised but not as much as I could be being a mum with young kids. I think when something comes from a place of passion, you find the time. I’m lucky in that I enjoy what I’m doing. The hard work definitely pays off when you see how your photography work evolves.
If you could go back and change one thing about your creative journey what would it be?
I wish I could have discovered my love and passion for the camera to the extent I do now in my youth. But in some ways, all the life experience you have when you’re older means that the work you are producing now in later life you couldn’t produce when you are young.
I wish society placed more value on the benefits of being creative so it’s a societal answer. Perhaps our society needs to make access to the arts more available to all. Photography nourishes your soul. That’s essentially what it has done for me. You can’t place a monetary value on your creative soul. I am so glad to see Melbourne grow as a creative hub and really happy to be on my creative journey at PSC.
If you are excited about photography as much as Fiona then your journey starts here! Get ready to learn the true art and craft of photography in 2019 and explore the many genre's in this exciting part time course starting soon!