Wednesday Feature: Sonja Broersen

With graduation only two months away, Sonja Broersen is living and working in Melbourne after completing the Bachelor course last year, majoring in art.

Focussing on themes of self and using a minimalist language, Sonja’s current work “Soft Stone” consists largely of self portraiture, with the addition of still life and sculptural elements, using photography to reflect on her experience with feminine identity.
This series was exhibited at her graduate show Always Already, at Besser Space, Melbourne (2016). Previous work includes self-published photobook Distance (2015), exhibited as part of the group show Kapow! (2015) at Ruffian Gallery, Melbourne. Broersen has also recently exhibited works in exhibitions such as the IPF Photo Prize (2016) and the CCP Salon (2016).

Sonja Broersen, ‘Soft Stone’, 2016

 

Soft Stone is a body of work that is the result of continual reflection and a lingering confusion of what it means to photograph the self. It has evolved from a simple intrigue into an illusive and largely intuitive desire to gain a better understanding of my identity as a woman. The driving force of this work is a conflict I find within myself – a contradiction of actions and beliefs that stems from growing up with unattainable and damaging social expectations – the back and forth of embracing and rejecting femininity.

We are now living in a time where embracing femininity is just as empowering as rejecting it. This has prompted me to reflect on myself and reevaluate my identity as an adult woman. I am not looking to reach any sort of conclusion – I am merely attempting to gain a wider understanding of one part of my identity. My experiences are, and continue to be, unique; I am not attempting to reflect a universal experience of womanhood or femininity. This project is the result of my own reflection, investigation, and experience.

Sonja Broersen, ‘Soft Stone’, 2016

 

 

See more of Sonja’s work

 

Tuesday Feature: Emma Watson

Completing the Bachelor course last year, majoring in art; Emma Watson is set to graduate from PSC this May. Emma’s work will also be on display at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre for the month of March. Be sure to go see it along with other students‘ who are involved in the exhibition ‘Elements‘.

Emma Watson, ‘Folding’ 2016

 

Currently working as a freelance photographer, her monochromatic work is quietly spoken and very personal. It focuses on themes of memory, mental illness, family and identity. Drawing from past and present experiences she uses her camera to escape from her mind and to help make sense of her place in society.

Emma’s graduating folio ‘Folding’ revolves around her relationship with her family as she comes to deal with depression and a new family dynamic.

 

 

For my entire childhood I’ve grown up with the most loving, connected, family bond one can ever imagine; where everything has always felt so secure and safe, a sanctuary where all the corrupt things the world generates can’t touch you, or in other words, a safe embassy I’ve always seeked asylum in.

On the 17th of August 11:15 am I was diagnosed with clinical depression. My emotional reserves are completely empty. I find myself wanting to cry everyday and everything overwhelms me. The more depressed and lonely I get, the more I isolate myself from the outside world diminishing my motivation to reach out to people. Delivering this news to my family is still to this day, the coldest and cruelest moment I’ve ever shared with them.

I used to think life-changing news brought people closer together. Yet for some reason I found myself feeling more and more distant and isolated than ever before. It’s so difficult now to decode the reality. When my family surrounds me, I feel this overwhelming sense of distance and disregard on their behalf. I hear the sound of the cracks forming between us and growing bigger every day, but it’s so unclear to understand the cause of this breaking.

Is my family still there for me and I just can’t see it anymore. Or are they trying to reach out to me and I’m choosing to run away.

All of this coincided with my last year of photographic studies and I decided to use my camera to explore this very new to me family dynamic. So, I started interfering with my history; I cropped out family photos, covered aspects of my home and became the perpetrator of fading certain memories.
My camera brought me closer to my family roots. I scrambled through our lines to reconnect with the way things used to be. But I’m ultimately using this body of work as a way to communicate with my family.

 

 

See More of Emma’s work 

Emma Watson, ‘Folding’, 2016

Monday Feature: Rochelle Hansen

Completing the bachelor course last year, Rochelle Hansen is set to graduate this May from PSC.

