Graduate Michael Embelton

We are very happy to hear from one of our graduates; Michael Embelton who completed the Advanced Diploma part time and is now working in architectural and product photography.

We sat down with Michael to have a chat with him about his experience here, and what he is doing now.



What got you started in photography?

I spent 4 years traveling and found taking photographs a great way to meet the locals and learn about the culture. I am quite shy so it gave me an excuse to engage others.


Why did you decide to study at PSC?

I had been working all my life for architectural design firms in one capacity or another but was no longer fulfilled. I then started photographing the projects I worked on, and really enjoyed it, so one day I walked out of the office and never went back.

The best decision I ever made.


How did PSC help get you where you are today?

There are a lot of photographers out there that went to PSC and understand if you graduate you will have a good understanding of the basics of photography and have something to offer as an assistant

The best thing about PSC is working with like-minded enthusiastic people.


How do you balance your commercial and personal work?

A majority of my work is architectural, and product photography, so I try to do at least one personal job a month. They range from fashion, to folio shoots, but the ones I really like are the unusual ones, like suspending models from scaffolding, or shibari (you’ll have to look that up).


What are you working on at the moment?

My next shoot is a Vogue style lingerie editorial and an outdoor version of my suspension shoot. I am also building a studio at home. I have finished the  MUA studio, change room, and cyclorama, and am now working on a number of different walls to use a backdrops.

My idea is to be able to offer a choice of backdrops all at the one place. i.e. cyclorama, old and new timber, brick, venetian blinds, etc. as well as outside locations.


Who and/or what inspires you?

Absolutely everything.

I am always writing down ideas. After a while you tend to see the world TTL. My greatest inspiration comes from the passion of others. Whether it be, models, MUA’s, or actors, everyone inspires each other. Photography can be lonely sometimes, so when you get an opportunity to collaborate, take it.


What has been the most rewarding part of your career so far?

Doing what I love and surrounding myself with creative people. Everyone has a story, it is your job to find it and bring it to the surface.


What advice would you give to current PSC students or people thinking of enrolling at PSC?

  • Shoot as often as possible.
  • Always push the boundaries.
  • Don’t just take 200 shots and hope that one turns out, pretend your using film and make each shot count.
  • You learn from your failures, so do not be afraid to fail.
  • Never say ‘I will fix that in photoshop!’
  • Shoot self portraits.
  • Less is always better.
  • Marketing is everything.



See more of Michael’s work





PSC Teacher Julie Wajs – Exhibition & book launch next week!

You’re invited to join us in celebrating the World Of Difference exhibition and book launch at Media House Gallery, The Age Building (655 Collins Street) next Thursday evening (2nd of February) from 6pm – 8:30pm.

In January 2016, PSC teacher Julie Wajs travelled to Cambodia with World Of Difference, a charity established by Bronwyn Stephens who is a member of the Rotary Club of South Melbourne. The charity takes tours to Cambodia to introduce people to some of the many development projects that Rotary has helped facilitate there. Julie saw first hand the results of the work that World of Difference has done with villagers living in rural Cambodia. On her return to Australia she decided to put a book together for World of Difference to sell, to help raise funds to continue the work they are doing in Cambodia. Michael Short is The Age‘s chief editorial writer, as well as a columnist and opinion editor for The Sunday Age. In 2010, he created The Zone, an ideas and advocacy forum in The Age and across Fairfax Media’s online platforms. He is a board member and ambassador of a number of organisations, and is a frequent public speaker and moderator. Michael also did a trip to Cambodia and wrote several articles about the work that Bronwyn has done. His words have helped give context to Julie’s images.

We would love to see you there to support the fantastic people who have been working hard to support this great cause!

by Julie Wajs

We also spoke with Julie last week to hear about her experiences in Cambodia and she told us about the efforts to make a lot of the communities in Cambodia self sufficient by helping provide access to clean water, building a school and training teachers to help with the lack of education in the communities.

Julie travelled with a group of doctors, who were able to provide medical checks to people in need while she was able to take photographs and document the entire trip.

by Julie Wajs

In addition to the book, Julie has also put together an exhibition, with sponsorship from Ilford Paper and the PrintShop@PSC. The book and exhibition prints will be sold on the night, with all proceeds going to straight back to World Of Difference to continue training teachers and providing resources directly to those in need.

