PSC International Women’s Day Roundtable event: What You Need To Know

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Common Ground and Photography Studies College is hosting an all women round table chaired by Common Ground contributor, Christine McFetridge.

With a line up of panelists including Director of the Centre for Contemporary Photography Naomi Cass, gallerist Daine Singer, artist and Director of Strange Neighbour Linsey Gosper, photographers/artists Ponch Hawkes and Peta Clancy, and Common Ground Issue 05 artist Hoda Afshar, join us at the Photography Studies College for an evening of discussion on the underrepresentation of women in photo-media.

Here is a quick run through of our speakers:

Hoda Afshar:


Hoda Afshar (PSC teacher and the National Photographic Portrait prize winner) doesn’t often think about gender , nor allows it to play a major role in her way of thinking as she photographs or teaches.

Shifting between documentary and fine art photography, Hoda is drawn to creating art that combines both of these languages. According to her, there is a strong element of documentary in fine art photography, as the way people pose or behave in front of the camera, reveals how they wish to represent themselves to the pubic. In this light, Hoda strives to explore the notion of truth in the act of photography.

Thinking about how certain people in her life have inspired her in her work, Hoda feels good about partaking in the passion and love for art, along with her students. She loves the process of sharing this part of her life with people in her class, who are as interested in photography as she is, and who produce such eclectic styles of work.

Hoda is interested in art that acts as an agent in shaping the imagination of the public. She has a special regard for photography and artwork that tackles important issues of the time, and that finds a way of expressing new ideas to audiences.

Naomi Cass:

c1bd04b0a8d811e4b48659521800906d_content_thumbnailOne of our renowned guests today is Naomi Cass, who is a well known writer and curator currently working as the director of Centre for Contemporary Photography. She was previously the museum critic for the Herald Sun and has curated exhibitions such as ‘Fears and Scruples’, ‘MaleORDER: Addressing Menswear with Robyn Healy’ and ‘Tilia Europaea’. She also produced two programs of contemporary art and music for the Melbourne International Arts Festival, ‘Electric-Eye’ and ‘The Many Faces of Percy Grainger’.

Daine Singer:

Daine Singer is the owner of the Daine Singer Art Space in the CBD. She worked as as gallery manager at Anna Schwartz, associate curator at Experimenta Utopia Now: International Biennial of Media Art (curatorium, touring Australia 2010-2011), Dream Weavers (CAST Gallery, Hobart 2010), Draw the Line: the Architecture of Lab (National Gallery of Victoria 2009), The Nauru Elegies (DJ Spooky and Annie K Kwon, Experimenta at Blindside and Shed 4, 2010) and Big Screen Shorts (Federation Square 2010). She has also held positions including Gallery Manager at Anna Schwartz Gallery, Associate Curator at Experimenta Media Arts, and Curator at the Museum of Chinese Australian History.

Ponch Hawkes:


Ponch Hwkes is a Melbourne based photographic artist who has had work featured in the Australian National Gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria, the State Library of Victoria and served as a photographer for the Victorian Women’s Trust. With her own commercial studio in North Melbourne, she has a prolific portfolio of her own based on assignments in Cambodia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Holland, England and the USA, amongst other countries. Much of her work focuses on personal relationships, and the lives and achievements of women

Peta Clancy:


Peta Clancy’s selected solo exhibitions have been included at Performance Space, Sydney (in collaboration with Helen Pynor) (2011); Dominik Mersch Gallery (2009 & 2007), Sydney; Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney (2007); Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, UK (2005); Platform Public Contemporary Art Spaces (2001); Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Studio 12 (1997); and Centre for Contemporary Photography (1995). Clancy’s selected group exhibitions include Controversy: The Power of Art, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (2012) and Imagining the Everyday, Pingyao International Photography Festival, China (2010).

Looking Back at Orientation Week

Last week PSC celebrated the start of another exciting year, welcoming new students into the campus during Orientation. Students had the chance to mingle with their teachers, understand the course of their studies for the year and network with one another.




