"I am really passionate about wedding photography. There is something special about being part of a wedding. I love being able to step back and photograph the day taking place. I’m relatively new to this sector so it will be one of my main focuses over the next 5 years.
In my spare time I like to take self portraits. It’s like a release for me and sometimes even helps resolve any negative feelings I may have."
Age? I turned 21in June. I celebrated by having a party in my home town Waverley, South Taranaki. Waverley has a population of about 850 people and one main street of shops. Despite the random location friends from all over New Zealand attended. I danced until early morning and had the best night of my life (so far)!
Star sign? Gemini
Favourite colour? Anything and everything pink.
Favourite TV show (if you watch any!) I’m guilty of watching Shortland Street. My previous flat mate got me hooked and now I can’t stop watching!
What drew you to photography? As a child, I loved taking photos using Kodak disposable cameras. It was really exciting picking up my prints from the local chemist. Half of the photos were blurry, the other half were photos of my cat Nemo or portraits of my sister posing awkwardly in the garden.
I was 15 years old when I started experimenting more seriously with photography. The performing arts school I was attending also offered photography classes. I started spending a lot of my lunch breaks in the darkroom; I was drawn to the process of developing prints from film I had taken. Seeing the final prints which represented my ideas gave me a lot of satisfaction. I felt really proud of what I had created.
I left school at age 17 and started studying at The Photo School in Raumati. After only a few classes I knew for sure that taking photographs was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
How do you get your inspiration? While I was studying at The Photo School, we were encouraged to research other artists. I now have multiple workbooks full of photographs that never tire to inspire me. I also follow a lot of photographers via Facebook so my newsfeed is always interesting. Pinterest is great as well.
There are so many talented photographers out there, especially in New Zealand! It’s inspiring being a part of this industry. My photography friends Billie Brook and Summer Shimizu are both so talented and hardworking, qualities I really admire. Kate Macpherson is one of my favourite NZ wedding photographers and Davis Ayer is a talented analogue photographer in the U.S.
Do you consider yourself a feminist? One of the first photographers I researched was Francesca Woodman who was a feminist. There was a female present in all her portraits. I think her work has had some influence on me.
Most of the people I photograph for my project ‘We are Individuals’ are women. I think this is because I find their individual styles more interesting and I feel comfortable photographing them.
Overall I think women have a beauty that is beyond just looks. I admire women who are really career driven yet still manage to cook, clean, raise children and somehow have a social life.
However, I don’t think I consider myself a true feminist at this point in my life.
Why is analogue photography your favourite? Using analogue cameras slows the process of photography down, whereas digital is so instant. I love the suspense that comes with waiting to get film back from the lab. There is always an element of surprise in the results.
Analogue photography also has a quality about it that I believe cannot truly be replicated through the digital platform. The style of analogue that I practice is quite experimental. I like light leaks, distortion, dust spots and double exposures (even the ‘accidental’ type). To achieve these effects naturally (as opposed to using Photo Shop) I use a Lubitel 2 camera. This camera is probably regarded as ‘a children’s toy’ to some photographers. For me it’s like my secret weapon.
I like to combine the use of this medium with fashion. When we look at fashion magazines we mostly see clean cut images and models with flawless skin. Right now I’m trying to do something a little different with fashion photography, so watch this space.
What makes you get up in the morning? My never ending ‘to do’ list. I set daily, weekly and monthly goals. I have a vision of what success looks like to me and there is a big journey in front of it but I am determined to get there.
Is it hard being in a relationship with another photographer/artistic person? I think being in a relationship with another artistic person either works well or it doesn’t work at all. Lucky for Tom and me it works really well.
A lot of the time our photography comes first before spending quality time together. We respect each other’s work and understand how much commitment is involved in the careers we have chosen to pursue. We also make a really good team and influence each other to do the best we possibly can. His style of photography may be quite different from mine yet he is my biggest inspiration. When we do get to spend quality time together we have a lot of laughs.
Who has supported you on your creative journey? My parents have always supported me. They have provided me with many opportunities and the best possible start which has shaped me into the person I am today.
Mel Phillips (Head of School) and Marie-Jean Mills from The Photo School offered round the clock support. I am so grateful for all of the discussions, demonstrations, and their encouragement.
During my final year at The Photo School we were lucky to have 4 professional photographers join our class. Their support was very encouraging and I can’t thank them enough for everything they taught me. The lessons we had that same year with Tony Whincup are unforgettable. They changed my perspective and I now feel like I am a stronger photographer.
We are Individuals: We are Individuals is a documentation of people who dress with a strong sense of identity.
During my degree year I began exploring how we differentiate ourselves as individuals. I took portraits of people who strive to dress differently and oppose contemporary trends. This idea developed into a larger, more diverse group of people, in particular focusing on how we dress as we age.
After being so involved with this concept while studying it didn’t feel right discarding the idea and moving on after graduation. While living in Nelson I continued taking portraits for this project. Once I move back to Wellington in October 2014 there will be more work to come.
We are Individuals will be one of those never ending projects. Any town I go to I spot someone who I would like to photograph. Sometimes it’s the colour of their shoes, the way they wear their hair or even their confidence in the way they are dressed that grabs my attention.
I’d eventually like to publish a book of these portraits. For now you can view them on my blog.
Check out Jaymee on her Facebook page and Website!