Based in Melbourne as a documentary photographer, much of Rochelle’s work explores our relationship with nature as she pushes to blur the line between art and documentary photography. Through stillness and a kind of sedative process, Rochelle intends to capture the collision between humankind and the natural world. Using photographs as a token of absence and a way of reconnecting the lost and forgotten relationship once shared with Earth and it’s inhabitants.

 

By combining strength and movement, horses have the ability to effortlessly floor across the arena in a kind of poetic dance- that sees human and horse uniting on the stage, engaged in an intimate communication barely visible to an audience. 
‘Two’ Documents the relationship built between human and horse within the training process. I have worked with trainers who utilise positive training techniques and focus on creating partnerships built on trust and respect.

 

Rochelle’s work is a part of the ‘Elements’ exhibition at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre at 210 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

 

 

 

 

Rochelle Hansen, ‘Two’

Graduate: Annette O’Brien

We’re always proud to hear what our graduates are up to; recently we caught up with 2009 graduate Annette O’Brien, who since then has been working with commercial clients building up her work to shoot her first book. Well done on your hard work Annette!!

 

 

Hey Annette, one question that we always get asked first as photographers; what got you started in photography?

I never selected photography or art subjects at high school and certainly didn’t see myself as a creative person. I actually started studying Health at university and always thought I’d end up in that field. That course wasn’t right for me however, so I headed over to the USA to work at summer camps and travel.

While I was traveling, I was frustrated with being unable to adequately capture what I was seeing. I also happened to meet a photographer – it had never crossed my mind that it was an actual career option! When I came home I started researching photography courses, my Dad taught me the basics with a Pentax 35mm camera, and I’ve never looked back.

Annette O’Brien, Australian Traveller Magazine

 

So why did you decide to study at PSC?

I quickly realised that I didn’t want to do a short course in photography. I valued formal education and wanted a qualification – the full time course felt right for me. I really liked the fact that the class sizes at PSC were relatively small. I hadn’t loved my previous “bigger university” experience so I thought PSC was a good fit– especially when I felt so inexperienced. At the time, the Advanced Diploma was the highest certification offered at PSC, and the pathway to RMIT to gain a Bachelor Degree was appealing to me. I planned to follow this path – I did so, and graduated from RMIT in 2011.

 

When you graduated with the Advanced Diploma, what did you focus on?

I graduated from PSC in 2009 with a Commercial Major. By the time I finished, I had finally figured out the direction I wanted to go, I loved interiors, food, and lifestyle imagery and hoped to shoot for both commercial and editorial clients.

 

In what way did PSC help to get you where you are today?

At PSC I really learned everything from practical and technical skills, to image design, colour theory, developing concepts and research skills. Other important aspects were: learning how to communicate ideas, showing my work to others and receiving feedback, learning how to edit/review my own work and to keep shooting until an idea is resolved. It constantly pushed me out of my comfort zone but was a supportive environment in which to do so.

Assisting was an equally important part of my education too and I spent many years assisting some fantastic photographers before I started shooting.

 

How did you learn to balance your commercial and personal work?

I don’t think I have quite got this balance sorted out yet!

The majority of my time is spent on commercial and editorial work. Occasionally I’ll collaborate with a stylist for a test shoot/personal work although it really doesn’t happen enough. I’ve got a few things I’m working on and hope to spend a little more time this year on personal work as I think it’s hugely important. I notice the improvement in myself  (and my enthusiasm for other work) when I allow myself a little time to take photos just “for me”.

 

You mentioned that you’re working on something at the moment, what is that?

I’ve been shooting for commercial clients for their latest collections, editorial shoots for magazines like Australian House and Garden, and Home Beautiful, as well as shooting my first book.

 

What is your first book about?

Sorry, I can’t share any details just yet! It’s still in production, but I will let you know when it’s released later in the year.