Students were then introduced to their mentors and assigned a fun project on Instagram titled ‘PSCProject’. They were given various themes such as  #pscuglyproject, #pscfuturisticproject, #pscbadsmellproject, #pscsilenceproject and #pscdangerousproject. The PSC Instagram channel showcased students, highlighting their wonderfully diverse vision and style:

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Orientation Day itself was a whirlwind of activities. Students met their mentors for the day and had a wonderful barbecue lunch with the staff, along the banks of the Yarra River. Everyone enjoyed the city views from the river and excited about their studies at PSC.




Staff also welcomed Jonathan Shaw, our visiting academic from Coventry University. Jonathan is here to spend time on campus, with his expertise in innovative learning, teaching and photographic practice in the digital age.

Jonathan finished the week with a wonderful Image Makers Seminar, where he presented topics from his book ‘NewFotoScapes’. He addressed topics related to ‘open access’, learning in the digital world and the value of photography today. Our recordings from Jonathan Shaw’s Image Makers Seminar will be posted soon.




We thank our students and staff for making the Orientation week so jubilant! The PSC family looks forward to an eventful year ahead!

Featuring Steve Banham and His ‘Aussie Post’ Letterbox Series

Steve Banham completed his Advanced Diploma from PSC in December 2015. It was 7 years ago when he began his incredible ‘Aussie Post’ Letterbox photo-series, finding inspiration in the southern tip of rural New South Wales. Sighting a special looking letterbox, he found himself on a journey of discovery where he met new people, capturing a unique trend of ostentatious letterboxes adorning front lawns. With the encouragement of his photojournalism teacher, Bill Bachman, Steve expanded his series and incorporated it into his final folio at PSC. He aims to publish his own photography book about letterboxes in the near future.

Image by Steve Banham

Image by Steve Banham

For an entrepreneur who owns a commercial flooring business, Steve somehow managed to find the time to balance both of his passions. While studying at PSC, he appreciated the variety of learning photography in field and studio sessions under the guidance of inspiring teachers – such as Michael Coyne and Bill Bachman. Steve regarded his time at PSC as an investment he made in himself to learn something he always wanted to do.

Here are some images from Steve Banham’s series:

Image by Steve Bahnam

Image by Steve Bahnam

9 water drop

Image by Steve Banham


Image by Steve Banham

Image by Steve Banham

You can follow Steve’s ongoing series here.


2016 Part Time Courses Begin!

Today we welcomed new part time students in the 20 week Creative Photography and 40 week Pro Photography Certificate course. These passionate individuals have taken the first step towards securing a fulfilling life in photography, with new career prospects opening up for them down the line.

We’ll be charting their progress as they familiarise themselves with concepts such as lighting, exposure camera craft, establishing a professional workflow, composition, framing, shooting with natural light on location, capturing people around Melbourne and finalising folio projects as they learn how to manage digital files for editing. This is going to be a big ride indeed!

Let’s hear from some students on their first day:

Maddy (Instagram: @travel_with_mc)

Maddy (Instagram: @travel_with_mc)

“I’ve always been passionate about photography but I never had the chance to be proactive about it. Working as a tax consultant for the past two years, I realised the need to get back into developing my photography skills. I joined PSC with the hopes of starting a new career as a professional photographer”.
– Maddy (40 week Pro Photography course)


Peter (Instagram: @peter_merrick)

Peter (Instagram: @peter_merrick)

“I first became interested in photography when I was a child. I’ve finally got the opportunity to invest in what I’ve always wanted to do. I came to PSC because it has the best reputation in the field. I currently work in the Healthy and Safety industry and I’m looking forward to being more creative at PSC and learning the theory behind photography. I’m excited about seeing things from a new perspective”.
– Peter (20 week Creative Photography Certificate Course)

Arun Kumar

Arun Kumar

“I’ve been doing photography as a hobby and now I’m ready to take it to the next level. I work as an I.T professional and wanted to join PSC because it’s the only place that’s 100% dedicated to photography – it’s not just a side option”.
– Arun Kumar

We’re excited about meeting other students in the course and seeing their progress. We can already tell that this group will bring much joy to the PSC family in 2016, with their potential to create fascinating work!

