2017 Graduate Feature; Tayla Nuss Soeharto

Today we are catching up with Australian Student Photographer of the year (2016), Tayla Nuss Soeharto; learning about her journey in photography, and what she is up to now after winning the highest award a photography student can get in Australia.

 

 

Tayla Nuss Soeharto, 2016

 

What got you started in photography? 
I still don’t really know what sparked my interest in photography, but I think it all began when my mum gave me her film camera and sifting through all the photographic memories she captured with it when I was growing up. I then bought my own little point and shoot from an op shop around the corner and started taking photos of my sister with it and experimenting with film and double exposures.
When you first started at PSC, what kind of photographer did you imagine you would become?
At the time I was really interested in analogue photography so I guess I was expecting to make progress with film techniques and develop my style through that. However, even though I still enjoy using film, I think the digital world won me over!
How has your style developed?
Looking back through my work, I have always used a lot of colour in my images and been very interested in objects, especially ones found in the everyday household. All the series I made while at PSC were also set up in some kind of way, either in a studio setting or around the house. Compared to my early works, my lighting technique is much more resolved and my images are a lot cleaner. Throughout my studies I began working with fashion students, which has slowly warmed me up to the idea of photographing people and not just objects.

Tayla Nuss Soeharto, 2016

What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I’m working with a few RMIT fashion students and taking photos for their publication, as well as starting a mini out-of-space inspired still life series, which is still a work in progress!
What advice would you give to current students?
Don’t be afraid to show all of your work in progress images even if you hate all of them, they can be the beginning of something brilliant!
What do you do when you’re not taking photos?
I intern at The Photo Studio two days a week, work my casual job and watch weird space videos every now and then.

Tayla Nuss Soeharto, 2016

Where do you find your motivation?
I mostly pull inspiration from the random things around me or things that I watch.
What is your dream job/shoot?
My dream shoot would be to collaborate with American artists Alex Wallbaum and Aleia Murawski on some kind of fun and whacky still life project.
Who/what inspires you?
I sometimes get in a mood where everything inspires me, like a colour, a piece of fruit, or a weird object and i just need to set something up and photograph it!
To see more of Tayla’s work, check out her website

Tayla Nuss Soeharto, 2016

2017 Graduate Feature; Shannon MacKenzie

Feature Friday!! Today we are catching up with Shannon MacKenzie who studied commercial photography at PSC.

 

Shannon MacKenzie, ‘Jodie’, 2016

 

What got you started in photography?
I started in photography because I needed to get out of my career as a criminologist and felt my art was confining me indoors. I wanted to get out into the world and see beauty.
When you first started at PSC, what kind of photographer did you imagine you would become? 
When I first started at PSC I imagined I would become a wedding photographer. A new career with beauty and happiness.
What is the most beneficial thing you have learned?
The main thing I learnt was photography can be fine art, I was inspired by readings and constructive advise from one teacher, even if it was negative.
What was your most challenging moment at PSC?
The most challenging time I had at PSC was staying true to me, it’s easy to get lost or intimidated by others work.
What was your most rewarding moment at PSC?
The most rewarding moment at PSC was gaining my idol as my mentor.
I have moved so far away from an aspiring wedding photographer it’s unbelievable what I can achieve through a camera lens instead of on canvas.

Shannon MacKenzie, ‘Jodie’, 2016

What was your graduating folio about? How did you arrive at this idea?
My graduating folio was about social demographics and how we portray ourselves in public where we receive such criticism but behind closed doors we all live the same, we are one society. I came to this idea after looking into what the census was about.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I am back in criminology work and working on forensic photography. I am also laying down the initial sketches for a mixed media art/photography exhibition by spring.
What advice would you give to current students?
Experiment with all avenues of photography and pick the one that feels right and gets your creative side pushing you to do more. Stay true to that and aim for your work to shine.
What do you do when you’re not taking photos?
When I’m not taking photo’s I study for my master’s and work. But I’m always planning.

Shannon MacKenzie, ‘Jodie’, 2016

Where do you find your motivation?
My motivation is everywhere. It can be a moment that makes you take note or turn back to get this image on your phone while taking down a note of time and place. I have gone from wedding to surrealism but still have that element of beauty.
Who/what inspires you?
I’m inspired by my mentor Brooke Shaden, she understands the way I see things and I understand her direction.
What is your dream job?
My dream job would be to create a large piece of work for a corporate/commercial/cultural buildings foyer.
To follow Shannon’s work on Instagram click here

Shannon MacKenzie, ‘Jodie’, 2016

Tuesday Feature; Andrew Arismunandar

Today we are looking at third-year commercial student Andrew Arismunandar, who had one of his images included in Blow Up Photography Competition and Print Annual, issue 3.
Andrew’s image “Sea of Ash” was entered into the black and white category, and depicts Mount Bromo in East Java; an active volcano that is only accessible by foot or horse. The image was taken when Andrew was 15; he and his mother rode out to the 2329 metre high beast that constantly spews sulphuric smoke across the landscape, covering everything in a thin layer of ash.

