Our recent editorial A Descent by Melbourne photographer Georgia Quinn left us wanting to know a little more. We chat with Georgia about her work, her influences and um… pigeon farts. Enjoy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you first got started in photography.
I grew up in Melbourne, Australia and I honestly never even thought about photography much. From about primary school to Year 11, I wanted to be a zoologist and an actor which even I thought was a strange mix of careers but I think I had in my head that zoology would pay for my acting until I became a movie star haha. My Grandma was always talking about biology and had a lot of books about wildlife so I think I got that from her and both my parents were actors and met on the stage. In year 11 I started a photography subject and I remember working on my visual diary and it was like a switch just turned on in my brain and I decided then and there that I only ever wanted to be a photographer and I haven’t stopped since. I was also very lucky to have an incredibly inspiring photography teacher, Ali McCann, who is also a part of the band Beaches, and I decided if I were a photographer then I could be cool like her (my teenage thinking was very logical at the time).
Who or what are your biggest influences when it comes to photography?
At the moment I have to say Nick Knight and SHOWstudio, the energy and light he produces just makes my brain burst with inspiration and gives me a lot to aspire to. When I first got into photography though, my biggest influence was probably the American documentary photographer Bruce Davidson. I just loved the way he captured the lives of the people he followed; it was as though you could really understand part of what they were going through. His series Brooklyn Gang and Subway in particular really spoke to me. He made me want to be a documentary photographer for a while there.
A photographer’s greatest tool is preparation and some improvisation
What has been the high-point so far in your career?
It’s really difficult to pick a high point – I feel like anytime I walk into a shoot is a high point to be honest. I think the greatest moments though have been working with an incredible team of people – something that I’ve been really lucky with. Going into a shoot and completely trusting everyone there and then creating excellent work with them is one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had; seeing the pictures pop up on my camera after so much hard work from the model, hair stylist, nail artist, makeup artist and assistants really just makes my heart sing and is why I can’t stop taking photos. It can sometimes almost feel like everyone is working telepathically and can just tell what everyone else is feeling. My shoot The Descent is actually a really great example of one of those teams.
The flip-side to the last question; have you had any shoots where everything that could possibly go wrong, did?
Something always goes wrong on a shoot. Sometimes you’re lucky and it’s very minimal but sometimes it can be something as disastrous as a model not showing up. A photographer’s greatest tool is preparation and some improvisation; I’ve never had to completely cancel a shoot and there’s always been some kind of work around. I don’t think I’ve ever had a completely disastrous situation (touch wood) but there have been a few “uh oh” moments. I find as long as you remain relatively calm (on the outside) and figure out a solution with minimal panic, nine out of ten times everything will be fine. The worst thing you can do is have a meltdown in front of everyone and have everyone feeling like they’re wasting their time with you.
Opportunities seem to land on your head like a pigeon fart, unexpected and totally random.
What would be your top three tips for young photographers considering commercial and/or fashion photography as a career?
Work really hard, respect the people you work with and don’t wait too long to get back to people. I always tell myself that, no matter what, I need to represent myself as professional as possible. When you’re starting out you’ll probably need to do a lot of collaborative shoots where everyone is working for free to build your portfolio; the best advice I can give is don’t ever resent these shoots, work on them as though you’re being paid because people really pick up on dedication and professionalism and will respect you more for it and you never know who will be offering you a paid job next.
Where do you see your photography taking you next? Are you working on any projects that you can tell us about?
It’s so difficult to say where photography is going to take me! Opportunities seem to land on your head like a pigeon fart, unexpected and totally random. I have an editorial that I’ve been working on with a really amazing team of people that I’m very excited about but I don’t want to say too much because it’s still in early development. I’m also hoping to branch out into film a lot more. I’m a big fan of film and TV and would love to be more involved with a more fluid form of image making one day.
See more of Georgia’s work at:
Also make sure to check out Georgia’s recent editorial A Descent.
All images copyright Georgia Quinn.