Anthony Basheer Gets Published Within Months of Graduating From PSC

Anthony Basheer for Belle Magazine

Anthony Basheer for Belle Magazine

Resembling a glamorous set of a classic Italian film, Anthony Basheer creates a timeless look with surreal lighting that showcases the decadent quality of the objects in the frame. His photographs clearly show us the power of layered storytelling; something that is rare and extremely important in commercial and creative industries today. Published in the most recent issue of Belle Magazine (the no.1 magazine in Australia for interior design), it is the first time that Anthony’s work has been featured in a periodical journal. Graduating from PSC with an Advanced Diploma in photography just in May 2015, this is a mammoth achievement.

Anthony received a significant amount of training from PSC, majoring in commercial photography as a part time student. According to him, this education allowed him to complete his shoot for Belle magazine with utmost ease and confidence.


Belle Magazine publishes Anthony Basher

Belle Magazine publishes Anthony Basheer

As magnificent as his images are, it is worthy to note that Anthony’s passion for photography emerged only recently. Working as a database analyst for twenty years, he found himself confronting the unhappiness he felt with his day-to-day routine. In search for a career change to do something more fulfilling, Anthony signed up for a graduate diploma in horticulture and almost went onto study landscape architecture, when he came across PSC. He had reached a crossroad in his life at this point. Spurred by the curiosity of photography, he took the leap and enrolled himself in something he had no prior experience with.


It was very exciting for me to join the college. I wanted to immerse myself with new knowledge. I started learning about basic art concepts and principles of design, before going on to experiment with light and colour… and the placement of objects. We were taught concepts that brought out our vision, purpose and style. It was remarkable to grow my understanding of this field along with a group of really supportive students.


Within the first few weeks of his first semester, Anthony learnt that photography was a rare mix of technical and artistic elements, something that truly complemented his personality. It was the perfect fit. Hailing from a family of business-minded people, this new direction was a surprise to him and to those who were close to him.

Anthony Basheer Shoots for Establishment Sudios, 2014

Anthony Basheer Shoots for Establishment Sudios, 2014


Anthony’s perspective transformed everyday while he was gaining an education in photography. Contrary to focusing on the ‘end result’, he realised that the process and journey of life was far more important to keep in mind, in order to be happy. His new outlook was a slight adjustment for the people in Anthony’s life, but they began to support his way of thinking when he proved that he could make a successful career out of simply doing what he loved.


I always wanted to do something different in life. I knew that changing my career to become a photographer was going to be a little difficult… Growing up in a family where no one was artistically inclined, I focused on conforming to the expectations of others and ended up working in a field that I had no passion for, just to please people. Now as a photographer, I’m glad to be on a journey that is meaningful and fulfilling.

Rippon Lea shoot. Anthony's assignment for National Trust of Victoria

Rippon Lea shoot. Anthony’s assignment for National Trust of Victoria


Being curious and inquisitive from childhood, Anthony continues to seek new stories with his photography. He is currently working with three different architects, recently completing an assignment for the National Trust of Victoria. Covering buildings of national importance and unearthing the heritage of Melbourne in his wonderful portfolio for the organisation, Anthony’s stunning work that captures the grandeur of Rippon Lea house and Gardens will be placed in brochures and promotional material for years to come. This is a grand honour for an emerging photographer whose work was also printed in The Age not too long ago.


Julie Wajs was a very influential teacher while I was at PSC. She helped me to define and create my portfolio in a way that caught the attention of people from the industry. She taught me the technique of crafting a story that could be woven into my photographs, giving my work substance. This allowed me to communicate my intent in a unique and clear manner to clients.


