Rachel Aust is an upcoming fashion and editorial photographer from Brisbane, Australia and is our latest StarNow competition winner. We were really happy when Rachel completed a full, in-depth, interview for Urbanity Chic so that we could learn more about what she does, her interests and experiences. Read on and enjoy!
Q: How did you get into professional photography?
I first started out taking self-portraits, just for fun, and one of my friends gave me a push and said I should have a go at photography, best advice I’ve ever been given. Since I didn’t know any models to practise on, and I was sure enough of myself to be able to direct a person I continued with self portraits for a little while, teaching myself the basics. I then started photographing friends, bands, landscapes, and eventually models. As soon as I put together a team to photograph a model I knew this was how I wanted to make a career, which was about a year ago. I then started to work on shoots, and build on my personal style. I then had girls coming to me asking for model portfolios, and then designers asking for the look books, and it has only grown from there! And I am only nineteen, so I am very excited for the future.
Q: What do you enjoy most photographing?
I most enjoy photographing the editorial shoots that I put together. I love thinking up a concept and then being able to create it into a large story or series of images. My editorial shoots are also very fun, because I get to make new friends with other creatives whom I might not have worked with before.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
2010 was a very strange year for me. At the start of the year I began a Bachelor of Photography at Queensland College of Arts. After a semester of the course, I realised it wasn’t teaching me anything new, and that I preferred to teach myself things anyway. So I deferred my course and just worked casually whilst taking photos. Then out of nowhere I started to pick up paid jobs and was able to quit my casual job.
Q: Who inspires you?
It’s more of a case of ‘what’ inspires me: weather, and how weather can affect people’s moods, colour schemes, crazy fabrics, film noir, renaissance paintings, some film clips, and my own drive to keep doing better.
Q: Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you look up to?
I love the designs of Gareth Pugh, Alannah Hill, Vera Wang and Riccardo Tisci.
Q: What makes a good photographer in your opinion?
A photographer who knows how to take a technically precise photograph, with a creative flare, that also has the ability to pull attention. I tend to like the work of photographers who’s pictures can drag you into another world, when I find myself thinking for a split second, “Oh wow, what a beautiful house she has,” rather than, “I wonder where that house is and who the model is signed with.”
Q: Do you prefer using film cameras or digital?
I prefer using digital cameras. I used film for a while, just to try it out, but it didn’t it just didn’t fit well with me. I prefer the smoothness of digital.
Q: Do you prefer to shoot on location or in the studio?
At first I preferred to shoot outdoors, using only natural light. Then I shifted and went to the complete opposite, and only liked shooting in the studio. However, now I like both. I see where both are necessary, and I like to have my portfolio showing that I know how to deal with sunlight, and also know how to use studio lights well.
Q: Do you have an interesting stories about a particular photo shoot you’d like to share?
Ahahah oh my goodness, I have so many of these. One that stands out is an exclusive shoot I did for Ben Trovato Blog. The night before the shoot the assistant, one of the models, the makeup artist and the hairstylist stayed over my house and we were too excited/nervous to sleep. I woke up at 3:30am the next morning and started cooking breakfast, the others started waking up and arriving at my house around 4:00/4:30am.
While I was stuffing them with a breakfast that could rival the size of the Hogwarts feast it was pouring down rain. We had planned this shoot months in advanced, and there were really too many of us to change the date. So, we decided to soldier on. When we turned up at the location at about 7am it was drizzling rain, all the ground (which was usually sand/dirt) had turned to mud, and we had to climb (or in my case, fall) up mud hills, the stylist nearly having a heart attack trying to keep the garments away from the elements.
We shot even through the rain. We evolved to suit the situation, wrapping the models in glad wrap when they had to walk, wearing ski jackets, no shoes, wearing sombreros to block the rain rather than holding umbrellas. There were plenty of funny little things which happened during the day too, such as native wildlife trying to steal pieces from the hair stylist’s kit.
We had to change the whole concept of the shoot just to suit the weather!
Q: Do you have a favourite photograph?
The next photograph I take.
Q: Who is your favourite photographer?
I have two! Solve Sundsbo and Camilla Akrans. I aim to produce the atmosphere their photographs produce, you can stare at them for a while, and they do not become boring.
Q: Is there anybody you would like to work with (either behind or in front of the camera)?
At this point in time, I would love to be able to work with an international designer, to be able to branch out of Australia.
Q: What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion, to me, is a form of self-expression for a designer. When a designer contracts me, it is my aim to unburden them of their vision.
Q: How would you define your personal style?
According to what I’ve heard from others, my style is chromatically intriguing, and I use clean lines. I like to think that I have a fairly unique way of editing and that my photos are interesting to look at.
Q: Where are you based?
I am based in Brisbane, Australia.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Brisbane is quite a nice city to begin a photography career in. There are a lot of emerging designers at the moment, and they are all fantastic to work with. There are a lot of talented people who are willing to work TF on editorials when first building a portfolio. And usually the weather is great, which makes it easy to shoot outdoors.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
I’ve already had some good moments in my career already, but I don’t have a ‘highlight,’ just as I don’t have a favourite photograph… I am never content with what I have done, which helps me to strive and do better.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
In 2011 I am hoping to get published in a fairly well known print magazine, as well as improving my client list.
Q: What do you do to relax?
If I have free time I like to see my boyfriend and/or my friends, I just like to leave the house after being cooped up for days editing. It’s also nice to get away from a computer screen whenever I can.
Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?
Lots! But my most played songs are “Grizzly Man” by Rocketothesky, “Ave Santani” by Jerry Goldsmith from The Omen soundtrack, “One Summer’s Day” by Joe Hisaishi from Spirited Away soundtrack and “少女時代 Gee” by SNSD. Haha, my music taste is… questionable at best.
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for aspiring photographers what would it be?
Stay true to yourself. It’s nice to get advice, and it’s good to listen to it, but you do not always have to follow it. Everyone experiences their career in a different way, and what worked for someone to get somewhere, might not work for someone else. Also, develop a tough skin, there are going to be silly people who might try and put you down, and you are going to be rejected by a lot of people at the start of your career.
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
I have always had a need to express my creativity, and photography allows me to do so. It has become such a big part of my life, and I am constantly motivated by my drive to do better. I also like to be able to inspire people whilst doing something I love.
Editor’s Note: Rachel Aust’s journey into the fashion world is going to reach overdrive in the coming months and years due to her artistic flair and attention to detail.
If you’d like to learn more about or contact Rachel, just follow the links below:
facebook link: www.facebook.com/rachelaustphotographer
web page link: www.rachelaust.com
blog link: http://rachelaust.blogspot.com