Annette O’Brien, Home Life Magazine. Styled by Paige Anderson

 

What do you find inspires you the most?

All sorts of creative people, especially the stylists and clients I work with and the people I photograph.

I love when people have big ideas and they make them happen.

I like to look at the work of photographers who do very different work to my own, whether in style or subject matter. I’m always inspired by nature and like to get out of the city whenever possible. I watch loads of documentaries, and I listen to podcasts while processing images.

 

How do you describe your style?

I think it’s always evolving… I love the effective use of colour, minimalist style, clean lines but an overall warm and natural feel.

 

Looking at all of the work you have done since leaving PSC, what has been the most rewarding part of your career?

Having my work published in magazines is always exciting. Shooting my first couple of travel stories last year was wonderful too; I covered Bali for International Traveller Magazine and Norfolk Island for Australian Traveller Magazine.

I feel lucky to have watched some of my clients grow their businesses – from initial ideas and dreams to running their businesses full time. Being a part of that journey is really special.

The fact I am working for myself full time is incredibly rewarding and I feel very fortunate.

 

 

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

Make the most of your time being surrounded by other students and tutors, ask for feedback, accept that you will make mistakes, and pay attention in your business subjects!

 

 

See more of Annette’s work

 

Annette O’Brien, Ivy Muse. Styled by Alana Langan

 

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

 

 

 

 

2016 Advanced Diploma Graduate Tim Allen featured on Creative Review

One of our 2016 Advanced Diploma graduates; Tim Allen, has had his work featured on Creative Review!!

 

The series ‘Construct’ explores the effect of industrialisation on the earth. From a height of 1500ft and 3000ft, the images show construction and road-work sites as well as other industrial environments in and around Melbourne. While the images make the sites look quite impressive, they’re also highlighting the destructive effects of human activity. 

Tim is now based in the Netherlands, see more of his work here

 

Aint Bad

One of our fantastic photographer’s; Hoda Afshar has been featured on Aint Bad with her ongoing work “In The Exodus, I Love You More”

 

“In the Exodus, I love you more is an ongoing photographic series that I began in 2014. It is a record of my changing vision of, and relationship to, my homeland, Iran:
a relationship that has been shaped by my having been away, by that distance that increases the nearness of all the things to which memory clings, and which renders the familiar… strange, and veiled.
It is an attempt to embrace that distance and to turn it into a kind of seeing. To let what is both there and not there shine through the surface. To let the surface speak. It is an attempt to explore the interplay of presence and absence in the history of Iran and in Iranians’ lives, and to discover the truth that lies there in their never-ending meeting, in-between.”

 

The collective behind Aint Bad is dedicated to publishing contemporary photography and text to support a progressive community of artists from around the world.

Well done Hoda!

017

Part-time course anticipation

With part-time courses starting on Tuesday the 28th of February, we thought we would catch up with current part-time students about how they’re doing so far…

 

“It’s good, they’ve been really informative” – Aaron Walker

“I’ve been able to blend my job with my practice which has been really good”- David Owen

“This environment is just… it’s just such a good place to be”… “I don’t think I would be where I am if I didn’t have this sort of structured education” – Ian Crick

 

Sign up now here or feel free to contact us on (03) 9682 3191

 

 

 

Aaron Walker

Ian Crick

Welcome to one of our newest tutors; Kristian Haggblom

We’re incredibly happy to have Kristian Haggblom joining us at PSC as one of our fantastic tutors!
Kristian is an artist, curator and academic whose interests include expanded documentary and dialogues between photography and text.

In 2010 he was the inaugural artist-in-residence at the Australia Council for Arts in Finland Studio. Haggblom completed his PhD at Monash University in 2014 and he is the founder of Wallflower Photomedia Gallery.

Welcome to PSC Kristian, we’re all looking forward to getting some amazing advice and chatting about our work.
See more of Kristian’s work here