Working with the award winning architecture firm in Melbourne, MRTN Architects, Anthony was able to build his niche in architectural photography with his shoot for Trentham House. This allowed him to get noticed by the architecture and design circuit, winning him contacts who booked him for various projects such as: Mariner Lounge (for Melbourne City Council) and Beaumaris House (for Diana Scully) – just to name a few. Anthony is now on a path filled with countless assignments, enriching his career as a professional photographer. You can keep updated with his journey to see upcoming projects.

Anthony's Shoot for Trentham House (MRTN Architects) was published in The Age, 2015

Anthony’s Shoot for Trentham House (MRTN Architects) was published in The Age, 2015

I love to shoot interiors, gardens and architecture. The structure involved in the principles of design really intrigues me. In my photography, I aim to bring out the details of the spaces I shoot and layer it with my own style, with lighting techniques I learnt to finesse at PSC.

Anthony Basheer's earlier work.

An example of Anthony Basheer’s Early Photography Work


His advice for those who are breaking into the competitive industry of landscape and architectural photography is:


  • Find people whose work you love and approach them.
  • Immerse yourself in the area of photography that interests you. Be a part of these communities and get to know other people in the field.
  • Build and email your contact list in the last few months of your degree or diploma so you have assignments by the time you graduate.
  • Be persistent and regular with the people you contact; they often have opportunities for you after 3 to 6 months.
  • Know what you want to photograph before setting out your shoot.
  • Be prepared to put in a lot of work towards building your career as a professional photographer.
  • Be prepared to enjoy the life of adventure and freedom as a photographer.
Click to read more about Anthony Basher from Southbank Local News

Click to read more about Anthony Basheer

Raquel Betiz Presents ‘Spot’ at Testing Grounds

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Raquel Betiz, our 3rd year Bachelor of Photography student, who just finished her studies at PSC a few weeks ago is showcasing her portfolio series ‘Spot’ at Testing Grounds on January 15, 2016 (1-23 City road, Southbank). This opportunity came about after Raquel responded to an open-call for artists to exhibit their work in this relatively new art space, known for giving creative professionals a platform to test their ideas. Raquel has decided to experiment with the size of her photographs, testing the themes of space with audiences who are attending this innovative event.

From Raquel's series, 'Spot'.

From Raquel’s series, ‘Spot’.

We had featured Raquel last year when she was chosen as a finalist by the Ballarat International Foto Biennale . Her work was featured in their 2016 calendar for October, which you can order online. Look back into Raquel’s journey here.

The interesting thing to note is that Raquel has booked her exhibition at Testing Grounds before she has even graduated. This highlights the fact that PSC students are given real-world industry exposure and an in-depth career focus to help them secure professional projects on the go.

Raquel emphasises the importance of being prudent with your work as a photography student who’s about to graduate:

‘Keep creating work for your portfolio. Exhibit your photography whenever and wherever you get the chance – even if it’s at a non-commercial space or through an artists’ residency. This will keep your motivation going. If you’re complacent about your work  your drive to create will disappear.’

Taking this advice from Raquel will serve you well, as she’s on her way to building a strong network with esteemed photographers in the field.  Thanks to the mentor program at PSC, she has a great starting point and will keep her schedule extremely busy in the coming weeks.

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You can see more of Raquel’s work on her website. Find out more about studying at PSC and feel free to contact us.

Highlights from the Thirty One exhibition

The Thirty One Exhibition opening night on Thursday 17 December at the OKLA Gallery was the highlight of the year for the graduating Bachelor students. A wonderful evening was had by all, filled with good cheer and celebration.

After much dedication and hard work throughout the year, it is so rewarding to finally see their finished images on display. The diversity of work was a testament to the focus of the students in exploring their own creative paths as they focussed on their chosen specialisations – Photojournalism, Art and Commercial photography.

Emily Tucci

Emily Tucci with her work

Emily Tucci, one of the exhibiting students, agreed saying “It’s been a really good experience being able to collaborate as an entire group on this project. Usually group exhibitions are much smaller so having 30 photographers involved has been really different and a lot of fun to have everyone all together mixing the specialisations.”

