Shining a light on positive job outcomes for budding photographers
Visual culture surrounds us; it permeates many facets of modern life. Despite this there is a common misconception that employment opportunities for professional photographers are scarce, but UTS Photography students are increasingly defying this notion.
“One of the most commonly asked and often first question we receive from school leavers, as well as their parents, is to do with job outcomes for photographers. There’s a real sense that our industry is very competitive and employment is hard to secure when in fact, we’ve witnessed quite the opposite with our current cohort,” says UTS Photography and Situated Media (PSM) Course Director, Dr Natalya Hughes.
With encouragement and support from faculty teaching staff, many UTS PSM students secure paid employment relevant to their industry early into their studies.
“We’ve got students working with high profile photographers and even a Hollywood film director - Maria Boyadgis is one of our 3rd year students who recently spent time in New Zealand working on Ridley Scott’s new film from the Alien franchise.
“She’s really making a name for herself not only in the film industry but also in the music scene, being regularly booked to photograph well-known musicians, under the pseudonym Four Minutes to Midnight.”
Since taking on the position of course director, Dr Hughes has spent the past 12 months developing further opportunities to engage students with industry, including the introduction of a compulsory ‘supported supervised placement’ program.
“We want to equip our students with the necessary business and marketing skills required to successfully run a practice; and to give them a proper understanding as to how professional photographers operate day-to-day.
“The placement program will undoubtedly allow them to grow professional networks early and will also help them build a rich collection of work for their portfolio,” explains Dr Hughes.
Second year student Thea McLachlan recently completed her 40-hour internship at Fairfax Media, working on Sunday Life and Good Weekend publications: “As a fan of both magazines, I was keen to explore editorial photography. I also knew I would learn a lot in such a high-paced environment, which has certainly been the case.
“I learnt how to source, file and research images for various pages and columns, I liaised with the designers who prepare the layout of the page and I was able to go on major shoots, including a cover shoot with chef Poh Ling Yeow, to learn how it all comes together: from hair and make up, stylists, art directors and photographers, plus all the technical skills required to do lighting and use all the equipment,” said Thea.
Photo editor at Fairfax Media, Tegan Sadlier, supervised Thea throughout the experience:
“Working in such a busy environment, I’ve actually avoided taking on interns in the past because I wasn’t sure I would be able to give them the attention they need. I ended up making an exception for Thea and I'm really glad I did because I think it was really good for me to take the time to explain the business to someone who wanted to hear all about it.
“We ended up finding lots of things for her to do and I was so impressed by her enthusiasm to head off to photo shoots on her own and just turn up and lend a hand. That sort of thing can be a bit intimidating, but she was raring to go. She also picked things up very quickly and her photo research was spot on.”
Other organisations and artists involved with this year’s inaugural internship placement program include: Australian Centre for Photography, Alaska Projects, Richard Glover, Scott Portelli, Max Doyle, Jordan Graham, Cherine Fahd, Jamie North, Heath Franco, Marian Tubbs and Yoke Magazine.