“You need a gas mask because there is a lot of sulphur”

Andrew Arismunandar, 2017, ‘Sea of Ash’

 

When asked how this falls into his current work, he replied ‘It was the only black and white photo I have, so I thought “why not!” ‘. Andrew’s previous folio was titled “Decadence” that paired graphics and images to revolve around sacred geometry. i.e. The egg of life, the tree of life, etc. ” It is a critique of Christianity. I have been a Christian for the past 15 years. From all those years, I’ve witnessed the ugly/good side of the church community and I wanted to express it through my work.”

“I guess I’m not the standard commercial photographer, I’m interested in graphics” 

Andrew Arismunandar, 2016, ‘Egg of Life’

 

What got you started in photography?

The earliest I can remember is when I was 8, when I got my first cell phone. I used to play around with the phone’s camera and take photos of my friends and pretty much my daily activities. One of the things I would frequently do is to take photos of real life objects and obscure them, essentially abstracting them. It’s a neat little thing I would do if I don’t have any interesting objects/subjects. I only got serious when I was 13, my dad was working in marketing for his company at the time. He was working as a graphic designer and a photographer at the time. During his off time he would lend me his DSLR camera just to experiment with it. Honestly I’m convinced he did it just to get me off from playing too much video games.

 

When you first started at PSC, what kind of photographer did you imagine you would become?

I’ve always envisioned myself as a freelance photographer that occasionally do commercial work for clients, and sell my personal work on the side. I think it’s a good way to maintain my personal style while being able to make good money as well.

 

What is the most beneficial thing you have learned?

The most beneficial thing I’ve learned from PSC is realising that art is a lot more dynamic than I initially thought. Usually before I watch/play a movie or a game, I would check out the reviews on Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes. In these sites they always have an overall score like say Fight Club has a 79% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’ve always thought that an artwork needs to follow a linear criteria. If a person follows the criteria well they will receive the much coveted 100%. This changed when I went to PSC, because that’s when I learned that there is no right or wrong in art. Art is very complex, and not to mention people have all these different reactions towards a work of art. The only failure in art is to not being able to attain your own goals. Like if you’re creating a work that explores the theme of depression, if your audience feels sad then you succeed. This is a very basic example, there are a lot of factors ranging from lighting, colours, models and etc that draws a specific emotions from viewers. If a person uses these elements wisely, they will surely succeed with their finished product.

 

What was your most challenging moment at PSC?

The most challenging moment at PSC will always be coming up with an idea for a folio. You can do anything you want, but what do you want? Of course what I want to do is very hard to achieve, which requires a lot of knowledge in special effects and complex lighting. I remember my 2nd year folio being a failure, because I couldn’t achieve the special effects that I couldn’t possibly achieve with the skills I have at the time. There needs to be a balance in creating something you’re interested in and want to learn. In the same time it has to be realistic and too difficult to achieve them.

 

What was your most rewarding moment at PSC?

The most rewarding moment at PSC is every time I finish a folio and get good marks out of it. I look back and go: “Wow everything turned out a lot better than I thought, I can’t believe I was freaking about this few months ago”. Happens every semester, and that feeling of satisfaction never gets old.

 

Recently, Andrew has also won a silver award in the AIPP Victorian Commercial category – awesome work!

Andrew Arismunandar, 2017

 

How has your style developed?

Overall my interest lies in the surrealism genre, I’ve been exploring the genre in the past 2 and a half years. It started off from merely abstracting the architecture in Melbourne, to creating surreal landscapes and abstracting organic creatures. Overall I’m still experimenting with different styles and still figuring out my strengths and weaknesses.

What are you working on at the moment?

My current folio is Kronos, it is a heavily inspired from the short stories of H.P. Lovecraft and Hideo Kojima’s “Death Stranding”. It’s going to be a series of images that explores the fear of the unknown. I believe we are all created by a blind and uncaring chaos. The world can just take away your hard work in an instant if it wants to, like a sick joke with no punchline. It’s a genuine fear that I have and something I’ve been trying to actively suppress through religion. With this project I want to explore this idea in depth and hopefully overcome my fears.