At PSC, Julie teaches the commercial major in both the bachelor degree and advanced diploma courses and has also been responsible for putting together our massive mid year and end of year exhibitions which is a huge job in and of itself!


Second year bachelor students prepare for their photobook exhibition

Our second year bachelor students are currently preparing for their photobook exhibition – this Friday the 25th of November at Magic Johnston Cultural Complex in Collingwood from 6pm – 8pm. Come along and see some incredible new photobooks and photographic prints!

“The most rewarding thing about studying at PSC is being able to discuss and share work with such a diverse and talented range of people whether they’re teachers or other students.” – Anastasia Jackson


by Fuad Osmancevic

by Fuad Osmancevic

“Having been encouraged to become independent thinkers, I’ve been able to push myself thanks to my lecturers.” – Fuad Osmancevic


“I think PSC has given me a chance to push my own ideas while also developing my skills and style. It’s really broadened my knowledge photographically, not only in a technical sense but also in regards to what is happening in contemporary photography around the world right now.” – James Bugg


“The most rewarding thing about studying at PSC is being in such an incredible environment that encourages creativity and exploration. The wealth of knowledge from both the staff and fellow students is invaluable.” – Sam Forsyth-Gray

Trinity College Colac visits PSC for a Photography Workshop

Last week PSC sparked inspiration in the hearts of twenty year 12 students from Trinity College Colac – a secondary school that pushes boundaries with its extra-curricular focus. Students who came to PSC were those with media classes, interested in exploring different styles in photography, with the best college in Asia- Pacific.

Image by Taylor Ferne-Morris

Image by Taylor Ferne-Morris

Led by PSC course director, Daniel Boetker Smith, students were first introduced to the concept of ‘Instagram Photography’. He broadened their understanding about new frontiers of the art and medium, giving them a list of leading Instagram photographers to seek inspiration from, for the workshop session of the day.

‘Students chose from leading photographers like Chien Chi Chang, Stacy Kranitz, Victor Cobo, Boogie Photographer, and PSC’s Katrin Koenning to use as their inspiration for the workshop. We discussed the way Instagram can be a vibrant gallery for showing off your work, and that plenty of careers have been made off the back of Instagram. The workshop was really a starting point to test out different styles and approaches. Students were encouraged to take away some important messages about the power of the photographic image.’ (Daniel Boetker Smith)

Image by Taylor Ferne-Morris

Image by Taylor Ferne-Morris

Image by Taylor Ferne Morris

Image by Taylor Ferne Morris

Trinity College Colac teacher, Ryan Geary accompanied our students and was impressed by the outcome of the workshop:

‘The session was perfectly timed in our content and the students gained an enormous insight as well as skills which will benefit them as soon as next week.The session was informative, interesting and interactive which our students loved. After the initial shock of having to use their Instagram accounts they were soon coming up to me and saying how others were liking and commenting on their photography which also gave them confidence.’

Thanks to Maria Duarte, the communications and students officer for full time studies, images of students were reposted on the PSC Instagram account:

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This was yet another successful collaboration between our teaching staff and aspiring photographers from Australia. Secondary students from Trinity College Colac absolutely enjoyed the exposure they received thanks to spending a day at PSC. They received professional feedback for the work they jubilantly created, giving them a slice of the PSC life! We are looking forward to our next workshop in May.

“The workshop was a great opportunity to get back to basics, we just got out into the street and were shooting really raw and improvised ideas. We had fun, and the students really came away with the understanding that there is never a right or wrong answer with photography, you’ve just got to do what feels right.” (Daniel Boetker Smith)

Emma McEvoy stuns Melbourne with ‘Sand Castles’

Last week, our very own PSC graduate (of the Advanced Diploma and Pathways program) showcased breathtaking work in the most unique space in the world. Emma McEvoy created a series around her trip to an abandoned diamond mining town in the heart of Namibia and exhibited her work in a house that was about to be demolished, in Melbourne’s quirky capital of Fitzroy. Filling up the house with sand to recreate the experience she had in Namibia, crowds of visitors were astonished by the creative presentation and the glorious work of Emma’s that was presented on the walls.

