Childhood

It wasn’t until 2004 while in a yoga class that I discovered that my name means ‘ray of light’. Having ended up a photographer and also a yoga teacher it felt quite apt (in a strange way). When I think back to where it all started, there were no photographers in my family, in fact the only camera we had was an old 1960’s model Yasica with a pop-out concertina lens. I can remember though what a pleasure it was to peer through its dusty view finder, fire off its mechanical shutter, then crank the film lever.

At age 12 I received a camera from my Mum as a birthday gift, a Polaroid SX70 Land camera. It wasn’t long before photography became my new passion and I would eagerly do odd jobs around the neighbourhood in order to keep my new camera topped up with film. Eventually I was able to combine my new love for photography with my love of animals, creating a business where I took portraits of pets for friends and neighbours.

University Days

I look back at the time when I was a photography student at the UNSW College of Fine Arts (COFA) with fondness and gratitude. Having come from a school where the syllabus was limited to drawing, painting and sculpture, COFA was like stumbling across an oasis. It was the place where I really started to find my path and provided a nurturing environment where I was free to experiment with a lot of my early concepts and ideas.

COFA was also the place where I really learnt to see light. It was not as you’d expect from my photography classes but the classes I undertook in drawing. The process of drawing forces you to examine the object in front of you and break it down into it's pure abstract form. You study the effect that light has when it hits a certain plain and how it reacts with different colours and textures. To create a drawing takes time, and so it forces you to see. 

Channel 7

After college, I answered a job advertisement in The Sydney Morning Herald which saw the start of my professional career as an A grade Stills Photographer for the 7 Network. One of the benefits of this particular job was that it came with it’s own camera kit, consisting of a Hasselblad medium format camera (6 x 6), with a set of prime Carl Zeiss lens along with a car to get to the required film sets and locations. For a kid straight out of college this felt like Christmas. 

As a Stills Photographer you basically follow a film or TV script until a particular scene of interest comes along. There is then this mad scramble as you try to grab the actors in order to re-create the scene before the gaffers re-set the lighting for the following one (needless to say that the report you created with the rest of the crew was of high importance). On the technical side, shooting with transparency film meant your exposures had to be within third of a stop, adding to the pressure. It was all off-set though at the end of the day, as being filmed at Palm Beach, a refreshing swim was guaranteed before the long drive home. 

Photographer Turned Model

While the term Model Turned Photographer (MTP) can describe a popular career progression for some, I think I must have been the one exception where the situation worked in reverse. It was n’t until 5 years into photography that I found myself being asked by clients to step in front of the camera for various campaign shoots from VISA card, UBS Bank to Singapore Airlines. This eventually lead to me signing with Vivien’s Model Management in Sydney.‘Change hats’ in the middle of the day soon became a common occurrence and I would often draw upon a pool of clothing in the back of my car, wearing a suit one moment and a photographer’s bomber jacket the next. The unexpected benefit was that through experiencing life on the other side of the lens I gained a greater understanding of what it really feels like to be photographed. This experience has been invaluable in terms of understanding people and knowing the best ways in which to direct them as a photographer. 

New York - Hotel 17

From hardship comes growth. My decision to move to New York and start a new life came on the tail end of a relationship break up. While the idea of moving to a city like New York seemed a little daunting at the time, there was something incredibly appealing about the challenge of starting out fresh, particular in such an inspiring and visually rich environment. 

While having a coffee in Soho one morning, I found myself talking to a barista who mentioned a hotel on East 17 street that was quickly becoming a hub for local artists, drag queens, actors and photographers. The following week I checked in and quickly became a part of the local community. There were art events each month, where the spare rooms were converted to become pop-up galleries for performance based and visual artists. While walking the corridors of this 7 story hotel, one would randomly come across nude performance art to obscure photography and sound installations. 

Hotel 17 offered the typical flat, black tarred New York roof top, which I would use as an outdoor studio - gradually building a base of photography clients ranging from local fashion designers to model agencies. 