We also had the opportunity to chat to Jordan Madge and Piers Fitton about their work and experiences this year.

Jordan Madge

Jordan Madge with his work

“It’s amazing to be finished the Bachelor course and to have been part of this exhibition. For me it wasn’t just about photography in terms of learning, there were a lot of other different steps along the way.  There’s personal growth and friendships and its the way you think as well because its not necessarily just taking photos, its the way you look at everything in life now.” – Jordan Madge

Piers Fitton

Piers Fitton with his work

Piers Fitton – “This year I did something that I really wanted to do, it wasn’t just part of an assignment, it was my own path to explore and build my creative ideas further.  I’m really happy because I have accomplished what I set out do.”


Laura Scholfield

Laura Scholfield with her work

“Studying at PSC has been the best 3 years of my life and the friendships I’ve made are friends for life.  The last three weeks without PSC have actually been so boring and I miss it so much every day … but it is an amazing feeling to be finished and i’m really excited about what the future holds.” – Laura Scholfield

If you missed the exhibition at OKLA Gallery @The Compound Interest then you can still see the work on show here at the PSC End of Year Exhibition and pick up a copy of the exhibition catalogue.  The exhibition is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm from 4 January at PSC, 65 City Road, Southbank.

PSC Staff

PSC staff (Left to Right): Carmen Edwards, Communications & Students; Daniel Boetker-Smith, Bachelor Course Director; Jim Davidson, Chair PSC Governing Council; Katrin Koenning, Photojournalism Major teacher; Julie Moss, Managing Director; Melina Rookes, Communications & Students

Congratulations to all of the students involved and also to the staff and teachers that have supported them on their journey.


Raquel Betiz with her work




‘A Country Big Enough to Disappear In’ – Katrin Koenning Gets Featured

Getting your work featured on the Festival Issue of Yen Magazine is a really big deal. Our teacher Katrin Koenning has made her mark with a profound series that tells you so much about the vastness and diversity of Australia, seen through the eyes of the German born artist.

Yen Magazine Cover Dec 2015

Yen Magazine Cover Dec 2015


Katrin has been creating waves this year with publications such as Times Magazine, and now to see her most recent project ‘A Country Big Enough to Disappear In’ highlighted by the arts community, we are nothing but proud of having such distinguished members like her in our teaching staff.


Image: Katrin Koenning

Image: Katrin Koenning

Our students learn about the integrity of having narrative in their work and know the power of developing their photography with dedication as well as passion. Thanks to Katrin Kenning, we get to see a new perspective of the space we live in. Read on to learn more about the inspiring photographer:

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We’re so excited about the possibilities of seeing more work featured of our staff and students. Industry exposure is important to us, especially as the field of photography gets more action packed!

Student Profile – Daniel Pockett

Photojournalism Major student Daniel Pockett was one of the 3 finalists for the 2015 AIPP Australian Student Photographer of the Year at the recent Australian Professional Photography awards (APPAs).  Taking home both Gold and Silver Distinction awards, and in the process one of the highest overall scores in Australia for a student, Daniel shares his experience with us below:

Initially I wanted to be a cinematographer (being a big film buff) and studied film & TV, but moving overseas meant I never got to finish that course.   Then around 2007 I was given my first decent camera and this prompted my move into stills.  

Out of all the genres I shoot, sport and music are the two I absolutely love working in. Being up so close to it all, and capturing the action as it unfolds as creatively as possible are the reasons I love it. It’s often an adrenaline rush, and chasing that ever-elusive perfect frame is what keeps drawing me back for more.
Australian Gymnastic Championships by Daniel Pockett

Since enrolling at PSC in mid-2011, my photography has gone from strength to strength. The theory and design classes early on, combined with digital and studio along the way, have really fleshed out my work and made me a photographer who can now confidently get the picture on any brief.  I also think the on-going support and regularly being around like-minded people really helps your work develop.