The exhibition was only open for four days and this was enough to get the attention of the most influential media names in the world. Here is a quick kaleidoscope of the wonder behind Emma McEvoy’s recent work (click to play):

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Emma was also interviewed by PSC senior fellow and award winning photographer, Michael Coyne (who was the lead photographer at publications such as the National Geographic, Newsweek and Time Magazine). Here’s a short podcast about Emma’s inspiration behind her series and why she chose to design her exhibition space in a house that was up for demolition:


Here’s what setting up the exhibition looked like (click to play):

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Within the first few hours of her exhibition opening, Broadsheet Melbourne (a leading online magazine that covers the latest news about Melbourne culture) wrote a story about her incredible exhibition concept:

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Not surprisingly, Emma was then interviewed by Stephanie Ferrier from ABC News! Here is the entire story:

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The PSC community support has been unconditional. I’ve never once felt like I need to conform to any particular style or genre, i’ve been free to express my creativity however I please & that encouragement has been invaluable in helping me get to where I am now. After the overwhelming response from this exhibition I might look at exhibiting it elsewhere in Australia and no doubt i’ll be off on another overseas trip soon to create a new body of work, possibly in rural China.
– Emma McEvoy

We are really proud of Emma’s awesome work and look forward to sharing more updates about her progress!

Daniel Boetker Smith & Ying Ang Represent PSC / AP Photobook Archive as Keynote Speakers in NZ

New Zealand is having its first photobook festival in history; ‘Photobook New Zealand 2016’. Independent and established photographers as well as publishers from Mexico to Asia will be exhibiting their collections. PSC course director, Daniel Boetker Smith and PSC teacher Ying Ang, will be the prime keynote speakers for the event, presenting their expertise in making and distributing photobooks, as well as marketing them across the world.

Daniel Boetker Smith

Daniel Boetker Smith

As many of you may already know, Daniel also acts as  the Director of Melbourne’s Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive – not-for-profit, open access archive of self-published and independent photobooks that has grown to a total of 1000 books. Daniel will be bringing over a broad collection from all parts of the Asia-Pacific region, most never seen before in NZ. He will talk specifically about the recent emergence and development of the photobook in the Asia-Pacific region focusing on a number of collectives and organisations making a mark internationally.

Gold Coast Photobook by Ying Ang

Gold Coast Photobook by Ying Ang

Ying Ang’s own photobook ‘Gold Coast’ was the winner of the New York Photo Festival book prize and the Encontros Da Imagem book prize in 2014. Also nominated for the Prix Pictet Prize in 2015, the book will be presented at the festival. She is a prolific photographer who has had her books listed in Flak Photo, Lensculture and Magnum Photos. Also acting as the curator for the upcoming Obscura Foto Festival in Penang.

We are delighted about our students having access to such influential mentors in the industry. Daniel and Ying both have prolific careers in the field of photography and are happy to guide those at PSC when it comes to enriching their artistic abilities and careers.

PSC’s Women Photographers at Queen Victoria Women’s Centre

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The Queen Victoria Women’s Centre is a haven of organisations and groups dedicated to empowering and helping women in all walks of life. From arranging emotional support to getting political and professional networks in place for supporting causes, the centre has worked on all fronts to build a stronger community of women in Melbourne. Having graduates and students exhibit their work in such an important centre is therefore a great achievement. Selected by Julie Wajs, each series reflects some aspect of womanhood, spanning over generations.

PSC teacher/curator Julie Wajs with PSC students Margaret Lim and Cassandra Tzortzoglou

PSC teacher/curator Julie Wajs with PSC students Margaret Lim and Cassandra Tzortzoglou

Patricia Saca, the venues coordinator for the centre was pleased to see the public’s reception of work that went up last week. According to her, the strength of the exhibition lies in the variety of styles in photographs that are already drawing widespread appreciation from those who pass through the corridors. Encouraging an open-policy approach to circulating fresh artwork by emerging artists, Patricia never places restrictions on the nature of work, often refusing to take down images even when the most seldom of complaints are expressed. She is proud to promote and support such spectacular talent from PSC.

QVWC venues coordinator, Patricia Saca and Margaret Lim

QVWC venues coordinator, Patricia Saca and Margaret Lim

Margaret Lim:

Margaret Lim with her Family

Margaret Lim with her Family

Margret Lim has one of the largest installations at the exhibition. Using materials and objects from Op-Shops around Melbourne, she created a series that signifies the dynamic nature of women. According to her, women reinvent themselves continuously throughout their lives and build upon their understanding and wisdom of the world and themselves, with time.