Andrew Arismunandar, ‘Kronos’, 2017

What advice would you give to current students?

Don’t get cocky. It’s very easy to get cocky with the combination of DSLR cameras and social media. The photography medium is not crafted from scratch (like paintings), it is crafted through the photographer’s surroundings. With a good DSLR camera, you can shoot randomly and get an accidental masterpiece. The combination of social media doesn’t help either. Most people tend to confuse that their friends “like” the image, not because of the image quality, but because of the person themselves. Friends are always biased and will always be happy with what you do. Some guy’s badly composed photo of his lunch can get triple the “likes”, compared to a photographer that made a genuinely well composed photo (all due to how well acquainted the person is with most people).

What do you do when you’re not taking photos?

I usually just watch films on my spare time. Films and photography are similar, as it is a medium that relies on the environment (except for animation). The great thing about movies is that despite being a different medium I can still learn from it visually. So it’s like killing 2 birds with 1 stone, I’m entertained while in the same time I also get visually inspired by them.

What is your dream job/shoot?

My dream shoot is being able to craft a series of images that will immerse my audience and make them feel euphoric. I want to achieve a similar effect to the third final act of Kubrick’s “2001: Space Odyssey”. I want people to say: “I don’t know what the hell this is, but it’s goddamn beautiful”.

Stay tuned on his Instagram account 

 

 

Feature Friday: Jo Duck

Today’s Feature Friday is on 2005 graduate Jo Duck, who we sat down and had a chat with.

Jo was also featured in C41 Magazine back in February for her work with the  Hula Hoops Guiness World Record Holder 

 

Hey Jo, what got you started in photography?

A good friend of mine was using the darkroom at his highschool and I thought it was complete magic. My highschool didn’t offer photography so I just picked up a camera and started shooting film. I learned a lot from making many mistakes.


Why did you decide to study at PSC?
I went to the Open Day at PSC while I was in highschool and just knew it was the right fit. I had looked at other colleges which offered photography, but I found the specialised course, the people and the feeling at PSC suited me best. I had no regrets and enjoyed my three years studying at PSC.

When did you graduate and what did you focus on?
I graduated in 2005. I majored in commercial photography but I enjoyed approaching commercial photography from a more conceptual direction. I have never been interested in shooting a product to sell a product – I enjoyed the conceptualising and decided to create narratives for all my commercial work. This meant a lot of pre-production and research, but that was the part which made my work more rich and interesting to produce.

Jo Duck, 2017


How did PSC help get you where you are today?
I learned a lot of technical skills which helped me to get started in the industry. I loved learning about studio lighting and still love experimenting in the studio using my initial education.
PSC has a great sense of community and I had a great network of tutors and friends who are still a big part of my personal and professional life.
I also learned to really nurture an idea, to delve deeper and ask why I’m creating the work I’m creating and what I’m trying to say with it.  These were definitely essential building blocks to becoming a photographer.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently balancing commercial work with personal work and collaborations. I love collaborating with Marawa (the guinesss world record holding hooper!), we’ve been shooting together all over the world for about ten years. I’ve also really enjoyed collaborating with incredible UK culinary genius’ Bompas + Parr.
I’m shooting editorial fashion as much as I can, working on an exhibition when there’s time and collaborating with art directors in Europe to produce a really weird and exciting body of work.

Jo Duck, 2017


Who and/or what inspires you?

I love watching films for inspiration and also listening to podcasts, looking at other photographers work and hearing people’s stories.
I get a lot of inspiration from David Lynch’s work, I love the photographer Weegee and also think there a lot of brilliant photographers working in fashion right now.

How would you describe your style
Polished with raw edges.

What has been the most rewarding part of your career so far
I’ve met a lot of fascinating people through my work and travelled to places I probably wouldn’t have visited if I hadn’t pursued photography.
I love collaboration and have worked with people with truly brilliant brains who work with me to push a project and make some unique work. I really love that each new job / idea is a challenge and that no two days are the same.
Oh wow, where have you shot?
London, Paris, New York, LA, Croatia, and Istanbul, as well as weirder, smaller towns in between!

What advice would you give to current PSC students or people thinking of enrolling at PSC
My experience with education is you get out what you put in. If you immerse yourself in all aspects of photography while you’re studying, it will help you to make an educated decision about which direction to take your career in.
Your time at university gives you access to great equipment and great helpful people who have a wealth of experience. Ask questions!
See more of Jo’s work here on her website! 

Jo Duck, 2017