 

Childhood

It wasn’t until 2004 while in a yoga class that I discovered that my name means ‘ray of light’. Having ended up a photographer and also a yoga teacher it felt quite apt (in a strange way). When I think back to where it all started, there were no photographers in my family, in fact the only camera we had was an old 1960’s model Yasica with a pop-out concertina lens. I can remember though what a pleasure it was to peer through its dusty view finder, fire off its mechanical shutter, then crank the film lever.

At age 12 I received a camera from my Mum as a birthday gift, a Polaroid SX70 Land camera. It wasn’t long before photography became my new passion and I would eagerly do odd jobs around the neighbourhood in order to keep my new camera topped up with film. Eventually I was able to combine my new love for photography with my love of animals, creating a business where I took portraits of pets for friends and neighbours.

University Days

I look back at the time when I was a photography student at the UNSW College of Fine Arts (COFA) with fondness and gratitude. Having come from a school where the syllabus was limited to drawing, painting and sculpture, COFA was like stumbling across an oasis. It was the place where I really started to find my path and provided a nurturing environment where I was free to experiment with a lot of my early concepts and ideas.

COFA was also the place where I really learnt to see light. It was not as you’d expect from my photography classes but the classes I undertook in drawing. The process of drawing forces you to examine the object in front of you and break it down into it's pure abstract form. You study the effect that light has when it hits a certain plain and how it reacts with different colours and textures. To create a drawing takes time, and so it forces you to see. 

Channel 7

After college, I answered a job advertisement in The Sydney Morning Herald which saw the start of my professional career as an A grade Stills Photographer for the 7 Network. One of the benefits of this particular job was that it came with it’s own camera kit, consisting of a Hasselblad medium format camera (6 x 6), with a set of prime Carl Zeiss lens along with a car to get to the required film sets and locations. For a kid straight out of college this felt like Christmas. 

As a Stills Photographer you basically follow a film or TV script until a particular scene of interest comes along. There is then this mad scramble as you try to grab the actors in order to re-create the scene before the gaffers re-set the lighting for the following one (needless to say that the report you created with the rest of the crew was of high importance). On the technical side, shooting with transparency film meant your exposures had to be within third of a stop, adding to the pressure. It was all off-set though at the end of the day, as being filmed at Palm Beach, a refreshing swim was guaranteed before the long drive home. 

Photographer Turned Model

While the term Model Turned Photographer (MTP) can describe a popular career progression for some, I think I must have been the one exception where the situation worked in reverse. It was n’t until 5 years into photography that I found myself being asked by clients to step in front of the camera for various campaign shoots from VISA card, UBS Bank to Singapore Airlines. This eventually lead to me signing with Vivien’s Model Management in Sydney.‘Change hats’ in the middle of the day soon became a common occurrence and I would often draw upon a pool of clothing in the back of my car, wearing a suit one moment and a photographer’s bomber jacket the next. The unexpected benefit was that through experiencing life on the other side of the lens I gained a greater understanding of what it really feels like to be photographed. This experience has been invaluable in terms of understanding people and knowing the best ways in which to direct them as a photographer. 

New York - Hotel 17

From hardship comes growth. My decision to move to New York and start a new life came on the tail end of a relationship break up. While the idea of moving to a city like New York seemed a little daunting at the time, there was something incredibly appealing about the challenge of starting out fresh, particular in such an inspiring and visually rich environment. 

While having a coffee in Soho one morning, I found myself talking to a barista who mentioned a hotel on East 17 street that was quickly becoming a hub for local artists, drag queens, actors and photographers. The following week I checked in and quickly became a part of the local community. There were art events each month, where the spare rooms were converted to become pop-up galleries for performance based and visual artists. While walking the corridors of this 7 story hotel, one would randomly come across nude performance art to obscure photography and sound installations. 

Hotel 17 offered the typical flat, black tarred New York roof top, which I would use as an outdoor studio - gradually building a base of photography clients ranging from local fashion designers to model agencies.