 Cassandra Tzortzoglou:

Cassandra Tzortzolgou with her work

Cassandra Tzortzolgou with her work

Cassandra Tzortzolgou on the other hand, takes us on a path that is mysterious and focused on elements of nature. Inspired by Greek mythology and tales revolving around bees and the symbolism of honey for her series Natural Phenomena, Cassandra exhibits the second part of the series with the ‘complex relationship between man and nature’.

 Elma Gradascevic:

 Elma Gradascevic with her work

Elma Gradascevic with her work

Elma Gradascevic constructed a project based on how technology can overpower or diminish the innate nature of women. She believes that ‘our natural world is largely disappearing from our daily lives, but its symbolism in cultural motifs demonstrate how integral it is to our internal and creative selves.’ She uses feathers to represent hope.

Elena D San Roman:

By Elena D San Roman

By Elena D San Roman


by Elena D San Roman


Elena D San Roman based her series ”Point of Entry’ on ‘the experience of remembering’. From her artist’s statement she expresses: ‘I’m exploring the process of recall, accessing a memory and the transformation that comes from reliving an experience of childhood trauma.No matter how much time passes, the fear and anxiety that comes from trauma is always present, it hides in the shadows, haunting you every day. Ugly images flash before your eyes when you least expect it, making you question what is real and what is not.’

Allison Rose:

by Allison Rose

by Allison Rose

Allison 2

By Allison Rose

Allison Rose creates a vibrant series that ‘explores the contradictions of a readymade life from conception to birth – futuristic, convenient, mass-produced and fast.’ Each piece of artwork conveys a message about how the basic human need to create is now so ‘automated’ and often described in a language that mirrors the process of manufacturing.  Objects used in her work represent ‘a part of the cycle of creation’ and have been captured by x-ray machines.

Emma McEvoy:

Copyrighted, Emma McEvoy

Copyrighted, Emma McEvoy

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Copyrighted, Emma McEvoy

From a section of Emma McEvoy’ artist statement, we can definitely note how she deals with metaphor in her photography language: ‘(This is) a series which embraces the hues of authenticity via femininity and nakedness, and the water’s symbolic ebb and flow, through the thought-provoking palette of photography. Each photograph attempts to surface the fear of fragility. Bare skin emerging from a body of water – canvasing a reflection of Mother Nature, and sculpting a refuge for surrender: a place where vulnerability enfolds.’

Sophie Pigram:

Photograph of Sophie Pigram taken by Cassandra Tzortzolgou

Photograph of Sophie Pigram taken by Cassandra Tzortzolgou

Aesthetically driven and inspired by the physical molecular basis of memory itself captured by The Albert Einstein College of Medicine in early 2014, Blank Spaces is an exploration into the abstract realm of memory. Through self portraiture and object the work creates a physical representation of  the physiological workings of the mind, focusing on retained and recollective thought that have been confabulated over time and its effect on the subconscious. [From Sophie Pigram’s website].

Claire Blankendaal:

Images by Claire Blankendaal

Images by Claire Blankendaal

‘The Autonomous is a series of photographs born from a conceptual idea of self and what it means to be a female artist in Australia engaging with feminist issues in 2015. Approaching my camera like I would a diary and allocating time and space to each entry, I use methods of automatism, ritual, endurance and the performative body. In these I have found my position in the discussion—freedom of choice, celebration of differences and above all personal autonomy, these are the scaffold that structure my outlook and actions. By stripping back pre-conceived notions of femininity and being conscious in my influences and environment I have found freedom. In the act of creation and immersing myself in my practice, in these moments I am completely autonomous.’

Sarah Maslan:

Sarah Maslan with her work and Elma Gradascevic

Sarah Maslan with her work and Elma Gradascevic

‘The idea that people from different parts of the world, with completely different cultures, religions and life experiences can share the same dream is fascinating. In fact, some psychologists believe that our shared dream experiences serve to connect us as a human race. We can find meaning in everything. Even the everyday shapes and symbols that repeat in nature, and our world around us, can convey a message. When we dream, the conscious reality of today disappears and all that existed beyond the bounds is brought forward so time seems to be just a notion that slowly fades, leaving the past and the present intertwined. Herein resides our true awareness.’


PSC is proud of these students who come from a range of the course we provide (Bachelor of Photography, Advanced Diploma and Part Time cohorts). It is wonderful to see such talents come together and their work to reflect something so meaningful.

We will be updating this page soon with statements from other artists of PSC who are exhibiting. It would be great for you to come by and see the exhibition during March. If you’d like to exhibit your work at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, feel free to contact them.

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.