I’ve always had a visual eye with a background in Architectural Drafting – I guess it’s mainly shadows and shapes that I am drawn to.  In my second year of study at PSC (part-time) I started building my freelance business, and now in my final year at PSC I’ve given myself an enormous workload while I transition from my day-job into photography as my primary career. I have managed to pickup several clients including Getty Images, and even though in 2016 I won’t be working on PSC assignments any longer, I can see next year being even busier for me. My plan is to be able to drop the drafting job completely within the next 1-2 years.
St Kilda Sharks by Daniel Pockett
I didn’t get to watch the judging live at this year’s national APPAs – I was away on a shoot that weekend – but I did get to watch most of the replay. When the judges find reason to discuss your work it is always a great listen, they all know their stuff and I often take their feedback and apply it to my future work and will this year too.
When I realised I became runner up in the Australian Student of the Year category, I was completely blown away. Being in consideration for the award had honestly never crossed my mind, I just wanted to enter 3 different type of sports photos and see how I went against the best in the industry. In hindsight, I wish I had selected a different image for my 3rd entry but that’s history now and I am stoked with how I went! And to receive one of only 3 Gold awards handed out in the Sport category is something I’m also very proud of.
Having the experience from this year, I think in 2016 I will enter more of a ‘series’ than individual prints.  That will be in the Emerging Photographer category too – you never know how you will go so you have to give it a shot!
AAMI Park by Daniel Pockett
You can view more of Daniel’s work on his website:

Establishing an International Career in Photography with Vesna Obradovic

Vesna Obradovic Poster

Graduating with an Advanced Diploma from PSC in 2014, Vesna Obradovic now deals with clients from Melbourne to LA as a makeup artist and photographer. Being great at her job right now, Vesna definitely showed promise as a student, winning 3 AIPP Epson Professional Photography awards and being a finalist for the Student Photographer of the Year, Victoria Award, last year! Catch a glimpse of the artist through our interview with her:

1. What made you want to learn photography?

For as long as I can remember I have always had a camera in my hand, and it’s something that went from a hobby to a true passion. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything other than photography so I decided to study it to gain as much knowledge and skill as I could, to improve my craft.

2. How has being a photographer complemented your skill set of also being a makeup artist?

Being qualified in makeup has complimented my photography greatly. I mostly specialise in beauty/cosmetic photography so having that extra knowledge within the beauty industry has really helped. Understanding things from how certain products will react under different lighting conditions, to even knowing exactly how to express your vision and material-requirements to a makeup artist. All these things that might seem minor, actually make a world of difference when on set.

3. What are your earliest memories of doing artwork?

It all started in my early teens, probably around the age of 14. I was constantly having my friends over on the weekends so that I could photograph them. Looking at the photos now, I absolutely cringe, but hey, we all have to start somewhere! I suppose every single frame you take is just a step towards improving the next one.

4. What do you miss most about PSC?

The one major thing that I miss the most is the constant access to feedback. At PSC you are given feedback on a daily basis, and it is that feedback that helps your portfolio develop into its final stages!

 5. How do you juggle your local and international clients?

With everything being digital these days I am still able to work out of Melbourne. I can communicate online with my international clients, which makes it a lot easier to juggle everything!

What’s your advice for students graduating from PSC?

1. Take everything one a step at a time and don’t put too much pressure on  yourself.

2. Before you graduate take every advantage that you can in the studio as you will miss it when it’s gone!

3. Pick your tutors brains!! Ask every last question you have to ask!

4. Make your final folio the best representation of yourself as possible; this portfolio has the potential to get you your first job/client once walking out of PSC.

To see more of Vesna’s scintillating work, visit her amazing Facebook page  and Instagram profile @vesnamua !


You can even buy prints of Vesna's work at the PSC Photosales Page!

You can even buy prints of Vesna’s work at the PSC Photosales Page! Click image to see more.

Read more about learning photography with our Degree and Diploma programs, at our Full Time Studies Page.