Georgia Smedley is an emerging fine art photographer based in Melbourne. We talk with Georgia about putting heart and soul in to the creative process and how sitting as a model for other photographers has really helped her develop as a photographer.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you first got started in photography.
This question is really tough, and I’d love to say that I’ve been interested in photography my whole life, but it’s just not true. I was never really that talented at anything in particular, but I was always interested in everything and everyone. So, one day, I applied for a photography course, got in, went for a week and then realised I never wanted to do anything else ever again. I know it sounds tacky, but I found myself by looking at the people around me.
How would you define your style and what do you want your images to say to the viewer?
It’s hard to say, but I think I’d define my style as intimate and contemplative and it’s really quite reflective of who I am as a person. There is no part of me that doesn’t go into all of my images and I think that’s why the process of image making is so exhilarating but can also be so emotionally tiresome at the same time. I’d like my images to tempt and to attract and to welcome and to ignite curiosity.
Your folio is quite diverse covering portraits, landscapes and fine-art photography – do you have a preferred style and can you see yourself eventually specialising in one?
I am in a really transitional state right now in terms of my work, and I feel very passionate about everything I’m creating which makes it hard to sit down and focus on one thing. Obviously this is both a gift and a curse but I am trying to hone in on the fine-art realm of photography, and working more conceptually with clients and on my own projects.
I noticed in your Instagram feed that you sit for portraits with other photographers; has this influenced the way in which you approach your own portrait sittings and how you interact with your models?
I really do think I have my own style when I work with models and subjects, having trained for a number of years as a youth facilitator, my business is being intimate with people and creating a safe environment and that’s why I’ve been able to broach certain subjects and be comfortable with vulnerability. I think that sitting for other creatives has given me a great understanding of the vulnerability that people might feel when they’re having their image taken which is so important to know, so I’m glad I do it. I also believe that it’s just so important as a creative to work with other people and to understand their process and to continuously say yes. We can become too locked in our little bubble, staring at screens all day but I can’t stress enough the value of just even sitting and having a whisky with another creative person and learning from each other.
Which single image are you most proud of and why?
There is an image that I always come back to and feel really proud of. It’s not even that technically beautiful, but the emotions that flood me when I see it remind me of why I even began photography in the first place. I take photos to tell stories that deserve to be told. The image below was taken at the Hebron Peace Centre in Hebron, Palestine and is part of a series that highlights the conflict in Israel and its place in western media. It is part of a series of 12 images of empty spaces in both Israel and the West Bank that I’m looking at exhibiting in the coming year.
What is next for you?
I’m looking at working with different visual and photographic artists and really fine-tuning my work in order to move forward and begin to exhibit regularly. I’m so excited for the next few years and to see what comes my way and to really test how hard I can work and to watch what comes from that. In the last year, I’ve really begun to see the benefits of my hard work coming to fruition and I’m just feeling incredibly positive about it, the direction I’m moving in and the support I’ve received from the community so far. I’m going to continue with the documentary series I’ve been working on, including Butch Is Not A Dirty Word, which has already opened up so many doors for me, and just keep on saying yes.
See more of Georgia’s work at:
All images copyright Georgia Smedley.