How did you get into photography?
As a child, I spent a lot of time poring over the beautiful photographs in National Geographic magazines. By the time I could read, I was learning how images play a pivotal role in story telling. I first saved up for a small camera when I was 8 and used to make little movies and took photos of things in my life. It was when I got to 14, however, that I really started trying to capture my family as well as express myself creatively through photographs. That year, I also helped to photograph my first wedding.
You take stunning photos of your family. How have they inspired you?
My Mum and my little sister Kizzy are the most important people in my life. They have been there through thick and thin and I have tried to capture the bond we have through photos, as well as how my little sister has grown up in front of my lens. They inspire me with their support as well as their own creativity. My sister Kizzy is an incredible painter.
What was the biggest creative obstacle in your life, and how did you overcome it?
I have chronic kidney disease, which means I have a lot of pain and am often fatigued, which makes it difficult to be able to work on photography to my full potential. This, in combination with studying science at University, often poses creative obstacles every year.
Which artists have influenced your work?
One of the first young artists I came across as a teenager was Nirrimi, and she has always been a major inspiration from that day onwards. I have the pleasure of knowing a lot of photographers and writers and they inspire me every day.
Your photographs of other people are elegantly spontaneous. How do you manage to capture such striking moments during busy events?
Being able to capture people being themselves and in the moment without them noticing is of the most rewarding aspects of photography. Being quite a small and unassuming person allows me to blend into events easily, which allows me to photograph people spontaneously. I'm also very used to picking up the social cues that people give off during events and so I know when to be ready with my camera.
Your portfolio is incredibly diverse. Do you have a favorite photography genre?
I have been lucky enough to explore many different genres of photography, but I have always had a passion for telling a story - whether that is at a wedding or as part of photojournalistic series that I'm working on. I hope to one day work professionally as a photojournalist, because I have a lot of respect for photographers who can capture events and people in a way that causes the viewer to empathize with the subject.
What advice would you give to someone who's struggling with self-portraiture?
I took self-portraits long before I was brave enough to photograph others and I think it is a really important way for artists to express themselves. I think that it is important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to photograph yourself and that it should be something that you're creating for yourself rather than for an audience.
You've photographed a lot of musicians. Which band, well known or not, would you love to have a shoot with?
Alt-J. I think we would have a lot of fun together creating images that are as quirky as their music.
Where do you go to find inspiration?
I read books and magazines such as National Geographic, Time, and New Zealand's Geographic, or talk to people I respect and admire. Often, it is discussions with others that inspire me the most. Within these discussions, I'm exposed to opinions and ideas that I haven't previously considered.
What's your biggest dream when it comes to art?
To be able to tell a story in a way that makes a difference, whether big or small.
About the Interviewer: Taya Iv is an admirer of books, nature, and photography; She spends her life loving (and writing about) all three. She hopes to inspire others to find beauty in everything - including themselves - and to make the most of what they have.